Health and Safety Overview

[Last updated October 14]

Franklin & Marshall College has developed a Health and Safety Plan in accordance with the June 3, 2020 Preliminary Guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (the “Preliminary Guidance”), as well as guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. The Plan was developed by Franklin & Marshall’s Re-opening and Operations Team (“ROOT”), comprised of administrators from key divisions of the College and co-chaired by F&M employees Donna Pflum and Gretchen Meyers, Ph.D., with the assistance of the Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health Student Wellness Center staff, external consultants Keeling & Associates, and other external expertise.  

The Plan describes a strategy as to how the College is coordinating with public health officials; devises a strategy and approach as to how the College is safely resuming in-person instruction and monitor the health of the campus community; describes a strategy to mitigate and contain possible spread of the virus on campus and to inform the Pennsylvania Department of Health if transmission occurs at the College; and describes a communication strategy to provide accurate and timely information to the College community. The Plan further provides for consistent reinforcement of health practices related to hygiene, sanitation, social distancing, and face coverings on campus, as well as necessary modifications to facilities to create a healthy environment. Finally, the Plan reflects a review of attendance requirements, travel, and policies related to individuals with a high risk of COVID-19, and modified academic instruction, schedules and calendars so as to adapt to current health conditions, transmission levels, and community spread.

Closing Campus as Necessary

F&M will continue to monitor the health and safety of the campus over the course of the term using the methods outlined in our Health and Safety Plan. We aim to be on campus from the beginning of classes until on-campus residence halls close at the end of the semester. Residence halls will also close at any time that the College decides it must close. Students who decided to return to campus must have an exit plan if they are living in on-campus residence halls. In other words, if the College must quickly close due to an outbreak or for other reasons, we will not house students for any extended period of time (absent temporary isolation/quarantine before departure). As part of preparations, students were asked to consider limiting the number of items they bring to campus.

Community Public Health Dashboard

On a daily basis, F&M will monitor the public health and safety of the campus and community, as well as its capacity to deliver a high-quality academic and student life experience. A pandemic operations response team (“PORT”) will facilitate the collection of quantitative and qualitative indicators that senior administration will utilize to make decisions about ongoing operations. These indicators include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Federal, state, and county regulations

  • Trends in numbers of COVID-19 cases nationally, in Pennsylvania, and in Lancaster County

  • Numbers and trends in COVID-19 cases among students, faculty, and professional staff

  • Trends in numbers of students in quarantine (suspected positive for COVID-19, tested, and awaiting results) and isolation (tested positive for COVID-19), and availability of quarantine and isolation space

  • Capacity for baseline testing of students, faculty, and staff upon arrival, asymptomatic testing throughout the semester, and symptomatic testing and contact tracing as required

  • Supply of PPE, cleaning supplies, and custodial staffing

  • Consistent student compliance with public health protocols as outlined above and described in the Franklin & Marshall Pledge (below), with strict enforcement and monitoring of numbers of violations

  • Quality of the academic program and pedagogy (via data gathered from faculty and students)  

  • Quality of the academic and student life experience (via data gathered from surveys and focus groups with students)

COVID-19 Communications to Students, Faculty and Professional Staff, and Parents

F&M will send weekly updates on the public health and safety of the campus, utilizing data and indicators from the dashboard, as referenced above. Should any incidents or emergencies occur, the College will send more immediate messages and updates to its community.