Colleges extend winter breaks amid outbreak
Universities make effort to curb COVID-19 spread
Area colleges and universities have extended their winter breaks to mitigate student travel during the holidays.
Penn State Altoona, Saint Francis University, Mount Aloysius College and Juniata College adjusted their fall schedules earlier this year in preparation for an expected surge in cases now. Each will be closing dorms earlier than in previous years and using virtual learning.
“We did this purposefully because we didn’t want students going home for Thanksgiving and returning to campus,” said Erin McCloskey, Saint Francis assistant vice president for communications and marketing.
Each college/university spokesperson said that as in previous years, students may be allowed to stay on campus on a case-by-case basis — including students who may be in the middle of quarantine or isolation.
The colleges and universities differed in policies on allowing students to return home during isolation. Mount Aloysius and Juniata College said students are allowed to return home if the situation is deemed safe enough to do so, for example, if the student has a car and lives within driving distance.
Saint Francis said it would not send a student home in isolation. Penn State Altoona said it “strongly encourages” students to complete quarantine or isolation on campus or at “another suitable single-occupancy space off campus.”
Mirror Staff Writer Dom Cuzzolina is at 814-946-7428.
Universities adjust schedules
Penn State Altoona
Penn State Altoona will begin full-time virtual instruction on Nov. 20 until Dec. 11. Final exams will be done virtually from Dec. 14-17. Students will then return on Jan. 17.
Saint Francis University
Saint Francis rearranged its finals week so that it falls before Thanksgiving — starting Nov. 22 until Nov. 25. Winter break will be from Thanksgiving until Jan. 18.
Mount Aloysius College
Mount Aloysius in-person classes will end Nov. 24. Students will then have a week of virtual finals after Thanksgiving break. The spring semester will begin on Jan. 25.
Juniata College’s last day of the fall semester is Nov. 24. Final exams will be held remotely from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4. Students are to return on Jan. 25 for the spring semester.