PA Releases Updated Masking and Travel Requirements

The Pennsylvania Secretary of Health announced new efforts designed to mitigate the rapidly increasing spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Ufberg & Associates has outlined the important details below.

Two of the measures announced by the Secretary of Health are of immediate relevance to employers:

Travel restrictions:

Effective Friday, November 20, any person visiting Pennsylvania from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth, or will otherwise be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The same rule – have a negative test within 72 hours prior to return or quarantine for 14 days – will also apply to Pennsylvania residents who are returning from visits to other states.

The new travel restrictions do not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.

Strengthened masking order:

Effective immediately, the Secretary of Health’s original masking order, issued on April 15, 2020, has been strengthened to require every individual age 2 and older in the Commonwealth to wear a face covering when:

1) Indoors or in an enclosed space, where another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household are present in the same space, irrespective of physical distance.

2) Outdoors with others who are not members of a person’s household and unable to maintain sustained physical distance.

3) As permitted in the Secretary of Health’s Order Directing Mitigation Measures, dated July 15, 2020, as amended, for participation in an indoor or outdoor event, gathering, or group setting where another person or persons, who are not members of the individual’s household are present.

4) Participating in indoor physical activity in a gym, fitness center or group fitness classes, where another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household are present in the same space, irrespective of physical distance.

5) Waiting in a public area for, riding on, driving or operating public transportation or para-transit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle, irrespective of physical distance.

6) Obtaining services for themselves or another person or a pet from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank.

7) When working in any space where food is prepared, packaged for sale, or prepared for distribution to others.

8) Certain facilities – including hospitals, shelters, long-term care facilities, residential treatment facilities, and correctional facilities – may also require visitors and residents, patients, or inmates to wear face coverings even when in a living unit.

The order does contain a few exceptions to the facial covering requirement:

A) If wearing a face covering while working would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

B) If wearing a face covering would either cause a medical condition, or exacerbate an existing one, including respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition or a disability.

C) When necessary to confirm the individual’s identity.

D) While obtaining a service that requires the temporary removal of the face covering, such as dental services.

E) When working alone and isolated from interaction with other people with little or no expectation of in-person interaction. The order defines “working alone” as being isolated from interaction with other people with little or no expectation of in-person interruption. The order provides the following examples:

a. A lone worker inside the enclosed cab of a crane or construction equipment
b. A person by themselves inside an office with four walls and a door;
c. A lone worker inside a cubicle with 3 walls and a door or entryway, with walls high enough to block the breathing zone of all people walking by, and the worker’s activity will not require anyone to come inside of the worker’s workspace; and
d. An employee who is alone in an agricultural field or other open area with no anticipated contact with others.

F) If an individual is communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

The order requires that all alternatives to wearing a facial covering, including the use of a face shield, should be exhausted before an exception is issued to an individual.
Businesses are required to ensure that all employees, customers, and visitors comply with the rule (absent a reasonable accommodation), and take reasonable steps to enforce the rule.
The Department of Health has published FAQs on the travel and masking guidelines on the following webpages:

Travel FAQs
Masking FAQs

Please note that it is possible that the Department of Health will issue additional clarifying guidance relating to this measure in the coming days. Our office will monitor closely, and will provide you with updated information and guidance as it becomes available. If you have any questions about how this new order will impact your workforce, please contact us. Thank you and stay healthy.

Geisinger Streamlines Return of COVID-19 Test Results with Automation

Geisinger is using automation technology to streamline the return of results for COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) tests.

Patients who have a test for any of these conditions at a Geisinger facility will now receive an automated phone call with their result, positive or negative, within 24 hours of the test result being finalized. Patients will be asked to verify their identity by providing their date of birth and will also be given the opportunity to speak with a nurse in Geisinger’s RN Triage.

Patients can also call Geisinger’s COVID-19 hotline, 570-284-3657, or any primary care clinic, and press ‘1#’ to get their results via the automation tool. Callers will be asked to verify their identity by providing their date of birth and Geisinger medical record number (MRN) before receiving results. Test results will continue to be available through the MyGeisinger patient portal, and patients will also receive a letter by mail with their test result within seven days.

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a daily automated phone call from Geisinger to monitor their symptoms for at least 10 days following their positive test. If a patient indicates they have new or worsening symptoms, the patient will be immediately directed to Geisinger’s RN Triage line for assessment. Patients can opt out of the daily monitoring calls if they wish.

“Automating outreach for COVID, flu and RSV test results frees up our invaluable nursing staff to focus on critical patient care,” said Emily LaFeir, senior director of innovation operations for Geisinger’s Steele Institute for Health Innovation. “Automation has been a critical technology to enhance our healthcare workforce and meet the challenging demands the pandemic has presented.”

Automating the return of test results was spearheaded by the Steele Institute’s intelligent automation hub (IAH) and voice systems. The intelligent automation team works with departments across the Geisinger system, developing automated solutions for processes and tasks where efficiency can be improved. Automating routine tasks frees employees to do higher-value work that better uses their skills, which translates to better care for Geisinger patients.

“This collaboration of interactive voice recognition and outreach automation is just the beginning,” said Ron Savage, program director for information technology at Geisinger. “We will continue to enhance our technology and teamwork to empower our employees and provide care to our patients in effective ways.”

PennDOT Reminds High School Students to Enter Innovations Challenge

With the December 18 deadline rapidly approaching,the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds students in grades 9-12 regardless of their school’s learning model to participate in the fourth annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge, which encourages students to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges in a competition among their peers.

This year’s Innovations Challenge asks students to develop an innovative and implementable solution that helps address Pennsylvania’s transportation revenue shortfall by identifying potential new funding streams, aside from additional gas taxes, tolls or mileage-based user fees, to help ensure adequate transportation funding for the future.

PennDOT is directly responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and roughly 25,000 bridges, roughly equal to the state-maintained road systems of New York, New Jersey, and all the New England states combined. Much of the funding to maintain that system comes from liquid fuels taxes, which are becoming increasingly unsustainable, especially considering additional impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With vehicles becoming more fuel efficient and electric vehicles becoming more affordable, gasoline-based revenues can no longer generate the funds needed. Other options, including tolling and mileage-based user fees, are being explored. To meet the needs of its aging infrastructure, Pennsylvania needs to establish a funding stream that will inject an additional $5 billion per year into its transportation system.

“We appreciate the unique challenges faced by schools during the pandemic,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Our educators are to be commended for encouraging the creative thinking needed for the Innovations Challenge.”

Regional Innovations Challenge winners will be selected and invited to compete for the state championship.

The Transportation Policy and Education Foundation, an educational arm of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC), the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are providing a combined total award of $5,500 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.

For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit Again, the submission deadline is December 18, 2020.

Lackawanna College Esports Team to Participate in Maui Invitational

The Lackawanna College Rocket League team will participate in the first-ever Maui Esports Invitational from November 14 to 20. Various stages of the tournament will be broadcast on the official Rocket League Twitch channel at and ESPNU, with the finals set for broadcast on ESPN2.

Lackawanna joins an impressive list of Division I esports programs in what is expected to become an annual event. The Falcons will have the opportunity to compete against teams including the University of Indiana, the University of Alabama, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stanford University, Purdue University, Maryville University, Boise State University, the University of Texas, and more.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be invited to the first-ever Maui Esports Invitational which will give our two-year-old program a well-deserved place in the national spotlight,” Esports Program Administrator Teddy Delaney said. “Our Rocket League team has been a force to be reckoned with in league play, and we welcome the opportunity to play other top tier programs in the country.”

Rocket League, a free-to-play esports title combining the traditional aspects of soccer with the blistering speed of rocket-powered vehicles, has more than two million followers on its official Twitch channel. More than 333,000 broadcast hours were watched during the 2019 College Rocket League finals, and the 2020 RLCS Season X Fall Regional attracted the attention of 178,354 viewers at its peak. The esports title generated more than $15 million in scholarships for student-athletes around the globe in 2018.

Tournament organizers promise to deliver a completely remote tournament which guarantees the safety of students and staff while producing a high-quality, professional broadcast. 

Lackawanna College launched its esports program in the Fall 2018 semester. The College currently participates in six esports titles – Rocket League, Overwatch, League of Legends, Valorant, Fortnite, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Falcons’ Rocket League team is currently 4-1 in the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE), and the team is considered a contender for the league’s national title for the Fall 2020 semester. Team members include Dominic “Domosaur” Clapper, of Archbald, Pa.; Matt “JKfoshizzle” Kelly, of Jenkintown, Pa.; and Keenan “Fesbot” Lewis, of Wyoming, Pa. The team is coached by Daniel “diggs” Boschi, of Bethlehem, Pa. Follow the Lackawanna College esports program across all of its titles at and

Marywood University Announces Athletics Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Following months of reflection, dialogue, and planning, Marywood University announced the formation of the Athletics Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Patrick Murphy, director of athletics and recreation at Marywood University, commissioned a team of staff members and student leaders to spearhead the department’s dedication to diversity and inclusion initiatives moving forward.

The council consists of John Velasco, men’s soccer head coach; Julie Trott, field hockey head coach and student-athlete affairs coordinator; Jennifer Carleton, women’s basketball head coach; Rob Ahrens, cross country and track and field head coach; Jay Monahan, assistant director of sports information; and Hayley Gaines, cross country and track and field student-athlete.

“We here at Marywood University are committed to equality and diversity, as well as maintaining a safe environment where our student-athletes can excel and reach their full potential on the courts, on the field, and in the classroom,” Mr. Murphy said. “I am very proud of our coaches and staff for embracing and leading with this initiative.”

Since beginning conversations prior to the fall semester, the council has achieved four initiatives, including establishing a framework for the development of a strategic DEI plan in coordination with the Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion; surveying more than 100 student-athletes regarding diversity and inclusion issues in athletics; discussing diversity recruitment strategy with admissions; and creating a Student-Athlete Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

Additionally, it organized a fitness challenge that encouraged student-athletes to run, cycle, or walk 8.46 miles or 8:46 increments in support of anti-racism, black lives, and equality. In conjunction with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the council produced a NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Week social media campaign that emphasized the importance of inclusive environments in collegiate sports.

The council aims to meet the university-wide goals of providing a safe environment that is free from bias, harassment, and discrimination.

Mr. Velasco will serve as the athletic department’s primary diversity and inclusion designee.

Throughout its formation, the council has committed to establishing a culture that provides meaningful educational and recreational experiences for all students, and faculty and staff members, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or disability.

Marywood University’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center (TRHT) offers resources for faculty, staff and students; organizations devoted to equity and inclusion, both on and off campus; potential research opportunities; community engagement activities; and events dedicated for systemic social change. Marywood’s TRHT Center is located at the Learning Commons, Room 371, and can be contacted at, or by calling (570)-348-6211, ext. 4551.

Condron Media Welcomes New Art Director

Condron Media announces Julia Valenza has joined the firm as Art Director. Ms. Valenza is an Art Education graduate of Kutztown University and is a highly experienced graphic designer and artist. She has multimedia design experience with various forms of print, web, digital, video and outdoor marketing materials.

With a distinguished record of success in developing marketing graphics, Ms. Valenza will direct and oversee the advertising agency’s design department and be responsible for the firm’s client brand development, graphic implementation and design execution.

Ms. Valenza has produced internationally published books and ads, nationally recognized marketing campaigns, and regional marketing materials for an impressive list of companies and not-for-profit organizations.

“We are delighted to welcome Ms. Valenza to our talented team of marketing and public relations professionals,” stated Phil Condron, CEO of the firm. “Our clients will benefit from the creative talent she adds to our agency.”

Condron Media is an award-winning full-service advertising and public relations agency serving education, legal, retail, industrial, business and non-profit clients from their Clarks Green, PA headquarters.

Geisinger Asks Community to Plan Ahead for Holiday Donations

During this season of giving, many members of local communities have reached out to Geisinger to offer support for our caregivers, support staff and patients.

For safety reasons due to the resurgence of  COVID-19 cases throughout the region, the Geisinger Health Foundation asks that donations of supplies or food be planned in advance through the donation website at or by calling 800-739-6882.

Holiday donations to Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital are also restricted due to the pandemic. We are unable to accept donations of fabric items, stuffed animals and homemade goods. Questions or scheduled deliveries of donations for the children’s hospital can be directed to Allie Naumann at or by calling 570-594-1446.

Gifts may also be ordered on Amazon Wishlist, which allows for orders from Amazon to be directly shipped to the children’s hospital staff to avoid contact and interaction. The link is

Blood donations are also a safe and very welcome way to give during the holiday season and are safe for donors. If you are feeling well and would like to donate blood, visit or contact Kathryn Rowinski at (570) 449-5586 or  

State Police, PennDOT Announce Annual ‘Operation Safe Holiday’ Enforcement

With the holiday season just around the corner, while travel is not recommended in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) remind Pennsylvanians who must travel of the importance of safe driving and consistent seat belt use ahead of the long Thanksgiving weekend and the start of the holiday season.

“We can all do our part to prevent crashes and fatalities by designating a sober driver and always wearing a seat belt,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “This holiday season may look a little different, but no matter how far or near you travel, traffic safety is always important.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Operation Safe Holiday kicked off on November 16, with the “Click It or Ticket” Thanksgiving enforcement mobilization running through November 29, 2020. State police and local law enforcement will be on the lookout to ensure drivers and front-seat passengers are buckled up, and children are secured in properly installed child safety seats.

In Pennsylvania, children under age 4 must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children under two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the manufacturer. Booster seats are required for children ages four to eight to keep them protected in the event of a crash. 

Operation Safe Holiday continues with the holiday season impaired driving campaign that begins on November 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and runs through New Year’s Day. Law enforcement will conduct impaired driving enforcement details, with zero tolerance toward drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol. According to PennDOT data, there were 1,175 crashes resulting in 31 deaths during the same period in 2019.

“DUI is a serious crime that puts Pennsylvanians at risk every day, but it is also 100 percent preventable,” said Major Bruce Williams, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “PSP and its local law enforcement partners have zero tolerance toward driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Drivers are also reminded to obey Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop, or disabled vehicle. The goal of the Move Over Law is to protect law enforcement, emergency medical providers, and other first responders when responding to crashes.

“It takes a team effort to keep traffic flowing safely,” said Major Williams. “First responders – including police, emergency medical technicians, road crews, and tow truck drivers – are at risk when responding to crash scenes, and we can all do our part to keep them safe by obeying the Move Over Law and giving them space to work.”

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

The holiday seat belt and impaired driving enforcements are funded through PennDOT’s statewide annual distribution from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For more information on PennDOT’s highway safety efforts visit, The public can join the discussion on social media using the hashtags #PASafeHoliday and #BeSafePA