As a higher education institution, we choose to trust and follow the science that asserts the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to do so. As a congregate setting, we must take all the necessary steps to protect ourselves and those around us, including colleagues and peers with medical vulnerabilities who cannot be vaccinated.

Please read on for more information about our protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated members of our campus community.

FAQ

Updated on Sept. 15, 2021.

Vaccination and Health Protocols

No, but if you are eligible for the vaccine, we strongly urge you to receive it. The University will require all students, faculty and staff to report their COVID-19 vaccination status. This policy applies to any students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty or staff members who will be on campus for any period of time after Friday, Aug. 6. Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to our COVID documentation submission form. Proof of vaccination must be in the form of the CDC vaccination card issued or a record of vaccination from the healthcare provider who administered the vaccine.

Those electing to submit a formal exemption from the vaccine for health reasons or religious or personal beliefs, and those who are not fully vaccinated, must complete a vaccine waiver request form . Once you are fully vaccinated, you can submit your vaccination documentation as outlined above and you will be removed from the University’s assurance testing program.  

Vaccines are readily available at most drug stores or through regional departments of health. A list of vaccination providers near you can be found via vaccines.gov.

Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to our COVID documentation submission form. Proof of vaccination must be in the form of the CDC vaccination card issued or a record of vaccination from the healthcare provider who administered the vaccine.

If you have completed our COVID documentation submission form, but did not upload a copy of your vaccination card, please log in and upload a photo of your vaccination card or medical paperwork acknowledging that you have received the vaccine. Because each record is matched to your WIN number, your submission will only be counted once.

The CDC recommends taking a photo of both sides of the card in case you lose it. But if you forgot to do so, here’s what the CDC says you can do:

  • Contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record.
  • If you can’t reach the vaccination provider, contact your state health department’s immunization information system. You can find state IIS info here.
  • If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText, you can access your vaccination information through those tools.
  • If you have made every effort to receive a copy of your vaccination card and still need a second shot, talk to a vaccination provider.
     

Those electing to submit a formal exemption from the vaccine for health reasons or religious or personal beliefs must complete a vaccination waiver request form. If you elect not to receive the vaccine, you will be required to undergo regular assurance testing and quarantine or isolate if exposed or infected, as outlined in the next question.

Yes. Under the guidance of the CDC and the Department of Health, Wilkes University will require masks in all indoor campus locations this fall. Masks are required regardless of your vaccination status. 

  • Unvaccinated individuals will be required to present the results of a COVID-19 test taken no earlier than 72 hours (three days) before their return to campus for the fall 2021 semester. That means that your test must be taken, and your results must be shared with the University, within three days of returning to campus. Unvaccinated students may also be asked to submit negative test results when returning to the residence halls after extended breaks, like Thanksgiving.
  • Unvaccinated members of the campus community will also be required to participate in routine, weekly assurance testing.
    • Please note that unvaccinated student-athletes need much more frequent assurance testing, per NCAA guidance.
  • Individuals who submit a vaccination exemption waiver will be required to quarantine or isolate when infected or exposed.

Fully vaccinated means two weeks have passed since your final dose of the vaccine: two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If you are partially vaccinated, you will be required to participate in assurance testing until you are fully vaccinated.

Once you are fully vaccinated, proof of vaccination should then be uploaded to our COVID documentation submission form. If you do not intend to be vaccinated, a vaccination waiver request form must be completed. 

The CDC recommends that you receive the vaccine regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you could be infected again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Please see the next question for additional information.

If you have had COVID within 90 days of your return to campus and remain unvaccinated, you are expected to follow the protocols for unvaccinated members of the campus community. Please take these steps and note the following:

  • Complete the waiver form. You will be exempt from assurance testing until after 90 days have passed from your positive test result. That is because it is likely that you will continue to test positive for about 90 days after having COVID. 
  • In lieu of providing a copy of a negative result from a test taken within 72 hours of your return to campus, you should upload a copy of your positive test result here.
  • After 90 days from your positive test have passed, you will be added to our assurance testing program. You will be contacted by the University periodically via email to report for a rapid test.
  • You will continue to be tested and will need to quarantine if exposed to the virus until two weeks after your final dose of the vaccine, should you opt to be vaccinated.
  • One you have received all doses of the vaccine, you should upload a copy of your vaccination card. You will then be removed from our assurance testing program. 

Vaccines are readily available and at no cost. A list of vaccination providers near you can be found via vaccines.gov.

Due to privacy requirements, members of the campus community will not know who is and is not vaccinated. The University will maintain a private database of those who are not vaccinated and contact them directly for assurance testing or in the event they must quarantine or isolate. A small group of University employees will have access to this list and manage it accordingly.

Masks are required in all indoor campus locations this fall.

  • This includes classrooms, labs, study and lounge spaces, offices, indoor athletic facilities and the library. Indoor dining areas, including Starbucks and the POD, will also require face masks when individuals are not eating or drinking. Face masks will not be required in individual rooms in residence halls, but will be required in all common areas.
  • For employees, masks will be required in all shared vehicles, office spaces, meeting rooms and common areas. Face masks can be removed when employees are alone in University vehicles or in their individual offices that are enclosed with partitions or walls.
  • Though masks are not required outside, unvaccinated members of our community should continue to use their best judgement in outdoor spaces that attract crowds and where social distance is not possible.
  • At this time, we will operate at full capacity in academic spaces since masks will be worn.

Assurance testing is available on campus and required on a regular basis for those who have not been vaccinated. Those individuals will be notified via email when they need to report for testing.

Our walk-in assurance testing center is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday in room 203 of the Marts Center. Those who have received the vaccine are also welcome to get tested if they so choose.

Testing will continue to be available to those who are sick or exhibiting symptoms. Please contact Health and Wellness Services for more information at ext. 4730.

Per the CDC, vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19 but must take a test three to five days after exposure to a positive individual. If you start to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, you should immediately isolate and seek testing. Individuals who are not vaccinated will need to quarantine if exposed to the virus and isolate if they test positive.
If you choose not to be vaccinated and must quarantine due to exposure, you may use your vacation time or opt to not be paid for the time you are out and unable to work. If you are isolating due to a positive test result, you may use your sick time.
It remains unclear how long the vaccine prevents COVID-19, but early reports indicate it is effective for at least six months. Booster shots are currently being assessed by the medical and science communities. Wilkes will continue to follow these developments and share news with the campus community as it becomes available.
Per guidance released by the NCAA, unvaccinated student-athletes have to undergo more frequent assurance testing. Due to the nature of our athletic programs, particularly those that require close contact with other student-athletes, we strongly urge you to get vaccinated.
Hand sanitizer and mask stations will continue to be available in several buildings throughout campus during the fall semester.
The University will not be utilizing the daily COVID-19 phone app for the start of the fall semester. Should conditions change, the app may be reactivated.
  • Students should contact Health and Wellness Services at 570-408-4730 if they are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, if they have been exposed to the virus or if they have been instructed to quarantine by an agency outside of Wilkes. Students should remain off campus until further instruction is provided.
  • If testing is determined to be necessary, students can be tested at the Health and Wellness Services office.
  • Students who choose to be tested off-campus through a clinic or their family physician must immediately report to the Health and Wellness Services office that they are being tested.
  • Faculty or staff who are informed that a student is being tested should also notify the Health and Wellness Services office.
  • On evenings and weekends, students, faculty and staff can report this information to Public Safety by calling ext. 4377 (570-408-4377). Public Safety will notify the appropriate personnel. 
  • Employees should immediately call the Human Resource office at campus ext. 4644 and their dean or direct supervisor if they are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, if they have been exposed to the virus or if they have been instructed to quarantine by an agency outside of Wilkes. Employees should remain off campus and contact their primary care physician to determine if testing is necessary.
  • Supervisors or colleagues who are informed that an employee is being tested or has the virus should also immediately notify the Human Resource office at campus ext. 4644 (570-408-4644).

If results are positive for COVID-19, you will be required to isolate until at least 10 days from the first appearance of symptoms and at least 24 hours have passed without a fever and fever-reducing medication. This is regardless of your vaccination status.

If results are negative but you are unvaccinated and have been directly exposed to the virus, you will need to quarantine for up to 10 days.

  • Your quarantine period can be lessened if you are asymptomatic and receive a negative result from a test taken on the eighth day of your quarantine. 
  • If you do not take a test, please continue to quarantine for the full 10 days. You can return to classes and work after the tenth day of your quarantine as long as you continue to be asymptomatic. You should carefully monitor your symptoms for at least 14 days.

If your test results are pending and you are unvaccinated, please quarantine until your results are available.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff who have been identified as having close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should quarantine for up to 10 days.

  • Your quarantine period can be lessened if you are asymptomatic and receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken on the eighth day of your quarantine. 
  • If you do not take a COVID-19 test, please continue to quarantine for the full 10 days. You can return to classes and work after the tenth day of your quarantine as long as you continue to be asymptomatic.
  • You should carefully monitor your symptoms for at least 14 days.

Vaccinated students, faculty and staff who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 do not need to quarantine; however, they must take a COVID test three to five days after they have been exposed. If the test is positive, they will need to isolate for 10 days.

Exceptions: 

  • Individuals who have tested positive within 90 days of exposure to another positive individual DO NOT need to quarantine. However, if the individual becomes symptomatic they should be tested and quarantine until symptoms subside.

  • Individuals who have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days (all doses) and are exposed to a positive individual DO NOT need to quarantine but should seek a test three to five days post-exposure and continue to monitor their symptoms. If they test positive, they will need to isolate for 10 days.

 

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. 

Students, faculty and staff who are infected with the virus must isolate for 10 days after diagnosis, regardless of their vaccination status. They are not permitted to go to work, classes or other social gatherings until they have met the criteria below. Generally, isolation ends after:

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Symptoms have improved

Before returning to classes, students will be cleared by Health and Wellness Services. Before returning to work, faculty and staff will be cleared by Human Resources.

Masks that fit snugly over your face must be properly worn over your mouth and nose in all indoor places on campus. Learn more here.
Following CDC recommendations, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo routine COVID-19 assurance testing due to the fact that recent studies show vaccinated people face very little risk of serious disease. Assurance testing is required on a regular basis for those who have not been vaccinated because they have a higher risk of being infected.
 

Campus and Student Events

The approval of events and activities will follow pre-COVID-19 procedures. Students are asked to please seek guidance from Melissa Howells (melissa.howells@wilkes.edu) in Student Development. Employees should contact Mildred Urban (mildred.urban@wilkes.edu) in Special Events.

As long as conditions continue to be favorable for large-scale events and gatherings, they can be held. Indoor locations require that attendees wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC states, “Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. However, people sharing utensils and congregating around food service areas can pose a risk. Limit food or beverage service in areas in which people are more likely to congregate as that may encourage unmasked interactions.”

When possible, outdoor eating is encouraged at events and gatherings. Eating is prohibited during classroom sessions; drinking is permitted if a person returns to wearing their mask as soon as possible. Individuals should avoid congregating and engaging in conversation with people in areas where eating and drinking take place (e.g. no food at meetings). 

When holding an event that will provide food and beverages, consider a dedicated time and space to eat and drink from required portions of the event such as presentations or workshops to avoid conversations with unmasked people. Regardless of whether food is grab-and-go or served in a buffet, individuals must wear masks while getting their food. DO NOT allow food and drinks to be used as a reason to remove masks and socialize.

All indoor campus locations require that individuals wear face masks regardless of vaccination status. Meetings and events can continue as long as all participants are masked.

It is inappropriate to ask someone if they are vaccinated. Currently, the University is following recommended guidelines relative to vaccination status and attendance at events. No one, based on vaccination status, should be excluded from attending.

ARAMARK, the University’s contracted food service provider, follows all safety procedures developed by the company and based on industry required and recommended practices. ARAMARK has been, and will continue to be, mindful of the latest protocols related to minimizing any risk associated with COVID-19

Athletic competition will continue this fall and spectators are invited to attend. Please note that fans must follow all University guidance related to indoor masking. Read more about our spectator policies.

All club sports will be available in the fall semester.

Yes, a full slate of intramural activities will be made available at the start of the school year.

Travel and Study Abroad

Study abroad decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis factoring in the COVID-19 conditions in the country being considered. Please consult with Dr. Andreea Maierean (andreea.mairean@wilkes.edu) regarding study abroad opportunities and questions.

There are no restrictions specific to COVID-19 for University vehicle occupancy. Students will be expected to follow whatever protocols are in place when using third-party transportation providers (i.e. bus service). Face masks should be worn by all parties.

There are currently no domestic travel restrictions for University-sponsored programs. International travel should be approved through the office overseeing the travel and decisions will be made based on COVID-19 conditions and CDC guidance for the country in question.

The sharing of hotel rooms while attending conferences should follow established procedures by the Office of Student Life. There are no specific COVID-19 related restrictions.

Residence Life

Vaccination status will not be a consideration when roommates are matched. The science behind vaccinations indicates that those vaccinated will have protection from COVID-19 when coming into contact with anyone carrying the virus.
The University will do its best to accommodate health-related circumstances. Requests should be made as soon as possible to the Office of Residence Life.
There are no plans to establish housing arrangements based on vaccination status.

Yes, all guests and visitors of the University must wear face masks in all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status. Wilkes students visiting residence halls and rooms that are not their own should also wears masks.

All residence hall guest policies pre-COVID-19 are in place. Other than the masking recommendation, there are no COVID-19 specific guest policies.
Resident assistants, along with other campus community members, are required to provide proof of vaccination or complete the exemption waiver. They are not required to disclose their vaccination status.
If you have been fully vaccinated, you will not be required to quarantine but you should be tested two to five days after they test positive. You should continue to monitor your health and contact Health and Wellness Services if you develop symptoms. They will advise you on the appropriate next steps.
If you are not vaccinated, you will be asked to quarantine for the recommended time period established by Health and Wellness Services.
Common areas and residence hall kitchens will be available to students in those facilities.
International students will be expected to upload proof of vaccination or complete the exemption waiver prior to Aug. 6. Any unvaccinated international students will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their arrival on campus and be subject to regular assurance testing.

Classes and Experiential Learning

Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. Classes conclude Monday, Dec. 13 and final exams conclude Monday, Dec. 20. You can review the full academic calendar (.pdf) online. Students will be notified if changes would need to occur due to local or regional health agency guidelines.
We will operate at 100% capacity in classrooms and labs.

Please read the fall 2021 attendance policy in the bulletin.

We strongly recommend all members of the University community to be attentive to their health and safeguard others by following the CDC's guideline to "stay home when you are sick” and to seek appropriate medical evaluation.

Attendance at all scheduled classes is expected and required. Repeated absences are a sufficient cause for failure. Read more.

Accommodations will be made but faculty will determine the mode of accommodation. All efforts will be made to maintain academic continuity but depending on your program and external requirements, including internships and clinical hours, Wilkes cannot guarantee that progress toward degree requirements will be uninterrupted.
It is not likely that all classes in a particular academic program will follow this model. If you are interested in enrolling fully online, it would be best to consult with your academic advisor.
Efforts will be made for students to maintain academic progress but students need to comply with the COVID-19 requirements of off-campus sites. We cannot guarantee that unvaccinated students will be able to maintain academic progress in programs requiring clinicals and rotations and also requiring participants to be vaccinated.
Study abroad decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis factoring in the COVID-19 conditions in the country being considered. Please consult with Dr. Andreea Maierean (andreea.mairean@wilkes.edu) regarding study abroad opportunities and questions.
There are no changes. Wilkes will follow the standard 4.0 grading policy.
Internships will follow the normal approval process through the Office of Internships. There may be separate COVID-19 procedures and restrictions at individual internship sites based on the employer protocols. Please consult with Sharon Castano (sharon.castano@wilkes.edu) regarding the development and approval process for internships.