October 19 | 9 a.m.
Dear Allen College Students,
I want to provide an update on how the semester is going relevant to our campus’ response to and mitigation for the coronavirus pandemic. The College’s Leadership team is very closely monitoring the information we receive and are remaining vigilant in our decision making to ensure the safety of everyone who comes to campus. Part of our diligence is our ongoing communication with the Black Hawk County Public Health Department (BHCPHD) as they work to track and contain virus outbreaks in our community.
Allen College is assisting the BHCPHD with contact tracing of Allen College students, faculty and staff. Allen College has a small team of contact tracers who investigate any potential exposures that occur on our campus. It is important to note, Allen College’s contact tracers will only focus on campus exposures, they do not investigate potential exposures that occur in a clinical or public setting. The BHCPHD conducts those tracing evaluations.
The main point I would like to clarify is if you are potentially exposed to someone who is Covid-19 positive on our campus, you will be contacted by the Black Hawk County Public Health Department, not Allen College. Allen College’s role is to collect the information and turn it over to those who will complete any additional contact tracing evaluations and make the notifications.
Additionally, it is also worth reiterating that on September 29, the Iowa Department of Public Health updated their guidance on when individuals need to quarantine after exposure. The new guidance states that if both the person who is Covid-19 positive and anyone who was in close contact were all wearing masks, those individuals who were exposed only need to self-monitor and do not need to quarantine for 14 days. Wearing your mask could potentially prevent you or others from having to quarantine in the event of an exposure.
To protect yourself and those around you, our current campus guidance is masks need to be worn in all common locations (hallways, study areas, etc.) and in any situation where a 6 foot distance cannot be maintained.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus healthy and safe!
Jared Seliger, PhD, CNMT
August 27 | 2:30 p.m.
Dear Allen College Students,
I hope all of you are getting settled with your fall semester schedules and routines. For our returning students, welcome back to campus, I am glad that you are back! For our new students, welcome to campus and your new program!
While we are all adjusting to the new semester, I want to provide some very important guidelines to ensure we can keep our campus healthy and safe throughout the semester. For those of you who have been on campus, you have noticed that we have screening stations setup at the open entrances, are requiring face coverings and social distancing, and have rearranged some furniture to provide social distancing.
I understand that face coverings and social distancing are the antithesis of an immersive college experience. The foundation of higher education, especially healthcare education, is building relationships and learning in a collaborative, collegial environment. While face coverings and social distancing may be inconvenient and obtrusive, they are necessary to ensure we do not have a COVID-19 outbreak on campus which could significantly disrupt our semester.
I am imploring all of you to please closely abide by the guidance we have provided in terms of face coverings and social distancing. Specifically, please do not rearrange any of the campus furniture without permission to do so. The campus and classrooms have been carefully staged to promote a safe and healthy learning environment and I am asking you to please leave the furniture as it is.
No matter what the circumstances you face while on campus, my best advice is, when in doubt, wear a face covering and keep 6 feet between yourself and others. If you need to remove your face covering, for example to eat your lunch, please put yourself in a socially distanced position until you can replace your face covering. I have instructed all of our faculty and staff to address anyone who is not abiding by these requirements.
I fully realize that as college students, you want to spend time with your friends and support crew in social gathering settings. The local news media is showing videos of College Hill and Main Street in Cedar Falls where groups of young adults, presumably some college students, not following face covering and social distancing recommendations. While I will not ask you to stop participating in any type of social gatherings, I am asking you to be socially responsible and protect your health and safety. You are all leaders and are role models for your friends and peers. Use your voice and be an example to encourage your friends and peers to abide by what our public health officials are recommending for our society to get through this pandemic.
Ultimately, you are accountable to yourself for keeping safe and healthy. The ability for our campus to get through this semester with minimal disruptions is entirely dependent on you and every other student, faculty and staff to do the right thing and be accountable for your actions. If we all do our part, we will get through this semester with minimal disruption.
I am confident that all of you will do the right thing and follow the public health recommendations so we can minimize any further disruptions in our society due to COVID-19. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you would like to discuss this further.
Jared Seliger, PhD, CNMT
June 22 | 8:30 a.m. (Campus Expectations & Class Information)
Allen College Students,
Allen College is committed to provide a safe campus for all students, faculty and staff. As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have several requirements in place to allow for a return to on-campus classes/labs/simulation which mitigates against the possible spread of COVID-19 across campus. These requirements are to protect you, and those around you. I get it, these requirements are inconvenient and may seem trivial but we have several people on campus who are at much higher risk for significant complications if they contract COVID-19 and quite frankly are terrified of getting sick. You may feel invincible, but the person you are walking past in the hallway or sitting next to may not.
My observations over the last week have been that an increasing numbers of students are not following our campus requirements and you are unnecessarily putting yourselves and those around you at a higher risk.
I am making clear to everyone, students, faculty and staff, if you are in a common area of campus (e.g., not in a classroom/lab), you MUST:
- Wear a face covering (mask, shield, bandana, etc.). Remember, face coverings are effective at protecting those around you.
- If you eat lunch on campus, do not sit within 6 foot of another person since you will not be wearing a face covering.
- Do not gather in areas where you cannot maintain a 6 foot buffer between yourself and your neighbor. This includes the patio or outside seating areas.
- Do not rearrange the tables and chairs for lunches/study groups (they are specifically set to promote social distancing).
As future healthcare workers, I hope you understand the significance of this. Be a campus leader and follow these requirements and be vocal with your classmates who are not following the requirements. Everyone’s ability (or inability) to follow these safety requirements directly affects our campus’ approach to on-campus activity as we move into the fall semester.
Thank you for your diligence on following our requirements!
Jared D. Seliger, PhD, CNMT
May 28 | 1:40 p.m. (Campus Expectations & Class Information)
Allen College Students,
This provides guidance for a campus COVID-19 update as we move into the summer semester.
We are beginning the process of resuming campus operations and are doing so in a manner that accounts for the health and safety of all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. Resuming campus operations means that we are considering all of our options for classes, labs/simulation and clinical/fieldwork. We are depending on everyone to abide by the guidelines set forth below which will allow us to start resuming campus operations safely.
The expectations for all faculty, staff and students are to be responsible and follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on preventing the spread of COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
Per the CDC guidelines you should:
- stay home if you are sick or have a fever
- frequently wash/sanitize your hands
- cover your mouth when sneezing/coughing
- maintain a minimum of a 6-foot distance between yourself and others
Additionally, all team members, students and visitors on Allen College’s campus are required to wear a face mask when in any common area of campus and/or in situations where a 6-foot distance cannot be maintained. Common areas are defined as any spaces that can be accessible by faculty/staff/students without restrictions. These spaces may include, but are not limited to, hallways, Winter Hall Atrium, the Student Center, break rooms, restrooms, etc.
Everyone is encouraged to bring your own face mask. Cloth face masks are acceptable or if you do not have a face mask, disposable masks will be available at the Winter Hall and McElroy Hall entrances. If you see someone who is not wearing a mask or not following the above guidance, it is your responsibility to address the situation or signal an Allen College team member who can address the situation.
Face masks are not required in spaces where people can isolate themselves.
When you come to campus for any activity, you will be screened for symptoms prior to being allowed entry onto campus. Currently, you can be screened at the Winter Hall and McElroy Hall entrances. All other campus entrances are locked from entry (you can still exit from all locations) to ensure everyone gets screened. It is recommended to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your campus activity to ensure you have enough time to move through the screening process.
Campus Social Distancing
When arriving for approved face-to-face (F2F) classes/labs/simulation, after you are screened you are to go directly to the classroom/lab where the session is being held. You may only leave the classroom to use the restroom and must leave campus at the conclusion of your session. You will not be allowed to gather in any common areas prior or post class, and group study sessions on campus are prohibited. You may study individually on campus and use the computer lab, the Library, and/or available study spaces (e.g. Louviere Study Room) as long as you are studying by yourself and have a minimum of 6 feet between yourself and others. The measures are intended to minimize any potential group gatherings. If you are not following these guidelines, you will be asked to leave campus.
Allen College is proud of its clean and beautiful campus. Our cleaning processes are compliant with CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Additional cleaning supplies and solution is provided in common areas, classrooms and reception areas for the convenience and safety of wiping down surfaces before/after use. This practice will be available for the foreseeable future and is in addition to the continuous cleaning done by the College Environmental Services (EVS) staff. If additional cleaning cloths and solution are needed, please signal an EVS team member.
Currently, the College’s Leadership is evaluating each course, including labs and simulation, to return to its scheduled delivery format on a case-by-case basis. Please note that returning to classes/labs/simulation will not be held in the same manner as they were prior to COVID-19. We will be practicing social distancing and incorporating protective measures to ensure everyone’s safety.
Specific details about the format of how classes/labs/simulation are being offered will be, or may already have been, communicated directly by your program’s faculty.
We have been working very diligently with all of our clinical/fieldwork agencies on getting a return to those settings. Our prominent partners, UnityPoint Health and MercyOne are accepting students back into the hospital settings in June, but with some restrictions and requirements for students. Other agencies are not taking students back until later this summer and we are working through all scenarios to ensure you get the clinical/fieldwork experiences necessary for your program.
Your program faculty will communicate with you the specifics of your clinical/fieldwork experiences and the PPE and other requirements for the site you will be attending.
I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through all of the requirements necessary to operate in a COVID-19 environment. I will continue to provide updates as we continue to adapt our operations to accommodate all of the requirements to ensure everyone’s safety. All of these requirements are subject to change and any changes will be communicated with you.
If you have any questions, please talk to your program director/program leadership first and if you still have additional questions, please contact the Dean of your school or me. Thank you for choosing Allen College for your healthcare education!
Jared D. Seliger, PhD, CNMT
April 3 | 11 a.m.
All didactic classes online through end of spring semester.
With the extension of the social distancing guidelines set forth by the Federal government until at least April 30, the College’s Leadership team has decided to extend the delivery of face-to-face didactic courses to an online format through the end of the spring semester. As of now, we will continue holding some labs/sim on campus in groups of 10 or less. For specific questions, student should contact your course faculty or program leadership first and they may direct you for additional information.
We are also going to withhold clinical/fieldwork rotations until at least April 17. This does NOT include students who have exceptions to currently be in clinical. Again, this is a situation that may change, especially for specific academic programs. In the event that our circumstances change with our major clinical/fieldwork partners and the restrictions of having students in clinical relaxes prior to April 17, the academic program’s leadership or clinical/fieldwork coordinator will communicate directly to students.
May 8 Commencement is cancelled.
Dear Allen College Community –
I am very sorry to announce that the spring commencement exercises scheduled on May 8 for Allen College have been cancelled. I know this news will cause a very emotional response and I sympathize with everyone affected by this decision. Commencement is a time to celebrate with family and friends on the completion of academic degrees. Even considering the symbolism of what commencement means, it does not outweigh the safety of our graduates, families, faculty and staff. With the uncertainty surrounding the relaxation of social distancing and group size requirements, I was left no choice but to make this difficult decision.
Even though commencement will not occur on May 8, our team at Allen College is working diligently on some alternative approaches to celebrate our graduates and make May 8 as special as we can. On May 8, we will have a virtual commencement that will provide recognition for each of our graduates. This will be provided directly to all graduates as well as being shared through the Allen College social media pages. Graduates will still have the option of getting the graduation regalia, pin, honor cords, diploma cover, etc. All May graduates will have the option to participate in the summer graduation ceremony scheduled for August 14, 2020 at 3 p.m. at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls. Specific details regarding these options will be provided to the graduating students.
Even in the face of adversity and disappointment, we need to look for the good that arises from this situation. The class of 2020 is possibly the most critical group of graduates who have ever graduated from Allen College. So many people have been affected by this pandemic and the demand for healthcare workers has probably never been higher in the history of our country. The legacy of the class of 2020 will not be measured by what occurred during a two-hour ceremony; rather, it will be measured by the countless lives our graduates will serve for people who are in a desperate time of need.
I am proud of our campus and everyone associated with Allen College and UnityPoint Health on how we have responded in the face of this crisis.
I will continue to provide updates as we get closer to the end of the semester.
New process for campus screening
McElroy Hall is no longer a screening location and all students must be screened at Winter Hall before going anywhere else on campus. Anyone coming to campus will not be allowed to enter the facility if their temperature is 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. This has been lowered from the previous threshold of 100.4 degrees.
Our campus facility hours have also changed until further notice. They are Monday – Thursday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Check our website for facility hours updates at https://www.allencollege.edu/campus-facility-hours.aspx
Thank you for your patience as we work through this process.
March 23 | 7 p.m.
Dear Allen College Community –
I have some very important information to share with everyone. I was just notified that UnityPoint Health has made the decision to suspend all clinical/fieldwork activities across the system through Friday, April 3, 2020. Further information will be forthcoming from UPH Leadership this afternoon. As a result of this decision, Allen College will suspend all clinical/fieldwork activities at all sites for all programs through April 3, 2020.
We will continue with offering our classes in an online format beginning Monday, March 30. The College’s Leaders will continue to evaluate options to provide the necessary learning opportunities for students to complete the requirements for their programs. We have been in contact with the programmatic accrediting agencies and/or certification examination agencies on options to ensure we are meeting their requirements.
Students, your Program Director or Program Leadership will be providing you with specific information about the plan to address this delay in clinical/fieldwork rotations, online classes and labs/simulation. Students are to reach out to your course faculty for specific information related to your coursework. We will do everything in our power to minimize the impact on our campus. I really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate through this very complex situation.
I will be in touch when I have more information to share.
Jared D. Seliger, PhD, CNMT
March 17 | 1 p.m.
Dear Allen College Community –
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single college faculty member, staff member, and student across the country and unfortunately, we are no exception. The College’s Leadership Team places the safety of our entire campus as the ultimate priority when making decisions on how we are going to proceed. In addition, we are dependent upon so many healthcare organizations to deliver exceptional clinical or fieldwork experiences and we need to consider their needs so they are able to effectively treat our friends and neighbors from our communities who have contracted this virus.
After carefully considering our options, we are going to proceed as follows:
- Spring break is being extended until Friday, March 27, 2020 for students. All classes (including face-to-face, hybrid and online), labs/simulation, and clinical/fieldwork are cancelled for all programs until March 27. Allen College faculty and staff will be provided additional information about preparing to resume classes. All students need to refrain from coming to campus until instructed otherwise.
- Classes, labs/simulation, and clinical/fieldwork will resume on March 30, 2020.
- All didactic classes will be delivered fully online only. More information related to the delivery of the classes will be forthcoming. Individual programs will work with their Academic Leaders on how the courses will be delivered. It is likely that the course delivery will vary between programs.
- Face-to-face lab meetings and simulation will continue face-to-face. Before entering campus, all students coming for labs/simulation will be screened for symptoms. The specific process for screenings will be communicated before March 30.
- Clinicals/fieldwork is also set to resume on March 30. While we have over 200 organizations we partner with for these experiences and it is impossible to list the requirements for each site, the College’s academic and programmatic leaders will inform students of specific requirements for each site. It is likely things will change significantly before March 30 and we will continue to deliver information as it becomes available. Students need to contact the clinical/fieldwork faculty or Academic Leadership with questions.
- Conducting all didactic classes online will continue through at least April 10. Extending the didactic course delivery online is a possibility and a decision will be made to provide adequate time for faculty to prepare their class sessions.
- The current plan is to not extend the length of the semester beyond the original end date of May 8. It is understood that different programs have different requirements for competencies, clinical hours, learning outcomes, etc. and I would encourage anyone with questions to contact their academic leader for additional information.
- Allen College will remain “open” from the standpoint that we will provide our services like academic advising, financial aid, admission/registrar, and the library will continue to be staffed. Again, additional information will be provided to the campus on how these services can be accessed.
- All Allen College faculty and staff are expected to continue to work and will be provided additional instructions from their Leader to ensure we are meeting the students’ needs.
In addition to moving our didactic classes online, several other measures have been put in place to keep our campus safe. The campus is closed for any non-Allen College/UnityPoint Health individuals. All non-essential meetings have been cancelled. Academic Leadership will evaluate committee meetings and may cancel additional meetings. All student meetings (e.g., ASNA, ASRO, Student Ambassadors, etc.) will not be allowed to meet face-to-face. Virtual meetings for student organizations may still be held. Student Organization leaders need to work with the faculty/staff advisors to facilitate virtual meetings.
Several campus events have been cancelled or postponed. For a complete list of event cancellations/postponements, please visit the Allen College website. I know that graduation is on most peoples’ minds right now. As of right now, no decisions have been made about graduation on May 8. All efforts will be made to preserve the ceremony; however, we will abide by local/state/federal recommendations about the size of gatherings. We are making provisional plans if we cannot hold our ceremony on May 8 and that will be communicated when there is more clarity.
Email will continue to be the primary method of communication about our campus plans. Official updates will be provided either from UnityPoint Health or myself. We do have a dedicated page on our website related to COVID-19. This page will be updated frequently. You can access the COVID-19 information on the main page, https://www.allencollege.edu, it is the first rotating banner and the first link under the “headlines” section. Any information shared on the website will be communicated via email.
As previously communicated, everyone is expected to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for hygiene and staying home when not feeling well. Faculty, staff and students who do decide to come to campus but are showing signs of any illness may be asked to leave immediately. We all have an obligation to take care of each other.
With this week being spring break, I know several people are travelling. Anyone who travels will likely be screened before being allowed to return to work or classes/lab/clinical. I expect more information to be provided by UnityPoint Health within the next few days and that will be disseminated when available.
Finally, I want to share how incredibly proud I am of everyone on our campus. This is an unprecedented situation and we are being creative and innovative to fulfill our mission in light of circumstances that are beyond our control. We have a remarkable team and we are all making contributions to a truly defining moment in Allen College’s legacy. Thank you to everyone, I appreciate everything!
As always, I will continue to provide updates and encourage anyone to reach out with questions. Team members should contact their Leader, and students should contact the appropriate department for which their question refers (i.e. financial aid, registrar’s office, faculty or dean for class or clinical information, etc.).
Jared D. Seliger, PhD, CNMT