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Dear University Community,

Our top priority at Point Park University has always been to provide a healthy and safe space for students to learn and grow. Particularly during this pandemic, we want to help our students stay on track to achieve their educational goals, and make sure a top-quality education is provided.

I sent a letter on May 19 stating that national and local data regarding COVID-19 cases suggested we would be able to resume on-campus learning for the Fall 2020 semester. In that letter, I also talked about the uncertainty of the pandemic and the collective need to be flexible in our planning.

Since then, we have prepared and implemented a detailed plan for how to provide on-campus learning in the safest possible way. We did this by working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Health Department, and entered into a partnership with our expert medical providers from UPMC. We conducted numerous independent health and safety reviews on our campus.

We listened to student feedback taken after our transition to online learning in the spring, and our faculty and student support staff have been hard at work this summer using everything gleaned from that information to design courses to be delivered in multiple learning modalities based on the various circumstances we could encounter.

On July 6, we published our first edition of the Guide for On-Campus Learning and Operations, and have received a lot of questions from students, faculty and staff. And now on July 10, just a few days later, we are continuing to see an increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases each day in Allegheny County and throughout the country.

This week, as we have done every week during our planning, we have been in discussions with our expert medical providers from UPMC and the Allegheny County Health Department. As a result of those discussions, and with a top priority being the safety of our students, faculty and staff, we want to take some additional time to update our plans so that we safely reopen. This is a constantly evolving situation that requires us to continually revise our plans as needed.

By the end of next week, I will update the University community on our plans for on campus learning for the Fall term. I encourage you to watch the video we have posted on our website above and listen to Dr. Mike Parkinson, Senior Medical Director for UPMC, as he offers his assessment of the public health data and his work with Point Park University.

We look forward to answering all of your questions. Stay safe, and you’ll hear from me soon.

Paul Hennigan

July 6, 2020

Dear University community,

It is an understatement to say that the events of 2020 have posed unprecedented challenges for us all. However, it is also true that in times of great change and adversity, communities that are united by a common purpose and a strong bond are best able to adapt and thrive.

The mission of Point Park University is to provide innovative undergraduate and graduate education in a dynamic urban setting. Dedicated to academic excellence and community engagement, we prepare students of diverse backgrounds with the knowledge, skill and experience to lead meaningful lives as informed citizens and successful professionals. For our students, and for society in general, that mission has never been more timely – or important. Higher education in America plays a critical role in the ongoing advancement of society. All students have individual stories and motivations for coming to school, but most undergraduate students go to college to prepare themselves to get jobs and start their professional careers or to enhance existing careers. Graduate students want to learn more and contribute more. Doctoral students want to research and implement solutions to societal issues. We cannot pause the enterprise even during a pandemic. We must find the path forward to continually provide educational opportunities to improve our communities and serve our professions. This is a challenge for all of us, but we will work together to figure this out. This is what education is all about; finding solutions to our current challenges. At Point Park, we are up to the challenge, and we invite you to join us in the pursuit of your educational and career goals.

I’m proud to say that Point Park has built a strong community, united by our common mission. We are ready and eager to welcome our students, faculty and staff members back to campus for the fall 2020 semester, while working together to ensure the highest level of health and safety for all. In navigating a path forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraordinary circumstances, our guiding purpose has been to provide an environment where the entire University community can be safe and continue to thrive.

Our plan for providing high quality on-campus and remote learning for the 2020-21 academic year is the result of extensive contingency modeling, which will enable the University to adapt quickly to the changing parameters of the pandemic. We have established a partnership with expert health professionals at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and have incorporated input from state and local public health experts. In the months ahead, we will continue to adhere to the best scientific and governmental guidance, including multiple protocols. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, as well as expanded guidelines for campus living and learning, have been designed to promote the health and safety of our University community.

In this guide, you will find details about all aspects of our plan for living, learning and working at Point Park effective July 6, 2020. It’s important to note that the content will be revised periodically due to changes in circumstances. Each update will include a new effective date and will be communicated to the University community via email. By adapting our plan as needed, we will ensure that our students, faculty and staff continue to thrive. Each member of our community is essential to creating the Point Park experience in its deepest, most vibrant sense. We look forward to continuing on-campus instruction for our students, who are eager to continue learning on our lively and safe Downtown Pittsburgh campus.

These may be uncertain times, but our mission is clear and our Pioneer spirit is stronger than ever. By working together and supporting each other, we will meet and surpass each and every challenge today and in the future.
Warm regards,

Paul Hennigan,