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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?

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your health care provider and seek medical attention. Stay in your residence or dorm room out of respect for the community, and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form. We would like to keep track of the health and wellness of our students. If you are ill and unable to participate in online classes, please contact the Dean of Student Life.

I am not sick but have been in close contact to someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. What should I do?

Consult your health care provider and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form. You are advised to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the last exposure, and be monitored by a health care professional.

I am not sick but have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus but has not yet been diagnosed. What should I do?

Consult your health care provider and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form. If the contact tests positive for coronavirus, you are advised to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the last exposure, and be monitored by a health care professional.

Who is defined to be a close contact?

According to the New Jersey Department of Health, a close contact is defined as: (a) being within approximately six feet of a COVID‐19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID‐19 case; or (b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID‐19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

I have symptoms consistent with coronavirus. What should I do?

If you are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form. Your health care professional will work with the health department and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

I have symptoms of respiratory illness. What do I do?

Those who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are asked to stay in the residence or dorm room until they are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants).

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. We plan to welcome students back to campus for a residential hybrid model of learning. This means that all students are encouraged to be in residence on campus this fall, with exceptions for students with health considerations and those who are commuting locally. The residential experience will be a blend of digital and face-to-face learning.

Will fall classes be in person or online?

All courses will be online at the start of the semester and may pivot to include in-person elements throughout the semester as conditions permit. In order to allow maximum flexibility and adopt best pedagogical practices, faculty are planning to conduct their courses entirely online. As conditions permit, some components of courses, such as precepts, may meet in person or include other face-to-face discussion or activities. Deciding now to offer courses in this way will allow faculty sufficient time to plan digital courses over the summer. These courses will be constructed from the beginning with digital pedagogy in mind, unlike the quick adaptation that was necessary last semester. This will also allow that if a student becomes ill during the semester or cannot come to campus, they will still be able to access course material and make academic progress.

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

Can I travel during the fall semester?

In order to minimize the amount of travel to and from campus, students should plan to remain on campus once they arrive until Thanksgiving recess. The fall reading week will be observed in October, though students will be encouraged to stay on campus. After Thanksgiving, the last week of the semester and final exam period will be conducted entirely online, allowing students to leave campus and not return until the spring semester begins.

Will the dorms be open?

The dormitories will be closed in the fall, and we will only be offering student housing in campus apartments. We will be prepared to continue social distancing practices next year and want to ensure that residents have personal space for restrooms and kitchens. Further details about housing will be forthcoming.

I have a health consideration and would like to live off campus. How do I notify the Seminary?

Students who wish to waive the residence requirements due to health considerations may apply for an exception by contacting the dean of Student Life (deanofstudentlife@ptsem.edu).

While we encourage students to be on campus this fall, we know that this will not be possible for every student, and we are committed to working with individuals to promote their health and wellbeing.

Why should I live on campus if classes will be online?

We believe that even if courses are conducted online, there is an important value to living in residence alongside a diverse group of people. Now more than ever, we need one another, and we will be intentional about fostering spiritual nurture and mutual care among us. As one component of residential life, all students will be connected to a “Quaranteam,” a small group of ten people from across the community that will gather for weekly worship, prayer, and shared meals during the semester. They will not replace the community that organically forms through courses, student groups, and residential life, but will provide a point of connection for every student, given the constraints that the pandemic will present to our normal campus life. More information about this and other initiatives will follow in the coming weeks.

What safety precautions should I expect to encounter on campus?

Detailed procedures and guidelines will be shared this summer as we prepare to return to campus. They will include wearing masks while on campus, limiting gatherings, and ongoing health screenings. There will be changes to campus dining, reconfigured office spaces, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. These new practices will require our collective graciousness and commitment in order to steward the health of the community.

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.

There will be guidelines for holding in-person meetings and campus events for limited numbers of people. Since we will be welcoming students and their families traveling from across the country to the seminary community, we will begin the semester with forthcoming guidelines about gathering in groups.

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

All yoga, fitness classes, and recreational sports are cancelled for the rest of the semester. 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 Jan, Yedea, or Wanda Sevey (our new 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.


For Employees

Health

What do I do if I feel sick?

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider and do not come to work. Be sure to notify your supervisor and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form.

I am not sick but have been in close contact to someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus. What should I do?

Consult your health care provider, notify Jan Ammon by completing this form, and do not come to work. You are advised to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the last exposure, and be monitored by a health care professional. You may return to work if you do not have any symptoms after 14 days.

I am not sick but have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus but has not yet been diagnosed. What should I do?

Consult your health care provider and do not come to work until the contact’s diagnosis is complete. Please also notify Jan Ammon by completing this form. If the contact tests positive for coronavirus, you are advised to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the last exposure, and be monitored by a health care professional. You may return to work if you do not have any symptoms after 14 days. If the contact tests negative for coronavirus, you may return to work.

Who is defined to be a close contact?

According to the New Jersey Department of Health, a close contact is defined as: (a) being within approximately six feet of a COVID‐19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID‐19 case; or (b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID‐19 case (e.g., being coughed on).

I have symptoms consistent with coronavirus. What should I do?

If you are exhibiting symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, contact your health care provider, notify Jan Ammon by completing this form, and do not report to work. Your health care professional will work with the health department and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

I have symptoms of respiratory illness. Can I come to work?

Those who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are asked to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants).

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?

Through the duration of the summer, 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 wellbeing of all.

If you are not feeling well or have been in contact with someone being tested for coronavirus, notify your manager and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form.

Confer with your manager about changes in work location or schedule as part of social distancing measures.

What safety precautions should I expect to encounter on campus?

Detailed procedures and guidelines will be shared this summer as we prepare to return to campus. They will include wearing masks while on campus, limiting gatherings, and ongoing health screenings. There will be changes to campus dining, reconfigured office spaces, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. These new practices will require our collective graciousness and commitment in order to steward the health of the community.

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.

Can I work remotely?

Employees whose work can be performed from home are encouraged to work remotely. Those whose work cannot be performed remotely should confer with their supervisor about whether and when they need to report to campus. Personnel who fulfill critical functions will continue to report to campus, and all others whose work cannot be performed remotely will be asked to stay home and will continue to receive full pay and benefits.

If you are fulfilling your job responsibilities remotely, you should talk with your manager about expectations for social distancing. You are expected to work a full schedule and be available for conferencing and digital meetings if you’re working from home.

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.

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.


General FAQ

Has anyone been diagnosed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Seminary?

There are no known cases of COVID-19 at the Seminary.

What is the Seminary doing to prepare for a potential outbreak?

There are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus.

The Seminary’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Team regularly convenes to prepare for a range of scenarios that could potentially threaten the well-being of our community. The Seminary is developing a plan unique to the potential impact of COVID-19 on our campus, offering alternative options that will ensure the continuity of classes and worship in the event of a local or regional outbreak. Information regarding this plan is available here.

What happens if I incur a significant amount of absences due to mandatory travel restrictions or illness?

If regional travel restrictions are mandated, the Seminary will activate its business and academic continuity plan to ensure classes continue, worship experiences are offered, and operations are maintained. Please note, such circumstances may call for alternative methods and reduced services.

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

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.

What can I do now to prepare?

There are no known cases of COVID-19 on campus. We remain diligent in monitoring the situation in collaboration with the Mercer County Department of Health and the CDC.

For general emergency preparedness, it would be prudent to consider having the following available:

  • Prescription and nonprescription drugs and medical supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning products
  • Water and food supply

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Author, Speaker, Ordained Minister

Danielle Shroyer, Class of 1999

“To be in a community where I got to hear so many different perspectives—that was profound for me. I’m grateful for the curiosity, for the practice of learning that was cultivated for me at Seminary.”