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Alerts: Coronavirus

The following FAQs reflect the Seminary’s current coronavirus guidelines and resources. These FAQs will be updated as needed.

For Students

Health

What do I do if I feel sick or had possible exposure to the virus?

There are several symptoms associated with COVID-19, ranging from mild to severe. If you have any of these symptoms listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 (even though you may not be experiencing symptoms), please follow the guidelines below:

  • Please stay at home. If you are on campus, please return to your residence.
  • If you are sharing an apartment, please isolate from your roommate.
  • Consult with your medical doctor on how to respond to symptoms or determine level of risk from possible exposure.
  • Complete the confidential Health Notification Form online.

The Health and Wellness Team will be in conversation with you regarding notification of faculty or supervisors, and anything else you might need.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you receive notification of positive test results, you should get medical guidance from a physician. We do not provide health services on campus. In addition to following medical care instructions, please be certain to complete the confidential Health Notification Form.

What should I do if I was instructed to isolate or quarantine following a COVID-19 diagnosis?

This means that you are not to leave your residence for any reason except for medical care. This also means that you should not have anyone from the community in your residence.

If you are in a shared living situation, you may have the option of moving to a quarantine apartment. The Health and Wellness Team can also arrange for additional support that you need.

Will my positive test results be shared?

The Health and Wellness Team will need to communicate with the community if there are individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. However, your name will not be shared with the community. Everything will be done to assure your privacy and confidentiality.

Note that positive tests results will be reported to the local Board of Health by testing sites. They will be in touch with you regarding contact tracing, as well as the Seminary’s Health and Wellness team regarding contract tracing in our community.

What are the guidelines if I am living in quarantine as a precautionary measure?

If you are instructed to quarantine as a precautionary measure, for example if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have returned from a state that is on the New Jersey State list, you may only leave your residence to get medical care, groceries, and medication.

You must wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing, and practice rigorous hand washing.

Who is defined to be a close contact?

According to the CDC, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.

What should secondary contacts do? I am not sick but I have been in the proximity of someone who is under self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Being a secondary contact does not require you to self-quarantine. You would only self-quarantine if you are a close contact of a presumptive or confirmed coronavirus case. You should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms. If you notice that you have symptoms and feel that you need to be medically evaluated, contact your health care provider and stay home.

What should tertiary contacts do? If I have been in contact with someone who has had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, what do I do?

Being in contact with someone who has had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 does not require testing. For example, if you have a coworker whose family member is a confirmed case, you would not need to be tested. Despite coming into contact with the coworker, you did not have close contact with the person who actually has COVID-19.

Monitor yourself for symptoms and practice good hand hygiene. If you notice that you have symptoms, contact your health care provider and stay home.

Academics

When will the fall semester begin?

The fall semester will begin on September 3.

Will fall classes be in person or online?

All courses will be online for the 2020-21 academic year. We had hoped to incorporate some in-person elements within certain courses this fall, but unfortunately the advancing state of the coronavirus makes it difficult to plan safely for organized face-to-face gatherings at this time.

The faculty have been hard at work this summer to prepare their courses for digital learning. While this will be a different mode of teaching than we have come to cherish, it can nonetheless provide an excellent, meaningful learning experience.

Are summer language courses taking place?

Summer language courses will be held online. The Office of Digital Learning is working with faculty to design the online summer language program in a way that facilitates meaningful learning and community. These courses will follow a cohort model, and small groups will walk through the material together, including attending live web conferences, viewing recorded lectures, participating in virtual study groups, and joining cohort discussions. The registrar will send information about registration next week. The registration deadline is June 19.

I don’t have a computer. How can I participate in digital classes?

Please contact help.desk@ptsem.edu for assistance. IT Support Services will help ensure you have access to a computer.

How do I join a live class session?

All you need is the internet and a computer, phone, or tablet. Click here to learn how to find your Webex class link in Blackboard. Click on the following links to learn how to:

What if I can’t join a live class session?

We understand that a number of issues may prevent you from joining a live class session (losing your internet connection, a time zone change, or other demands on your time). If you expect to miss a session or have ongoing concerns about attendance, please talk with your instructor. If you unexpectedly miss a session, please email your instructor to let them know that you will view the recording when it is available.

What do I do if my kids are at home, or if I have roommates or other family?

We understand that many of you are working at home alongside family or other roommates. Try to join the live class, if possible, and feel free to use the mute and video off features as needed. If, for personal reasons, you are unable to attend a live class session and a recording is available, be sure to watch it on your own time.

Who can I contact when I need support or accommodations for specific challenges?

If you have ongoing challenges that prevent you from staying on track with a particular class, please reach out to the instructor first. For academic issues that your instructor cannot or does not address, contact Academic Support (academic.support@ptsem.edu). If you are dealing with an illness or other personal challenges, contact the dean of Student Life (deanofstudentlife@ptsem.edu). If you need support navigating Webex and/or Blackboard, please contact the Office of Digital Learning (learning@ptsem.edu), IT Support Services (help.desk@ptsem.edu), or Blackboard (blackboard@ptsem.edu).

Can I use Webex on my own to meet with other students?

Yes! You are able to host a meeting yourself. Feel free to use this to collaborate with others on your own time. To learn how to schedule a meeting on the website, click here. To learn how to schedule a meeting on the desktop application, click here. To learn how to use your personal meeting room, click here.

Student Life

What do I need to know about the 2020-2021 academic year?

All courses will be online for the 2020-21 academic year. There will be very limited campus services. All students are encouraged not to come to campus this year if they can make alternative living arrangements.

Can I live off campus for this year?

We encourage all students not to come to campus this year if they can make alternative living arrangements. For the safety of our entire community, we need to reduce the density of our student residences in order to further mitigate the chances of spreading the virus, and we also do not want students to put themselves or others at risk by traveling to campus at a time when the national transmission rates are so high.

Alternatively, returning students may choose to take a leave of absence, and incoming students may choose to defer. We want every student to make the choice that is in the best interests of their own health and well-being.

If I choose to live off campus, will this impact my PTS scholarship or grant?

There will be no change to Princeton Seminary scholarships or grants if you choose to live off campus next year.

Is campus housing available this year?

No one who needs campus housing will be turned away. If an apartment on campus is your only home, you are welcome to return to it. But we strongly encourage everyone who is able to reconsider their plans to come to campus, for the sake of their own health and the health of the community.

If you choose to live in campus housing this year, you must complete a number of steps before your scheduled move-in date:

  • Review the community health guidelines
  • Complete a community contract
  • Complete a liability waiver
  • Complete an online training course on the health guidelines (available in mid-August)
  • Complete a confidential COVID-19 intake form (available in early August)

Please note that students relocating from states with rapid spread of COVID-19 will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival to campus, per New Jersey State guidelines. This means that you cannot leave your apartment except to get groceries, medication, or medical care.

Can I bring outside visitors to campus?

We ask that you do not bring outside visitors into the Seminary community during the fall se­mester. This will help us manage the health and wellness of our community, especially if contact tracing needs to be done.

We understand that members of the Seminary community may have an ongoing relationship with a significant other who is a not member of the Seminary community. Significant others are welcome to a student’s residence with the understanding they will abide by the Seminary’s health and well­ness guidelines.

Will the Seminary require a period of self-quarantine upon my arrival to campus?

Following CDC guidelines, we recommend limiting all non-essential travel. If you must travel, it is your responsibility to follow New Jersey guidelines and self-quarantine upon your arrival to campus from travel to states with significant spread of COVID-19, in accord with the New Jersey travel advisory. If you are traveling to or returning from an affected area, please complete this form to notify the Princeton Seminary health and wellness team of the date you plan to return, which will begin your two weeks of self-quarantine.

Can I travel during the fall semester?

As per the CDC guidelines, we strongly request that you do not travel during the fall semester until Thanksgiving break except for essential needs such as school, employment, obtaining groceries, and attending medical appointments.

If you need to travel to a state that has been determined to be high risk by the state of New Jersey, please complete the Travel Notification Form.

If you travel to a state that has been determined to be high risk by the State of New Jersey, you will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks upon return.

Will the dorms be open?

The dormitories will be closed in the fall, and we will only be offering student housing in campus apartments to ensure that residents have personal space for restrooms and kitchens.

What safety precautions should I expect to encounter on campus?

For those who return to campus, we are instituting rigorous health and wellness guidelines for our life together. They have been developed with care by a team of staff and students and reviewed by public health experts, and you should study them closely.

There will be mandatory training on these protocols before classes begin, and all students in residence will be asked to sign a contract to uphold them. The health of our entire community is at stake in holding each other accountable to these practices.

When will events resume on campus?

There will be limited gatherings and no public events on campus in the fall. In order to prioritize the safe return of students and employees, we will limit external groups and events. All conferences, events, or public lectures in the fall have been cancelled, postponed, or moved to digital formats.

In-person gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people and should take place outdoors. Indoor gatherings of any kind should be the rare exception.

Are we allowed to have outdoor gatherings?

Please do not convene any outdoor gath­erings of more than 10 people for the first few weeks of the semester. After all new and returning students transition to the community and are well, we hope to be able to increase the numbers of those who will be able to gather together outdoors.

Even if larger outdoor gatherings are permitted, we ask that there be no parties this fall semester. It has been determined that it is difficult to maintain social distancing at parties. This will also help us be mindful of noise for our neighbors with early work schedules and our neighbors who have young children.

What’s happening with the fitness center, fitness classes, and sport events?

All yoga, fitness classes, and recreational sports are cancelled. The basketball court, exercise room, gym, and fitness center are closed until further notice.

Who can I contact for emotional support and care?

The concept of social distancing is a difficult one to embrace even though we understand its benefits for our community. We are mindful that this may create isolation and anxiety for members of our community. If you are feeling anxious or unsettled, please feel free to email Rev. Jan Ammon or Rev. Wanda Sevey, director of student counseling. We are very glad to meet with you to talk and pray. We will also be creating opportunities for support and care as these days unfold.

Can I still go to campus? What about town?

For your health and safety and the health and safety of others, it is recommended you limit your travel. Only leave campus for essential services.

What are the hours of operation for the mailroom?

Please see below for times when students can receive services, including pick-up of mail and packages:

Mon: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tue: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Wed: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Thu: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Outside of the hours listed above, students will have access to their mailboxes using their Seminary ID cards from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please enter the mailroom via the student lounge door, on the side of Mackay Campus Center near the steps. Please be sure to remember your mailbox key.

Mailroom staff will go to the post office on Mondays and Thursdays only, therefore all outgoing USPS mail will go to the Post office on those days.

What happens if I incur a significant amount of absences due to illness?

Students who miss classes due to a documented illness should inform the dean of Student Life and their specific situations will be addressed individually.

Can I take a leave of absence or defer?

Returning students may choose to take a leave of absence, and incoming students may choose to defer. We want every student to make the choice that is in the best interests of their own health and well-being.


For Employees

Health

What do I do if I feel sick or had possible exposure to the virus?

There are several symptoms associated with COVID-19, ranging from mild to severe. If you have any of these symptoms listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 (even though you may not be experiencing symptoms), please follow the guidelines below:

  • Please stay at home.
  • Consult with your medical doctor on how to respond to symptoms or determine level of risk from possible exposure.
  • Notify your supervisor and complete the confidential Health Notification Form online.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you receive notification of positive test results, you should get medical guidance from a physician. In addition to following medical care instructions, please be certain to complete the confidential Health Notification Form.

What should I do if I was instructed to isolate or quarantine following a COVID-19 diagnosis?

Please do not come to campus for any reason. Health guidelines dictate that you should not leave your residence for any reason except for medical care.

Will my positive test results be shared?

The Health and Wellness Team will need to communicate with the community if there are individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. However, your name will not be shared with the community. Everything will be done to assure your privacy and confidentiality

Note that positive tests results are reported to the local Board of Health by testing sites. They will be in touch with you regarding contact tracing, as well as the Seminary’s Health and Wellness team regarding contract tracing in our community.

What are the guidelines if I am living in quarantine as a precautionary measure?

If you are instructed to quarantine as a precautionary measure, for example if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have returned from a state that is on the New Jersey State list, you are not permitted on campus and should only leave your residence to get medical care, groceries, and medication.

You must wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing, and practice rigorous hand washing.

Who is defined to be a close contact?

According to the CDC, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.

What should secondary contacts do? I am not sick but I have been in the proximity of someone who is under self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Being a secondary contact does not require you to self-quarantine. You would only self-quarantine if you are a close contact of a presumptive or confirmed coronavirus case. You should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms. If you notice that you have symptoms and feel that you need to be medically evaluated, contact your health care provider and stay home.

What should tertiary contacts do? If I have been in contact with someone who has had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, what do I do?

Being in contact with someone who has had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 does not require testing. For example, if you have a coworker whose family member is a confirmed case, you would not need to be tested. Despite coming into contact with the coworker, you did not have close contact with the person who actually has COVID-19.

Monitor yourself for symptoms and practice good hand hygiene. If you notice that you have symptoms, contact your health care provider and do not come to work.

Workplace

Do I report to work?

For the Fall 2020 semester, all employees who can work remotely will continue to do so. Employees who need to be on campus in order to fulfill their job responsibilities will receive further information from their departments about schedules, health guidelines, and social distancing protocols to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all.

How are work spaces being cleaned?

Seminary cleaning services will regularly clean and disinfect common spaces throughout the day. Hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting wipes will be available in certain common spaces, and instructions will be posted regarding their use.

Community members are responsible for cleaning our own personal items and workspaces including phones and computers.

Please clean or disinfect any items before and after sharing with someone else. It is best not to readily share items that cannot easily be cleaned or disinfected, such as papers or books.

What are social distancing measures?

Each department will develop and implement a social distancing plan that is appropriate to their work and schedule. This may include:

  • Encouraging employees to work from home whenever possible
  • Allowing for flexible work hours
  • Limiting in-person meetings and using digital technology to communicate whenever possible
  • Avoiding large meetings or meetings in rooms that cannot hold at least three times the number of persons

Managers will develop departmental social distancing policies for their teams. You should talk with your manager about expectations for social distancing.

Do I have to come to work if I’m concerned, at risk, or have preexisting conditions?

Employees who are able to fulfill their job responsibilities remotely will continue their work with a normal schedule. Employees may choose to use paid time off (PTO) in accordance with the Seminary’s regular policy.

If you are at particular risk because of preexisting conditions and your duties cannot be performed remotely, please contact HR for further guidance.

How do I handle my childcare if schools are closed?

Confer with your manager about changes in work location or flexible hours that may help to accommodate caregiving. If the Seminary is open, you are expected to work a full schedule and perform your job as assigned. Employees may choose to use paid time off (PTO) in accordance with the Seminary’s regular policy.

What happens if I incur a significant amount of absences due to illness?

Employees should reference the salary continuation policy in Section III of the employee handbook under “Disability Leaves of Absence.” For questions regarding work policies, employees can contact Human Resources.

How will my pay be affected if I’m required to work more than my normal hours due to employee shortages?

Current pay practices and overtime rules are in effect for all employees.

What happens if the Seminary closes?

During a partial campus closure, all employees who can fulfill their job responsibilities remotely will continue their work with a normal schedule. All employees who cannot fulfill their job responsibilities remotely will be asked to stay home with full pay and benefits until further notice. Personnel who fulfill critical functions will continue to report to campus.

If the Seminary closes entirely, the same principles would apply as for any other closure, such as weather-related closure. Employees will be paid and would not be required to use leave time.

Departments are developing contingency plans that will identify those who must continue to work if the Seminary is closed. If your position fulfills a critical function, you will be informed.

Proper precautions and protections will be used as appropriate, depending on your department and role.

What are the hours of operation for the mailroom?

Please see below for times when you can receive services, including pick-up of mail and packages:

Mon: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Tue: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Wed: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Thu: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Everyday from 7:15 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., employees will have access to their mailboxes using their Seminary ID cards. Please enter the mailroom via the student lounge door (on the side of Mackay Campus Center near the steps). Please be sure to remember your mailbox key.

Mailroom staff will go to the post office on Mondays and Thursdays only, therefore all outgoing USPS mail will go to the Post office on those days.

Mail will not be delivered to offices or departments.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Associate Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND

Sylvia Bull, Class of 2015

“My field education placements lifted up my gifts for ordained ministry, and the dual-degree program helped me develop the skills for ministry.”