Read answers to our community’s most frequently asked questions.

Please know that as guidance from national, state and local agencies changes, so may some of our procedures.

Updated on Feb. 10, 2021

Return and Assurance Testing

In Nov. 2020, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health introduced testing guidance for students and employees returning to college campuses throughout the Commonwealth this spring. As a result, all full- and part-time students, graduate or undergraduate, as well as faculty and staff, attending any classes, activities or co-curricular experiences on campus in the spring semester were required to submit COVID-19 test results or proof of their full vaccination before returning to campus. Fully online graduate students or students in our online accelerated BBA did not need to submit test results.

For return testing stats, see the table on the bottom right of the COVID-19 Dashboard. For more information on the return testing program, visit the Colonels Combat COVID guidebook.

Wilkes University has developed an assurance testing program for the spring 2021 semester. The goal of assurance testing is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, meaning those who do not feel ill, within our campus community as early as possible, thereby limiting the spread of the virus on campus.

Each week, a selection of approximately 200 students, faculty and staff will be tested. This includes resident, commuter and off-campus students, those who are enrolled in face-to-face classes and any student who is registered for in-person experiential education. It will also include any faculty or staff (full or part time) who will be on campus at any time during the spring semester.

Please note that student-athletes in season will follow NCAA testing protocols. They should continue to work with their coaches and our athletics staff on their testing schedule and requirements.

We will be using antigen tests, commonly referred to as rapid tests, which require a minimally invasive nasal swab and deliver results in as little as 15 minutes. More specifically, we are using the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen card, a quick, reliable and highly portable tool in detecting active cases of this coronavirus.

No. Campus assurance tests are provided at no cost to our students, faculty or staff.

On Friday of the preceding week, members of the campus community who have been selected for testing will receive an email from covidtesting@wilkes.edu notifying them of their required test and providing instructions in doing so.

Tests will be conducted in room 203 of the Marts Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You may arrive at any time during these hours to be tested. When you enter the Marts Center, proceed to the second floor. Please bring your Wilkes ID.

The University will contact those who test positive by phone within one hour. If contact is not made within the hour, the test result is negative and requires no additional follow-up.

If you test positive, you will be required to isolate for 10 days. You can do so at home or in your off-campus apartment. Click here for how you can isolate when sharing your space with others. Residential students with roommates or shared restrooms can be placed in dedicated isolation space. Read more about the isolation period in the Colonels Combat COVID guidebook.

No. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days will be exempt. Once each individual's 90-day window has passed, they will be added into the testing program.

Yes. Many have asked if being vaccinated will exclude them from this program. After consulting with our partners at Geisinger Health, we have determined that those who have been vaccinated will be required to participate. This is largely because the current research is inconclusive about one's ability to transmit the virus to others even once vaccinated.

Yes, but you will be responsible for arranging your off-campus appointment and it will be at your own cost.

Health and Wellness Services will continue to test students who have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have been exposed. Call Health and Wellness Services at (570) 408-4730.

Faculty and staff must continue to notify Kathy Malcolm in Human Resources (katherine.malcolm@wilkes.edu) if they are in quarantine or isolation, have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms. Outside of this assurance testing program, employees should work with their primary care provider when they have signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Health and Safety Procedures

Yes. Governor Tom Wolf issued requirements that everyone must wear face masks when they leave their home and are in public spaces throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. That means that all of us -- students, faculty, staff and visitors -- are required to wear face masks while on campus and in all buildings, classrooms, labs, dining areas and any indoor and outdoor shared spaces. In residence halls, masks will be required in all common spaces, including hallways and kitchens. Students do not have to wear masks in their rooms but must wear masks if they have guests in their rooms.

Employees do not have to wear masks in their personal office space separated by doors, walls or cubicle partitions, but must do so in all common areas or shared vehicles.

One is never enough, so please bring your own. Sanitizing stations in the following locations also offer disposable masks: 

  • Arnaud C. Marts Center lobby 
  • Breiseth Hall Fenner Quadrangle entrance
  • Chase Hall waiting area
  • Cohen Science Center lobby
  • Eugene S. Farley Library main entrance 
  • Henry Student Center lobby
  • Karambelas Media and Communication Center and Sordoni Art Gallery shared lobby
  • Mark Engineering Center and Stark Learning Center shared lobby
  • University Center on Main lobby 
  • Weckesser Hall lobby

Social distancing means maintaining a safe physical distance from people not in your immediate household. It is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Six feet of physical space (about two arms’ length) is required on campus where feasible. This includes offices, classrooms, labs, hallways, restrooms, common areas and outdoor spaces.

There are simply some spaces on campus where six feet of space isn’t possible. In those circumstances, it is even more important that we wear face masks and practice good handwashing and hygiene. Reduced class sizes, using larger rooms for smaller crowds, controlling entrance and exit points and establishing one-way foot-traffic paths are used to encourage our personal space. Campus signage marks these patterns.

Properly and frequently washing our hands and practicing excellent personal hygiene are among the simplest and most considerate ways we can collectively mitigate the spread of illness on campus. 

The CDC recommends the following practices to prevent the transmission or spread of the virus: 

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, coughed, sneezed or blew your nose. 
  • Don’t touch your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. If you do touch your face, wash or sanitize your hand immediately after.
  • Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Toss your tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands immediately after.
  • Use hand sanitizer. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. 

It takes our collective effort to keep each other safe. When we are on campus, we can monitor and remind each other of these requirements. But we must all make consistently responsible choices, on and off campus, during this pandemic. It is the only way we can continue to have a somewhat traditional campus experience, mitigate the spread of the virus and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. 

Students without a mask will be asked to obtain one before returning to campus or class. They will be asked to do so by faculty or staff. A limited number of paper disposable masks are available at sanitizing stations across campus, but supplies are not guaranteed. Students will also be reminded of social distancing guidelines when large crowds gather. If needed, students who receive repeated warnings of these policies will be referred to the Office of Student Affairs for further discussion. 

Many people are monitoring how college students behave during the pandemic. If large gatherings are reported by member of the community, we will take disciplinary action.

Reporting Noncompliance
If you observe situations in which members of the campus community are not in compliance with our health protocols, you can submit an anonymous report via the Wilkes Shield app (using the iReport function) or by calling the Public Safety tip line at (570) 408-CARE (2273).

We continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 using the best scientific data available, and we continue to follow the guidance of the national, state and local health officials. In the event of an outbreak on campus or in the immediate community, Wilkes will isolate, test and contact trace to mitigate the spread. We can also quickly adopt remote learning, even if only temporary or for a focused amount of time.

Students from Overseas
Students traveling to Wilkes from abroad will be required to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive in the United States. They must do so in Pennsylvania, or in a state that is not on the Commonwealth's list of recommended quarantine states. International students residing on campus will be allowed to move into their residence hall for the quarantine period.  Once on campus, students will meet with a nurse at Health and Wellness Services for an individual assessment and may receive a rapid test.

Students who are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, or who are engaging in quarantine at the direction of the Wilkes-Barre Health Department, Wilkes University Health and Wellness Services Office, or their health care professional, should not attend class. They will not be required to provide formal documentation from a health care provider and will not be penalized for absences, missed exams, labs or other critical academic activities, unless they fail to notify their instructors of their absences. Students must take responsibility for their absences and keeping up with their coursework if they cannot attend class. They must:

  • Inform their instructors/professors and Student Affairs of their inability to attend class prior to class meetings.
  • Refrain from coming to the classroom or visiting the instructor/professor.
  • Maintain open communication by notifying instructors and student Health and Wellness Services (anita.burns@wilkes.edu, 570-408-4730) as soon as they become aware of the situation.
  • Keep up with classwork, unless they are unable to do so.
  • When available, attend class remotely and submit assignments digitally, unless they are unable to do so.
  • Work with their instructors to reschedule exams, labs, and other critical academic activities as soon as possible.

Additionally, students who are unable to access classes remotely due to technical difficulties will not be penalized for absences. Students must inform their instructors/professors when they experience such difficulties.

If remaining in a class and fulfilling the necessary requirements becomes impossible due to extended illness or other COVID-related circumstances, students must discuss other options with their academic advisors and instructors/professors.

This policy should not be arbitrarily applied. It only applies to students experiencing COVID-related challenges and is in place due to the unique circumstances of this global pandemic. The expectation of regular attendance at class remains in place for the spring 2021 semester.

Nonessential travel will not be permitted during the pandemic. Essential travel is defined as travel that cannot be postponed and is: 

  • required to complete an academic requirement (students)
  • mission-critical and time sensitive (staff)
  • required to maintain continuity in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service (faculty)

Anyone participating in essential University travel will complete an online form outlining dates, destinations and modes of transportation. Travel destinations where COVID-19 cases are considered to be hot spots will be sufficient cause for denying requests. Should an approved travel location be deemed unsafe following preliminary approval, the University may cancel the travel request. Should an approved University traveler visit an area where COVID-19 spikes during the visit, Health and Wellness Services will provide safety guidance for that traveler to safely reenter the university community. More information on this policy is available by contacting Student Affairs or Human Resources.

If a student develops COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed to someone confirmed to have COVID-19, they should immediately notify Health and Wellness Services at campus ext. 4730 (570-408-4730). Health and Wellness Services will determine if COVID-19 testing is required and schedule an appointment as necessary. Even if you intend to be tested by your family physician, you must report this information to Health and Wellness Services. If you are sick, please do not go to class.

Commuter students and those residing off campus must return home to quarantine. Residential students will be moved into a room on campus designated for self-isolation. Arrangements will be made for remote learning for all impacted students and contactless meal delivery for those living on campus.

If there is a positive test result, the student will remain in isolation for 10 days and until all symptoms are diminishing and they have not had a fever in the prior 24 hours (without fever-reducing medications). Residential students will be strongly encouraged to return home during the isolation period when feasible.

The Wilkes-Barre Department of Health in cooperation with the University, will conduct contact tracing so that others can be notified that they may have been exposed. At this time, those who have been exposed will also need to quarantine for 14 days. If symptoms develop, testing will also be recommended either through Health and Wellness Services (for students) or a family physician (for employees).

If an employee develops symptoms and is being tested, they should immediately notify both their supervisor and Human Resources at campus ext. 4644 (570-408-4644). The employee must leave work immediately and contact their primary care physician to determine if COVID-19 testing is necessary.

If an employee tests positive, they will be instructed to isolate for 10 days and until all symptoms are diminishing and they have not had a fever in the prior 24 hours (without fever-reducing medications). Employees will be unable to return to work until released by their physician.

The Wilkes-Barre Department of Health in cooperation with the University will conduct contact tracing so that others can be notified that they may have been exposed. Those who have been exposed will also need to quarantine for 14 days. If symptoms develop, testing will also be recommended either through Health and Wellness Services (for students) or a family physician (for employees).

Employees who are able to work from home will be encouraged to do so following the remote work policy in the employee policy manual. Employees working in jobs where they cannot work from home should contact Human Resources for more information.

Classes and Experiential Learning

Many classes and labs are held in face-to-face formats with reduced class sizes and face masks required. Some classes are held online or in hybrid formats that blend online and face-to-face learning. Faculty members will provide this specific guidance for each of your courses.

Though several of our classes have converted to a fully online format, we cannot guarantee 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. 

Due to mandates from the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, international students may be limited in their ability to enroll in fully online courses. Please contact Dr. Georgia Costalas for guidance.

Spring classes for undergraduate students will begin on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. Classes conclude on May 13 and finals conclude by May 22.

Though we will not have our traditional spring break in March, students will not have classes on April 1 and 2 for the spring holiday recess. Club hours will resume from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Wellness Days
Two wellness days will be held this semester in which classes are cancelled and offices are closed. Wellness days will take place on Tuesday, March 2 and Wednesday, April 28.

Class sizes are reduced to promote social distancing wherever feasible. Desks and chairs may be removed or spread apart, and rooms with fixed seating will have available seats clearly identified. Some classes have been moved into larger spaces not traditionally used for academics to account for social distancing.

Students who are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, or who are engaging in quarantine at the direction of the Wilkes-Barre Health Department, Wilkes University Health and Wellness Services Office, or their health care professional, should not attend class. They will not be required to provide formal documentation from a health care provider and will not be penalized for absences, missed exams, labs or other critical academic activities, unless they fail to notify their instructors of their absences. Students must take responsibility for their absences and keeping up with their coursework if they cannot attend class. They must:

  • Inform their instructors/professors and Student Affairs of their inability to attend class prior to class meetings.
  • Refrain from coming to the classroom or visiting the instructor/professor.
  • Maintain open communication by notifying instructors and student Health and Wellness Services (anita.burns@wilkes.edu, 570-408-4730) as soon as they become aware of the situation.
  • Keep up with classwork, unless they are unable to do so.
  • When available, attend class remotely and submit assignments digitally, unless they are unable to do so.
  • Work with their instructors to reschedule exams, labs, and other critical academic activities as soon as possible.

Additionally, students who are unable to access classes remotely due to technical difficulties will not be penalized for absences. Students must inform their instructors/professors when they experience such difficulties.

If remaining in a class and fulfilling the necessary requirements becomes impossible due to extended illness or other COVID-related circumstances, students must discuss other options with their academic advisors and instructors/professors.

This policy should not be arbitrarily applied. It only applies to students experiencing COVID-related challenges and is in place due to the unique circumstances of this global pandemic. The expectation of regular attendance at class remains in place for the spring 2021 semester.

Classrooms are arranged to provide the greatest degree of social distancing feasible. However, some classes and labs are not conducive to social distancing of six feet. In these cases, the size of the class will be reduced or the class may be moved to a larger space when possible.

We will work with international students and those with verified medical issues on a case-by-case basis to determine if fully remote instruction is feasible. These students should contact the Office of Student Affairs at campus ext. 4100 (570-408-4100). 

Employees may request special consideration for workplace accommodations should they be in high-risk health categories. Efforts will be made to provide these special considerations that allow for safer working conditions on campus or, where feasible, allow for the continuation of remote work or instruction during the pandemic. 

No. Since most of our graduate programs are already held in online or low-residency formats, graduate and doctoral students, or those in our accelerated bachelor of business administration program, will continue to follow their previously established start and end dates. If adjustments are required, you will receive information directly from your program director, advisor or faculty member.

We must all carefully and honestly assess our own health each and every day before coming to campus. Only you can truly know when you are not feeling well. Daily symptom monitoring will be available via the Wilkes Shield app and is strongly recommended. Through the University's free public safety app, members of our campus community can engage in a daily assessment of their symptoms. The COVID-19 feature within the app provides a short questionnaire to help you monitor your health and assess your potential exposure. Once completed, those with satisfactory responses will receive a daily badge to display on your mobile device. Those receiving an unsatisfactory response to the self-assessment are provided with recommended next steps to seek medical advice. Personal information is not captured or recorded by the University and results remain private.
Students who are involved in experiential learning will be expected to follow the guidance of their academic department and the site where they are performing these experiences. Contact your advisor for more information.

Nursing students will have face-to-face clinical experiences in the Clinical Nursing Simulation Center and in hospital settings. Wilkes students will not be assigned to COVID-19 patients. All students and faculty will follow specific hospital protocols for COVID-19 screenings including temperature checks. 

Pharmacy students will have face-to-face and/or virtual/remote experiences in various healthcare settings. Wilkes students will not be assigned face-to-face care of  known COVID-19 patients. All students and faculty will follow specific site protocols and policies for COVID-19 screenings including temperature checks. 

We will follow the standard 4.0 grading system this fall. 
Yes. 
Yes. Appointments are required and you will need to meet virtually (by phone or Zoom). Always check with your advisor before stopping by their office.

Campus Life

As of Dec. 2, the Middle Atlantic Conference issued the following guidelines about winter sports. Discussions continue and student athletes are encouraged to remain in contact with their coaches for details.

Yes. We will manage the number of individuals in the fitness center to ensure social distancing. Click here for more information.

Campus events can continue to take place within the recommended guidance. Virtual events are also strongly encouraged.

Clubs and activities are an important part of the college experience and it’s important that they continue to be offered. But we will need to be creative with our programing as we adhere to state and federal guidelines. Share your ideas with us

Shuttle buses will operate during the spring semester but with reduced occupancy. Face coverings must be worn at all times by all drivers and passengers. Drivers will sanitize high-touch surfaces (rails, armrests) at the conclusion of each ride. Passengers are asked to use the provided hand sanitizer upon entering the shuttle. One passenger per row will be permitted, for a total of six passengers per shuttle ride, with rows in between passengers taped off to ensure proper distancing.

All of our dining locations will be open in the spring semester. Like fall, Henry's Dining Hall will continue to offer an array of options to choose from and all food lines will be open. A variety of prepared "grab and go" meals are available so that students can eat in or elsewhere. Greens To Go, Which Wich and Grille Works continue offering quick meal options as they have previous semesters, and Starbucks and the POD will be open and offering regular services.

Uncovered outdoor seating and picnic tables will be available behind the Henry Student Center. Covered outdoor seating is available in the breezeway at Stark Learning Center next to the Melberger Courtyard. Feel free to take your meal from one of the above locations and enjoy it outside.

There will be dedicated clearly marked entrances and exits in each facility, face masks will be required (aside from when you are actively eating and drinking) and seating will be limited per the Governor's occupancy limits. Additional seating will be available throughout the Henry Student Center and outside, weather permitting. Prepackaged meals, generally sold in the POD and Starbucks, will be available but they will not replace the traditional meals students can receive.

Yes. You must make an appointment by calling campus ext. 4730 (570-408-4730). A campus nurse may contact you virtually, otherwise known as telehealth, to discuss your symptoms and determine next steps. If an in-person appointment is required, most students can be seen on the same day. Health and Wellness Services will have dedicated waiting and examination spaces for students who are not suspected of having COVID-19. 

Uncertainty is difficult to navigate and the pandemic has added stress and worry to all of our lives. But please know that you are not alone. Wilkes provides 24-hour assistance for anyone who needs it. Simply contact 570-408-CHAT. Campus counselors can also see you by appointment by calling campus ext. 4730 (570-408-4730). 

Yes, appointments are encouraged for all office visits on campus. This includes Health and Wellness ServicesCampus CounselingStudent Financial Services and Financial Aid, the Bursar’s office, the Student Center Club Hub and Residence Life, among others. 

The E.S. Farley Library and various computer labs are open. To ensure social distancing, computers and work stations may be rearranged, seating may be limited and building and room capacity will be monitored in the library and in computer labs across campus. 

Per travel advisories from the CDC, study abroad experiences have been canceled for the spring semester. 

Yes. Much like in the fall, the Center for Career Development and Internships will arrange career and internship fairs that connect you to possible employers virtually. In addition, new in-person and remote job and internship opportunities are posted to Handshake each day. Click here for more information.

Yes. Textbooks can be ordered at www.wilkes.bncollege.com or purchased in the store. There are three ways to obtain your textbooks:

  • Contactless shopping: Order online and choose to have your books shipped home. We recommend this option.
  • Limited contact shopping: Order online and choose instore pick up.
  • Instore shopping: The bookstore is following all CDC guidelines on shopping. Masks must be worn at all times and social distancing must be followed

You can begin ordering your textbooks as soon as you have courses scheduled. If we have not received information from the professor, you can preorder the books for the course and we will fill your order as soon as we receive the information.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Campus Support Services will prepare for the spring semester by deep cleaning all campus buildings with disinfecting products that are approved for use against COVID-19. Our facilities and custodial personnel follow the guidance established by the CDC to ensure a clean and safe environment. 

In addition to enhanced cleaning measures: 

  • a dedicated team specifically focuses on cleaning frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs, light switches, sink handles and faucets, railings and elevator buttons, and provides additional cleanings and sanitation of restrooms on campus throughout the fall semester; 
  • disinfecting wipes or sprays are provided in residence halls, classrooms, labs and offices so that additional sanitation can occur as needed by students, faculty and staff; 
  • hand sanitizers are available at the main entrances to all buildings, elevators, computer labs, shared residential bathrooms and in frequently visited places around campus;
  • sanitizing stations can be found in the following locations: 
  • Arnaud C. Marts Center lobby 
  • Breiseth Hall Fenner Quadrangle entrance
  • Chase Hall waiting area
  • Cohen Science Center lobby
  • Eugene S. Farley Library main entrance 
  • Henry Student Center lobby
  • Karambelas Media and Communication Center and Sordoni Art Gallery shared lobby
  • Mark Engineering Center and Stark Learning Center shared lobby
  • University Center on Main lobby 
  • Weckesser Hall lobby

In preparation for our return: 

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in each of our campus buildings have been cleaned and antimicrobial filters have installed. Wilkes has detailed preventative maintenance schedules and procedures to insure that all HVAC systems are running in a manner that helps to maintain a safe environment. Our Building Automation System is programed in accordance with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidance to bring in adequate amount of outside air to insure proper ventilation.

  • Campus water systems have been flushed and water quality was tested by an outside contractor. This was important as many campus buildings were vacated in the spring semester. 

Residence Life

Just like in the fall, the residence halls have a range of new procedures in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment. These procedures were developed based on guidance from the CDC, state and local officials. 

Please note that roommates who are sharing a room are considered a family unit, similar to private residences. While in your room, roommates do not need to wear face masks or make in-room modifications to promote social distancing. You are expected to put on a mask before leaving their room.

Room occupancy is reduced only in spaces where three more students are in an individual bedroom.

The guest policy has also been temporarily adjusted. Residential students cannot have more than one guest in their room at a time. A guest is defined as someone who is not their roommate, but who is a Wilkes student. Individuals who are not current Wilkes students will not be permitted in rooms. This includes family, friends and students from other institutions. Please note that the only exception to this policy is while you are moving in and out of your room. In that case, two guests are permitted to aid in your move only. This is unfortunate but necessary as we work to keep our campus healthy. 

Face masks are required in all common and shared places within your residence hall. You do not have to wear a face mask while you are in your room with your roommate, but must wear a mask if you have a guest in your room as defined above. 

Residential students will be contacted by Residence Life to detail spring move-back plans.

Yes, financial adjustments on unused room, dining and parking plans will be implemented.

Finances

If students are asked to leave campus early, they can expect financial adjustments on unused housing, dining and parking plans. 

 

Students with financial challenges are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Financial Services at campus ext. 4512 (570-408-4512) to make an appointment with a financial aid counselor as soon as possible.

A $100 credit to the general university fee for all full-time undergraduate students will be identified on spring tuition bills. During a time in which many universities are increasing fees to account for added COVID-19 expenditures, these adjustments recognize the extraordinary circumstances we will face during this unique year.

Yes, work study jobs will be available through the Work Study Program. Check the site often to see what opportunities are available to you.