Penn State Scranton: Back to School During COVID-19 We recently asked Penn State Scranton about the safety measures the school is taking for the 2020-2021 school year. To read how other local schools are handling COVID-19 safety, check out our September issue of Momentum Magazine. What will your 2020 – 2021 school year look like – in-person, virtual, or a mix of both? How did the school arrive at that decision? Penn State Scranton will offer a mix of both in-person and remote classes, as well as hybrid classes, which combine in-person classes with remote delivery on alternating days. It is part of Penn State’s coordinated, phased return to on-campus working and learning for students and employees across each of the University’s campuses this fall semester. What safety measures and guidelines has the school put in place for this year? Masks covering the nose and mouth are required in all campus buildings, classrooms, and common areas for all students, staff, and visitors. Classroom spaces have been reconfigured to ensure seating is a minimum of 6 feet apart. Hand sanitizers have been installed in multiple areas in all buildings. All Penn State students and employees are asked to complete a daily symptom checker to self-screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms before returning to campus. Students enrolled for in-person courses or scheduled to be present at on-campus facilities will need to sign in with their Penn State ID to complete the daily student COVID-19 symptom checker through the Penn State Go app. The University will conduct surveillance testing of faculty, staff, and students on its campuses throughout the semester, testing about 1% of our campus populations per day. “Our main concern at this time is the health and well-being of our students and employees,” said Dr. Marwan Wafa, Penn State Scranton chancellor. “We are committed to serving and supporting our students and providing them with educational options that best suit them and support their needs at this time. To that end we have taken every precaution to make our on-campus facilities as safe as possible, and have implemented the necessary technology and training to ensure our remote delivery meets their needs. While things do look and feel differently right now, our commitment to ensuring our students receive quality instruction and services remains paramount.” What do students have to look forward to for the upcoming school year? Our student services staff is looking for ways to engage students through virtual events that will allow them to interact with fellow students via ZOOM and other virtual mediums. What additional well-being resources will be available for students? Upon returning to campus, all students were given safety kits that included masks, hand sanitizer, and educational information, and all faculty and staff were provided with two cloth face masks. In addition, the campus installed multiple hand-sanitizing stations in all buildings and common areas. Our campus mental health counselor is available for one-on-one appointments with students, and last semester, our counselor ran a number of online well-being sessions for students and staff, such as stress relief, meditation, and yoga sessions. Also, our athletics department has organized a number of outdoor, social-distanced activities to engage students and student athletes. Penn State Scranton also has a contingent of student public health ambassadors who actively provide guidance to, communicate with fellow students, the importance of practicing the healthy behaviors and social norms related to COVID-19.