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Reopening for lab courses, clinical instruction moves to May 11 or later

Reflecting the latest news from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania College of Technology has adjusted – until Monday, May 11, at the earliest – its planned reopening for students requiring in-person instruction.

The following message was shared Tuesday afternoon with the Penn College community:

Gov. Tom Wolf has extended his statewide stay-at-home order for the COVID-19 pandemic until May 8; accordingly, our planned reopening for in-person laboratory and clinical instruction will not occur before May 11.

Certain courses at the college have requirements under our accreditation standards that cannot be completed via remote/online delivery, requirements that could not have been completed before the college moved to a remote model in March.

To accommodate only those courses, lab and clinical instruction will start on or after Monday, May 11. Our faculty continue to work through revisions to this plan with school leaders and accrediting bodies, and they will communicate program-specific updates directly with those impacted students. Please understand that, because of this latest extension, there may be a slight pause needed for some courses – between the completion of online instruction and the start of in-person labs and clinicals.

Further, please note that the vast majority of Penn College courses will be completed using remote/online instruction and will continue using that model for the remainder of the semester, concluding on May 8. Penn College faculty and administration have worked to minimize the number of students who will need to return to campus at this time. Of the 1,426 courses offered in Spring 2020, 82% will be completed online.

Absent further guidance from Residence Life, only those students who must return to campus for instruction to complete their coursework may access their on-campus housing on Sunday, May 10. As noted, the majority of our residential students will be able to complete their coursework remotely. These residents will be provided specific dates and times before and after May 10 as optional opportunities to collect their belongings and move out of the residence halls, in order to minimize the volume of traffic – and to allow for enhanced cleaning protocols.

Before students, faculty and staff return to campus, the college will implement a variety of safety precautions, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines and directives.

These measures include placing 6-foot-spaced social-distancing markings on the floors of any reception area that has no door, signage for limiting the number of people in an office at any given time, limited dining facilities with disposable utensils only, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols for the entire campus. In keeping with a continuing order by the governor, facial masks will be required for all employees and students. More detailed information for all of the safety precautions will be communicated to the college community before campus reopens.

For the latest updates on what Penn College is doing to serve our students and community – as well as a variety of helpful information and resources – visit the college’s COVID-19 page. A web page with a full menu of COVID-19 student resources is also available.

Davie Jane Gilmour

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