COVID-19 Planning and Information
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Duquesne University Master Plan to Reopen Campus 2020-2021

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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 29, 2021

We all have many questions right now. We have put together this list library of Frequently Asked Questions to help bring more clarity during this confusing time. Browse our FAQs below. If you have any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Campus Operations

Once on campus, all employees will be required to follow social distancing protocols and other practices to optimize safety as more fully described in TAP 60: Employee Rules Related to Returning to Campus During COVID-19 Pandemic.

The University will provide each department with an initial supply of Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing products to be used by employees. However, all employees should have their own cloth masks or appropriate face coverings, hand sanitizer, and other essential safety materials to preserve the University’s supply of these essential materials. Departments will be responsible for securing additional supplies, as necessary, through the Purchasing Department.

For questions regarding the appropriate use of PPE, including face coverings, contact Paula Sweitzer, Director, Environmental Health and Safety, x4763

Employees should limit movement on campus, use teleconferencing platforms to conduct meetings whenever possible.

Employees should be mindful of social distancing in small spaces such as elevators, hallways, stairwells and restrooms, and adhere to all campus signage.

Employees should eat in locations that allow for appropriate social distancing (e.g., outdoors, in an office with the door closed, etc.). Dining services will not operate prior to the start of the semester, and will operate differently such that employees should consider arrangements for any meals consumed during the work period.

The use of shared refrigerators, coffee pots, water coolers, vending machines, and the like will be eliminated or extremely limited.

Yes. Facilities Management has prepared buildings for re-entry:

  • All building spaces (including offices and classrooms) have been cleaned and sanitized.
  • Each building ventilation system has been inspected and is working at maximum capacity to introduce fresh outside air into the building.
  • All water systems have been flushed.

Signage with general and building specific guidance has been placed in areas such as restrooms, elevators, entryways and exits, stairwells, and hallways. Plexiglas safety barriers have been installed in areas with close in-person interaction.

Maybe. Departments are encouraged to flex work schedules, stagger work hours, and stagger arrival and departure times as much as possible to ensure social distancing. Because these decisions will be made per department, employees will be notified by their vice president, dean, or director of any changes to their work schedule.

Maybe. Facilities Management will work with vice presidents, deans and directors to adjust furniture and office layout as needed to allow for social distancing. Examples include:

  • Arranging desks or furniture to maximize space within offices, office suites, or other work areas and lounges or public spaces.
  • Relocating some employees to alternate spaces or larger spaces, if possible.
  • Using partitions or Plexiglas dividers in areas with high foot traffic, such as customer service or information desks.

Facilities Management will focus on cleaning and disinfecting entryways, restrooms, classrooms, public spaces, lobby and reception areas, and other similar high traffic areas. Specialty cleaning should be scheduled through a FAMIS work request.

COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Information continues to evolve as scientists learn more about the virus and vaccines. However, the spread of misinformation, especially on social media, often makes it difficult to separate myths from facts. It is critical that people get the most current and accurate information available from trusted sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Use the Pennsylvania Department of Health tool to determine if it is your turn to receive the vaccine:

Pennsylvania is prioritizing the order in which individuals are vaccinated to ensure that those in most critical need are vaccinated first. Duquesne University will begin vaccinating individuals over the age of 65 and and then move to those who are aged 16-64 with high-risk health conditions after those over 65 have been vaccinated.


  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 or 2.
  • Emergency Medical Service personnel
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Assistants
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Chiropractors
  • Therapists
  • Phlebotomists
  • Pharmacists
  • Technicians
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Health professions students and trainees
  • Direct support professionals
  • Clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities
  • Contractual HCP not directly employed by the health care facility
  • Also includes other personnel working in health care settings such as clergy, food services, environmental services, patient transport and other persons not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease among or from health care personnel and patients.

Persons should not receive the vaccine if they have severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, to any component of the vaccine, other vaccine or injectable therapy. Please consult your primary care physician or allergist to determine if it is safe for you to receive.

Persons with a history of allergic reactions (any severity) not related to vaccines, injectable therapies, components of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, or polysorbates, such as latex, food (including eggs or gelatin), pet, venom, environmental allergies or oral medications may receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Persons currently isolated with COVID-19 or quarantined following exposure should wait until cleared from isolation or quarantine to receive vaccination. It is safe to receive the vaccine after recovering from COVID-19.

Persons who have recovered following COVID-19 are encouraged to receive the vaccine for additional protection against possible reinfection in the future.

Persons who received monoclonal antibody infusion or convalescent plasma therapy as part of their treatment must defer vaccination until 90 days after receiving the treatment.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women will be offered the vaccine. However, DU recommends making an informed decision after reviewing the risk and benefit of receiving the vaccine with your physician.

Persons who participated in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial may not be candidates to receive the vaccine from DU. Contact the study coordinator to learn if you received vaccine or placebo and if the study trial will be offering vaccine to placebo recipients. If the study will not be offering vaccine to placebo recipients, DU will provide you with a vaccine. Do not receive a vaccine from DU if you received active vaccine as part of a clinical trial.

We are currently scheduling for dose 1 vaccination only. Doses are allocated and distributed to vaccination providers based on first doses administered, therefore it is recommended that you receive dose 2 from the location that you received dose 1. This will also ensure you are receiving the same vaccine product.

We understand your desire to vaccinate members of your family.  Due to limited availability, Duquesne University vaccine distribution is currently limited to faculty, staff and students. All eligible persons are encouraged to seek vaccination by visiting:

Duquesne will administer either the Moderna or Pfizer product as we are allotted vaccine doses from the PA Department of Health.

Once receipt of the vaccination and supplies are confirmed at Duquesne University, you will receive an invitation to schedule a vaccination via an email notification from SONA. Individuals over 65 years of age and those in active clinical rotations will be prioritized first followed by the remaining individuals in 1A

When it is your turn you will be notified via the SONA system based on availability of vaccines. A communication from SONA will be sent to the first group of employees that are eligible as part of Phase 1A—those age 65 or greater.  This communication will ONLY go to this group and will outline next steps to sign up.  Following vaccinating those individuals, we will move to healthcare personnel followed by employees under age 65 who qualify for Phase 1A with high-risk health conditions.  If you are under age 65 with a high -risk health condition, you will receive a communication after we have vaccinated all employees who are 65 and older and healthcare personnel. If you are able to get the vaccination from any other source, please sign up to receive the vaccine at the first available option as Duquesne is allotted a limited supply.

It is your responsibility to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria via the PA DOH Your Turn Tool. When Duquesne reaches this group you will be notified via SONA. If you determine you are eligible, you may sign up.

The Power Center Ballroom by appointment only.

Duquesne Testing

Any University student or employee who is physically present on campus in any capacity is eligible for Duquesne’s Testing Program, including individuals who only come to campus for amenities like the Power Center and the Library. Testing is required for all students and highly encouraged for employees.

Individual accounts can only sign up for the account holder.

Testing is strongly encouraged, but not required, for employees who are on campus in any capacity.

Yes. Duquesne’s Testing Program is only available for asymptomatic individuals who have no reason to believe they have contracted the virus. Do not come to a testing clinic if you are experiencing symptoms.

Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact the Center for Pharmacy Care at 412.396.2155 ASAP for instruction. If you are in quarantine, you are exempt from surveillance testing until the time of quarantine has elapsed.

Duquesne is using a platform called SONA to facilitate test scheduling, test-result tracking and other testing-related communications. All individuals should access the SONA Covid-19 Clinic registration page and log in using their DORI multipass credentials. You will be able to view available testing time slots and schedule your appointment.

All individuals should access the SONA Covid-19 Clinic registration page and log in using their DORI multipass credentials. You will be able to view available testing time slots and schedule your appointment.

No, participants are not required to keep the same day and time every two weeks. SONA will have different “clinics” scheduled, each of which covers a two-week period. Participants should sign up one time per clinic. To ensure an active result at all times, schedule tests 10-14 days apart. The University will refer to the number of days since the last test to monitor an individual’s participation and will flag students who are not participating.

You can change your appointment time up to 24 hours before your scheduled appointment. Remember that every participant must sign up for a test in EACH two-week period (“clinic”). Visit the SONA User Guide for information on how to change an appointment.

There should be more than enough time slots available to accommodate all students and employees.  However, capacity is limited, so it is best to schedule early to secure your preferred time slot. Email if there is a problem.

Individuals should report for registration and check-in at the Genesius Theater for testing.

The University is utilizing the Abbot BinaxNOWTM COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test via a nasal swab format, similar to the Everlywell at-home kits provided for exit and re-entry testing.

The appointment should take about 15 minutes for both check-in and testing. Individuals are asked to arrive as close to their appointment time as possible. To maintain COVID safety protocols, walk-ins are not permitted.

You are required to be wearing a mask and will need your Duquesne ID.

You will receive an “excused no show” result if you do not show up for your appointment, and will be required to reschedule within the same clinic.

You should have a result by the end of the day of your test. You will be contacted via phone within one hour in the event of a positive result and contacted by email within 24 hours in the event of a negative result. Positive results require additional follow-up testing, so these communications will be prioritized first. 

It is important that you are reachable by phone for at least an hour after the test in case follow-up communication is required based on your test result.

Individuals can access test results (“status”) through SONA. For more information on navigating the platform, visit the SONA User Guide.

The Abbot BinaxNOWTM COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test includes a sensitivity of 97.1% and specificity of 98.5%.

The nurse manager, who will directly contact individuals with a positive test result, will have access. All testing staff are HIPAA-certified and only see results according to ‘need to know.’

Employees who get tested will be managed by the Center for Pharmacy Care and the Office of Human Resources. Protected health information will not be shared outside of existing protocols. Other parties who may see your results are Duquesne Health Services, the Center for Pharmacy Care and those who see the mandatory reporting to the state. All internal parties have completed Duquesne’s HIPAA training.

Before getting your results via email from SONA, you will receive a call and/or text from the clinic nurse manager who will talk to you about next steps. For employees, the Center for Pharmacy Care will be notified as well as Andrea Berestecky in Human Resources, but you will also need to report to your Primary Care Physician.

IMPORTANT: It is essential that you remain reachable via phone for at least an hour after your test appointment.

Health Services is testing symptomatic individuals or those who have been in contact with a positive person. Duquesne’s Testing Program is meant to help monitor the presence or prevalence of COVID-19 on campus in the population that makes up our campus and is strictly for asymptomatic individuals.

Do not come to a testing clinic if you are experiencing symptoms.

Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact the Center for Pharmacy Care at 412.396.2155 ASAP for instruction.

You may not substitute third party results.

Testing is free for participants; the University will not collect your insurance information. Duquesne is covering the costs of every test.

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testing should resume 90 days after initial diagnosis. If you have tested positive, you won’t need to participate in surveillance testing for the remainder of the semester.

Monitoring the campus population includes vaccinated individuals.

Monitoring the campus population includes vaccinated individuals.

Clinic volunteers have the option to test on arrival or departure every time they volunteer.

Please email with any questions.

Employee Return to Work

The University’s primary objective is to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, while carrying out its mission of serving God by serving students, through delivery of a high quality educational experience. Continuity of operations and flexibility are also key principles that have framed the University’s decision-making.

The University will therefore rely on a four-phase approach to reopening: Preparations to Reopen, Initial Reopening, Sustained Reopening and Return to Normalcy. Each of these phases will involve returning different types and numbers of employees to campus.

After surveying all faculty and/or staff in their department, vice presidents, deans and directors will determine which positions should return to campus based on the nature of their work and any risk factors. They will determine individual work schedules and arrangements that support the University’s mission, protect employees and maintain social distancing. They will also consider arrangements such as continued teleworking, flexible work schedules, staggered work hours and rotations of telework and on-campus work to maintain appropriate physical distancing.

Additionally, before notifying employees of their return date, vice presidents, deans and directors will ensure that work spaces can support appropriate distancing and cleaning protocols and that appropriate protective equipment and cleaning supplies are available.

Employees will receive a communication from their vice president, dean, or director regarding their anticipated date of return to on-campus work, their work schedule, and any other arrangements.

Yes. Prior to returning to campus, all employees are required to complete COVID-19 competencies that reinforce required safety practices for everyone on campus, including the following:

Additional instructional materials may be produced and required for all employees, as circumstances change and additional guidance from government officials is made available. Updates may be provided by Duquesne University Official Communication, the Office of the President, the Office of Human Resources or in the Duquesne University Times.

Health, Safety and Prevention

Yes. Employees must wear cloth masks or other appropriate face coverings in public spaces and any time they cannot maintain a safe physical distance from others. Masks or other face coverings may only be removed when employees can maintain a safe physical distance from others such as while working alone in an office.

Yes, the University will provide a supply of non-medical masks to each department, to be worn by employees as required while on campus. Employees are encouraged, however, to wear their own re-usable cloth masks, in order to preserve supplies for others. View the simple instructions for masks.

If you have a medical condition that affects your ability to wear a mask or other face covering and you wish to request an accommodation, you must contact the University’s Office of Disability Services,, extension 6658.

Yes. Employees will be required to conduct a daily health screen each morning prior to leaving their residence. The Daily Health Screen questions are available on the University App and in Dori for all employees to access.

The screening will include taking one’s own temperature. The screening questions will be provided to employees:

Chart of screening questions

Employees who participate in any higher-risk environments (e.g. faculty participating in clinical rotations) may have additional monitoring and assessment requirements imposed through their program or Department.

An employee who answers “yes” to any of the symptoms on the daily health screen should contact their primary care physician/health care provider for consultation and follow the advice that is provided. Telemedicine is highly recommended for this purpose. They should not report to work unless and until approved to do so by their health care provider, and should contact their supervisor.

“Close contact” means you have been less than six feet away from the person for 15 minutes or longer within two days of the confirmed positive test. Any employee who becomes aware that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not report to work and immediately contact their primary care physician/health care provider for consultation and follow the advice that is provided. They also should advise their supervisor of any need to quarantine or isolate.

Employees are responsible for keeping their supervisor aware of any health-realted absences they may have to ensure that their work can be covered by another individual. Faculty must notify their program director, department chair and/or dean of potential absences to ensure that courses can be covered and students can be notified. Faculty should not cancel classes without notifying their department chair and/or dean of their absence.

Employees who are part of a vulnerable population as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and who are concerned about returning to campus should contact their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources, Melody Cook, to discuss any potential work modifications.

Employees can protect themselves and others through taking the following measures:

  • Practice social distancing: maintain at least a six-foot distance from others, stay away from those who are sick, limit movement and avoid public spaces and large, crowded gatherings. Social distancing is critical to protecting everyone.
  • Practice good, basic hygiene: wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; cough/sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve; avoid close contact with those who are sick; and stay home when you are sick.
  • Know when and how to wash hands and use sanitizer.
  • Wear a cloth mask or appropriate face covering in public settings.
  • Take steps to lower risk at meetings and events, including holding video- or tele-conference meetings, modifying in-person interactions and maintaining a 6-foot distance.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, be sure to follow all instructions provided by your testing/health care provider, and immediately contact your supervisor as well as the Office of Human Resources (

If you have no symptoms, you may not return to campus until 10 days have passed since you took the test. If you have symptoms, you may not return to campus until you are symptom-free, at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared, and you have had no fever without using fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours. Employees must follow TAP policies referenced in TAP No. 15 and TAP No. 23 and obtain medical clearance before returning to on campus work.

Contact tracing will be conducted by the proper government health authorities. In addition, the Office of Human Resources will contact you to find out if any co-workers are considered to be "close contacts," defined as someone who was less than 6 feet from a confirmed case for 15 minutes or more within the past 2 days.

If you have tested negative for COVID-19, be sure to continue to conduct a daily health screen each morning prior to leaving your residence. If you develop symptoms on a later date or answer “yes” to any of the symptoms on the daily health screen, you should contact your primary care physician/health care provider for consultation and follow the advice that is provided.

When HR is notified that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, HR will gather a list of individuals who have been in “close contact” with the employee who has tested positive. “Close contact” means someone who was less than six feet away, for 15 minutes or longer, from someone who tested positive, during the two days prior to the test. If you are identified as having been in “close contact” with an employee who has tested positive, HR will contact you and provide you with additional directives regarding symptom monitoring and when to contact your healthcare provider. The identity of the individual who tested positive will not be disclosed.

As a confirmed “close contact,” you must quarantine and contact your healthcare provider and follow their instructions. It is recommended to quarantine for 14 days but quarantine may end early if the following conditions are met:

  1. If a person performs careful monitoring and does not develop any symptoms, quarantine time may be reduced to ten days.
  2. If there are sufficient local testing resources, the person performs careful daily monitoring and does not develop symptoms, and then tests negative for the virus, quarantine can end after seven days.

The test should be performed on the fifth day after the exposure or later.      Quarantine cannot end before day 7. The Health Department prefers that a PCR test be used to determine if a person can leave quarantine after seven days. An individual should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for the full 14 days even if the person meets the criteria to leave quarantine early.

You should alert your supervisor or Department Head to any potential violation of TAP No. 60. If that is not feasible or appropriate, you can contact the Office of Human Resources.


A wide range of resources are available. Confidential employee assistance services are also available from the University’s employee assistance plan provider, Lytle EAP.

Wellbeing: Recreation Services

The Power Recreation Center is committed to enhancing faculty and staff wellbeing. This Fall, group fitness classes will be livestreamed and offered in person, free of charge. To facilitate mental and physical wellbeing, the recreation center will offer yoga and meditation, as well as classes promoting cardiovascular exercise and strength training.  Many courses will be recorded, allowing faculty and staff to access these classes at their convenience. All of the safety measures will be in place per University, CDC, and Pennsylvania guidelines to ensure patron safety. The full course schedule is available at Direct questions to Power Center Director, Dan McCarthy.

Inter-Divisional Wellbeing Committee

The inter-divisional wellbeing team offers many services and programs to address faculty and staff needs. The following services will be available, free of charge, in Fall 2020:

  • Faculty and Staff Support Group, facilitated by Wellbeing Counseling Services. Contact: Ian Edwards, Assistant Vice President for Student Wellbeing.
  • Weekly Wellbeing Check-In (Individual Sessions) with Campus Ministry. Director: Fr. Bill Christy, C.S.Sp., Director of Campus Ministry and University Chaplain.
  • Pastoral Counseling Check-In Sessions with Fr. Bill Christy, C.S.Sp., Director of Campus Ministry and University Chaplain ; Fr. Bill Cleary, C.S.Sp., Assistant Director of Spiritan Studies ; and Ray French, C.S.Sp., Vice-President of Mission and Identity
  • Weekly Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student Meditation with Dr. Will Adams, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides support for staff experiencing economic hardships. Call EAP 24 hours a day, every day at 1.800.EAP.7272 (1.800.327.7272).
  • Duquesne Employee Emergency Program (DEEP), housed in the Division of Mission and Identity, offers limited financial assistance to staff for short-term financial needs. Contact: Melanie Eberhardt.
  • Libermann Luncheons are open to faculty, staff, and administration. These virtual gatherings take place monthly, at noon, for prayer and “food for the soul.” Dates TBA.
  • Counseling Services created a series of wellness videos highlighting the topic of resilience. These videos, part of "Wellbeing Wednesdays," have been posted to the Counseling Services Facebook and Twitter page. Contact: Dr. Ian Edwards, Assistant Vice President for Student Wellbeing & Director of Counseling Services.

If you have additional questions, please direct them to the resources identified below.

Questions regarding face mask exemptions: Andrew Logan-Graf, Director, Disability Services, x6658

Questions regarding use of PPE: Paula Sweitzer, Director, Environmental Health & Safety, x4763 

Questions/concerns regarding potential violations of TAP No. 60 (if it is not possible/appropriate to first contact immediate Department Head): Office of Human Resources

Questions regarding the ability to work remotely (if your Supervisor is not in agreement with your request): Office of Human Resources, Melody Cook.

On-Campus Meeting and Event Guidance

The Chapel of the Holy Spirit is performing sacraments with a limit of 40 attendees, in order to achieve de-densification, and attendees must follow protocols which have been established by Campus Ministry. Wedding services will be live-streamed for guests. Large external events such as fundraisers and conferences have either been cancelled or, if possible, postponed. Internal events must be limited so that social distancing measures can be maintined. In general, rooms should not exceed 25% to 40% of the room capacity in order to de-densify. The University will establish appropriate seating capacity for each space on campus.

To the fullest extent possible, employees should continue to use Zoom and/or conference call technology. If necessary to conduct in-person meetings, meeting participants must maintain a safe physical distance from each other and wear masks or other appropriate face coverings.


All University travel for the fall semester is cancelled, except as deemed essential by the vice president in charge of each division. All employees must receive prior approval from their vice president before traveling for University-related business.

The CDC recommends that you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential, and practice social distancing, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Do not travel if you are sick and do not travel with someone who is sick.

In particular, the University discourages travel to locations that are considered by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to have high amounts of COVID-19 cases. Pennsylvania’s travel protocol is constantly changing and should be checked before making any travel arrangements. Employees may not come to campus until they have followed the state’s re-entry protocol.


Visitors to campus are strongly discouraged. Visits by individuals such as contractors, vendors, guest speakers, etc., must be approved by the relevant dean, director, or department head. Visitors must be identified and approved in advance, and will be required to check in at stations located at the Bluff Street and McAnulty entrances to campus. Visitors will be expected to follow the same safety guidelines that employees are required to follow. The University has developed procedures for visits by prospective students and their families, which will be managed by the University Enrollment Management Group, and for families of current students, which will be managed by Residence Life.