CSU COVID-19 Updates
Dated Updates Regarding COVID-19
Masking Recommendation Update | 8.13.2021
We’ve continued to review the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and CSU has updated the masking portion of the Fall 2021 Update, effective immediately.
Because Lackawanna County is a substantial viral transmission region at this time, wearing a mask is recommended for all individuals when indoors—regardless of vaccination status. This change to the Safe on the Summit Plan is in alignment with the masking recommendation from the CDC.
There may be certain circumstances in which masks will be required (including in the cafeteria when an individual is not seated at his or her table). Students and employees will be made aware of other similar circumstances if needed.
As we care for the health and safety of our students, employees and community, we continue to monitor developments and recommendations from the CDC, and Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education. Please check CSU’s website frequently. The Safe on the Summit plan will continually be reviewed and updated on this portion of the website.
Please email coronaresponse@ClarksSummitU.edu with questions or concerns.
Safe on the Summit Fall 2021 Update | 8.6.2021
Clarks Summit University is looking forward to welcoming students to on-campus classes for the Fall 2021 semester in just a few weeks! As we care for the health and safety of our students, employees and community, we continue to monitor developments and recommendations from the CDC, and Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education. Please check CSU’s website frequently. Because guidance changes frequently, the Safe on the Summit plan will continually be reviewed and updated to align to the latest guidance.
Developments in Pennsylvania since the spring semester ended include Governor Tom Wolf’s lifting of the mask mandate on July 28, 2021. As of July, 2021, 77 percent of adult residents in PA and 56 percent of adult residents in Lackawanna County have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. CSU will continue to collaborate with local and PA state public health authorities and continually review recommendations and respond to requirements to keep our campus and community healthy.
CSU is not requiring students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. If Pennsylvania or another official agency requires student vaccinations in the future, CSU will need to abide by those requirements. At this time, the commonwealth and CDC recommend students receive the vaccine, but it is not required.
CSU does encourage all eligible students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated, since it is the most effective way to prevent getting COVID-19 and for diminishing its symptoms when infected (with lower rates of serious symptoms, hospitalizations and deaths).
At CSU, fully vaccinated individuals can opt out of using Healthy Roster and have the option of masking as they wish. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after their first dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. In the Safe on the Summit Plan, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are considered unvaccinated. In addition, those who do not disclose their vaccine status will follow all policies or procedures for those who are not fully vaccinated.
Because our county is in a moderate viral transmission region, individuals who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask indoors. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should also practice physical distancing of at least six feet from other people.
Anyone who chooses to wear a mask, whether fully vaccinated or not, is free to do so and must not be shamed, pressured or intimidated for doing so.
The masking policy will be adjusted if changes in the viral transmission rate of our region requires it.
PERSONAL HEALTH & HYGIENE
Everyone in the CSU community will be expected to follow the recommendations for personal hygiene to limit the spread of COVID-19, including washing hands regularly, cleaning well and sanitizing high-touch areas often.
CSU will continue to have quarantine and isolation areas on campus to quickly limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Please see “Care and Containment for Sick Students” for more information.
Students will continue to have access to Swift MD, which provides online appointments with physicians at no personal cost to the student.
To monitor health and quickly respond to instances of COVID-19 in the campus community, CSU will utilize Healthy Roster for health checks for students, employees and on-campus residents who are not fully vaccinated. This includes a daily temperature check, a daily report of exposure to anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and a daily report of COVID-19 symptoms.
Healthy Roster’s text-based symptom and contact surveys will begin going out on Monday, August 9. All students, employees and on-campus residents should begin filling it out daily on that date.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated will continue to fill out Healthy Roster surveys daily throughout the year.
Fully vaccinated individuals can choose to opt out of using Healthy Roster by sending a photo of his or her completed COVID-19 vaccination card (with social security number blocked out) to the COVID-19 administrator via email (rchastain@ClarksSummitU.edu) or phone (570-585-9326).
ENHANCED SANITIZING ACROSS CAMPUS
CSU will continue enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of facilities across campus, and Aladdin Food Service will have enhanced cleaning protocols in the Cafeteria.
CSU will continue to conduct regular COVID-19 testing as required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Colonial States Athletic Conference. Other updates from NCAA and CSAC will be announced as they are available.
Please find additional details within the pages of the Safe on the Summit Plan here on CSU’s website.
If there are instances of substantial to high transmission rates of COVID-19 on campus or in the community, CSU may, in consultation with local and state public health authorities, implement additional prevention strategies. This may include things like physical distancing and mask use indoors by all students, faculty, staff and visitors, including those who are fully vaccinated. Please continue to check CSU’s website, Schoology, student email and Remind texts for updates.
After reviewing the full Safe on the Summit Plan, please direct questions to CoronaResponse@ClarksSummitU.edu.
Updated Mask Guidance | 5.17.2021
CSU’s Safe on the Summit plan has always been based on guidance from health agencies, and we will continue to follow the most recent update from the CDC and PA Department of Health regarding masking.
Effective immediately, fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks on CSU’s campus—indoors or outdoors. Those who have not been fully vaccinated are asked to continue to follow the guidelines previously established.
Spring Update | 3.26.2021
In the best interest of keeping our students, employees and community safe, Clarks Summit University announced a period of remote learning from Friday, March 26 to Monday, April 5.
During this period, in-person classes and co-curricular activities will not take place. Classes will take place through a virtual platform, and all meetings and activities will take place remotely. This change was announced in response to rising confirmed cases and potential exposures to individuals with COVID-19.
Students and employees will continue to monitor and report symptoms and exposure daily. Current numbers reported through this monitoring system show that cases and exposures have already plateaued and are expected to fall. The university is committed to the safety of students, employees and the surrounding community as we continue to follow the Safe on the Summit Plan as detailed at ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus. Please direct questions to coronaresponse@ClarksSummitU.edu.
CSU Spring Fan Policy Announced | 3.24.2021
CSAC Update on Intercollegiate Competition | 12.21.2020
The CSAC Board of Directors announced that formal conference competition and conference championships for fall and winter sports shall be cancelled for the 2020-21 academic year.
Post-Thanksgiving Break Procedures | 11.19.2020
The PA Department of Health released a statement regarding masking and travel on November 17, 2020. You can refer to the PA Department of Health site FAQs to get further information on their expectations.
When students return to campus from Thanksgiving Break, classes will initially be held via Zoom until the campus community’s Healthy Roster results signify a safe return to in-person instruction. The switch back to in-person classes will be announced via Remind message to students and on the Schoology Hub.
Students and the campus community are strongly encouraged to continue to follow recommendations from the CDC and PA Department of Health. Please continue to follow guidance including washing hands frequently, practicing physical distancing and wearing face coverings both when you are on campus and also during breaks. Students and employees can expect to increase their use of face coverings when they return to campus after Thanksgiving break.
Please email coronaresponse@ClarksSummitU.edu with questions.
Spring 2021 Semester Schedule Updates | 11.16.2020
Like many other colleges, Clarks Summit University has adjusted the spring 2021 semester calendar to help CSU keep offering face-to-face, on-campus classes.
- On-campus classes will begin January 18, one week later than previously planned. This change allows students enough time to complete the recommended self-quarantine at home after Christmas and prior to coming back to CSU. Online classes will still start as scheduled on January 11.
- Instead of planning a week off for spring break, CSU has scheduled multiple break days throughout the semester. The change reduces risks associated with recreational spring break travel while still providing students with days off for refreshment periodically. Spring 2021 semester days off will now be February 15, March 12 and April 2–5 (Easter).
- We are NOT planning to implement the travel restrictions and activity limitations we used for the first two weeks when we returned to campus in August. Instead, all students will be required to take a COVID-19 test within five to seven days prior to their return to campus for the spring 2021 semester to establish a baseline of health. Tests must be PCR tests (rapid response tests are not permitted, as they are not reliable enough and are known for higher rates of false results). All students will be required to provide proof of that negative test result to their resident director before they will be permitted to return to campus (commuters will provide the result to their respective dean).
- To reduce risks and be proactive for student and community safety, it is recommended that all students limit their travel for 14 days prior to your arrival at CSU for the spring 2021 semester. If a student is coming from an area considered a COVID-19 hotspot, it is recommended that they self-quarantine for 14 days prior to their arrival at CSU.
- Students are required to begin using Healthy Roster daily starting one week prior to their arrival to campus for the spring 2021 semester.
Students are encouraged to be wise and follow all state and CDC guidelines while they’re away from campus during breaks.
CSAC Announcement on Fall 2020 Seasons | 7.21.2020
The Colonial States Athletic Conference Board of Directors has announced today that the conference shall suspend all intercollegiate competition for the Fall 2020 season. A final decision on the possibility of future intercollegiate competition for fall sports, including the possibility of conducting fall intercollegiate competition in Spring 2021, as well as a plan for intercollegiate competition for winter sports, will be made by the end of September.
As members of the NCAA Division III CSAC, Clarks Summit University Defenders will continue to follow the guidance and policies set by the conference, and updates will be posted as they become available.
Safe on the Summit Plan Published | 7.14.2020
CSU’s Safe on the Summit Plan in response to COVID-19 is now available at ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus.
The plan follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in order to safely welcome students and employees back to campus to deliver a biblical education in a reasonable and responsible manner.
Updates and additions will be communicated as they become available.
Safe on the Summit for Fall 2020 | 6.19.2020
In this short video, Clarks Summit University President Dr. Jim Lytle reiterates CSU’s plan to welcome on-campus students for in-person classes as scheduled for the fall 2020 semester, starting August 24.
At CSU, we care about our students’ education, relationship with Christ and their health. We also care about the greater community. That’s why we’re preparing to welcome students back to campus with a plan for their health and safety. More details will come!
Teen Leadership Conference Cancelled | 5.12.2020
The Clarks Summit University COVID-19 Response Team has been monitoring health recommendations and government regulations, and we must officially cancel Teen Leadership Conference 2020 and the corresponding National Youth Ministries Conference.
Every year, hundreds of high school students look forward to an exciting time of learning, connecting with friends and reaching out to make new friends from across the country. Youth leaders enjoy this time of ministry development and personal refreshment as they learn together with people who have a heart for teens.
However, cancelling this year’s event (the first time in TLC’s 50+ year history!) is something we need to do to keep the health and the interests of attendees, employees and the greater community in mind. It’s a practical way to submit to the authority God has put in place and a real way to demonstrate care for others.
Youth leaders and high school students are encouraged to watch past conference sessions on YouTube.
During the week that TLC was scheduled, July 13–18, 2020, messages, highlighted videos and giveaways for high school students will be on TLC’s social media.
Those who have already registered can request a refund by emailing tlc@ClarksSummitU.edu. Refunds will be processed 30 days from the cancellation request.
Our God is constant, unchanging and strong. No matter what circumstances look like, He remains faithful in His love and concern for every detail. These unexpected challenges can be used as amazing opportunities to lead and serve Him in unexpected ways.
Save the date for Teen Leadership Conference next summer: July 12–17, 2021!
Please email tlc@ClarksSummitU.edu with questions and concerns.
CSU Plans to Welcome On-Campus Students this Fall | 5.7.2020
Dr. Jim Lytle, Clarks Summit University president, announced the university’s intent to welcome on-campus students to campus in the fall. Find details in the video statment.
Defender Youth Summer Sports Camps Cancelled | 4.22.2020
In the best interest of our coaches and campers, Clarks Summit University is cancelling the Defender Basketball Camp and Big Blue Basketball camp, originally scheduled for the summer of 2020.
Planning for these events would need to be happening now. At a time when recommendations change rapidly and summer plans are uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSU Response Team and Athletic Department has decided camp cancellation is the best decision at this time.
We look forward to welcoming young athletes back on campus for sports camps in the summer of 2021!
For more about Clarks Summit University athletics, visit GoCSUDefenders.com.
LYFE Women's Conference and ManUp Announcements | 4.8.2020
Traditional On-Campus Commencement Postponed | 3.30.2020
Clarks Summit University’s traditional, on-campus Commencement will not take place as planned on Saturday, May 2. This decision to postpone the university’s largest gathering of the year is part of the efforts CSU has made to slow and limit the spread the Covid-19 pandemic.
To comply with health recommendations and gathering guidelines, 2020 Commencement will be postponed, however, plans are in place to celebrate the class of 2020 in a special, combined Commencement ceremony on May 1, 2021. All degrees earned will still be conferred to graduates at the close of the semester; diplomas will be mailed in June.
“Of course, as each day goes by, we want to see our students in person more and more. We want to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates,” says CSU president Dr. Jim Lytle. “Right now, our greater responsibility to honor God by loving our greater community and doing our part to slow this virus.”
“The CSU family – faculty, staff, board members, students, and especially the class of 2020 – has experienced a tremendous shift from what they expected this spring semester to look like,” continues Lytle. “While I’m saddened by the effects of this virus seen around the world, I’ve seen grace-filled reactions from every part of the CSU family. Even amid disappointment, we have a confident hope and peace beyond understanding that we can share with a hurting world. This graduating class is resilient, and I’m excited to see what God does to powerfully impact our world through them. For this reason, I am confident that our graduates will handle this news with hope to temper their disappointment. I’m also confident that the 2021 Commencement will be an extra special celebration to remember!”
CSU Moves On-Campus Classes Online for the Remainder of Semester | 3.20.2020
In a message to students this morning, Dr. Jim Lytle, university president, announced that all courses will be delivered in an online format through the remainder of the semester. His message is below:
On Monday morning, you are planning to start online classes. However, instead of continuing classes online for only three weeks, we now must confirm that your studies will remain online for the remainder of the semester. A decision has not been made about Commencement at this time; we will communicate as soon as any additional information becomes available.
This was not an easy decision to make. We all want you to return to the CSU community; however, in times like these, we are not called to do what we want. We are called to do what is necessary.
CSU’s Covid-19 Response Team has been aggressively monitoring developments. The stern recommendations from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and PA Department of Health continue to point to the absolute need for social distancing in order to slow and limit the spread of this virus. The mandate from the Pennsylvania Governor yesterday to close all in-person operations for “non-life-sustaining organizations” only made it increasingly apparent that stronger actions would be necessary.
As Christians, our call is clear. We need to submit to God’s authority. According to Romans 13, in times like these, we also need to submit to the governmental authority He has put in place. We also know that as Christians, we need to love our neighbors. Right now, that means doing whatever we can to care for the weak and do our part to contain this pandemic.
I know you have questions—especially, “When can I come back to campus and get my stuff?” Right now, do not return to campus. Due to the governor’s mandate, our employees are not even allowed on campus to work. When the ban is lifted and we have more information, we will communicate a plan for you to come back to campus and get your belongings.
We will miss you. Actually, we already do. We thank God for the beautiful, tight-knit community that He has nurtured here at CSU, and it saddens me to picture our beautiful campus without you here.
I know this announcement will affect some of you more than others. I welcome you to reach out to the people in our CSU community who have been there for you in the months leading up to this and who will be there for you as we go through this together.
For some who this will hit particularly hard, I invite you to talk through counseling with our deans of students, Faye More and Ted Boykin (email them to get it started). Maybe some of you are concerned about this academic transition or are looking for specific details. Please reach out to your professor or academic advisors. Each of us at CSU finds joy in helping our students succeed, and this time is no exception.
So, what do we do now? Lament the loss of our on-campus community? No, now is the time for action. It’s up to us to continue to preserve—no, build upon—this tight-knit community that we love, despite these circumstances.
Reach out. Meet needs. Listen. Love on each other. Love on your neighbors. Pray. Seek things to thank God for. Reflect on the unchanging, all-powerful nature of a God who cares immensely about you and everyone in the CSU family.
The semester is not over. Ages before you arrived at your CSU Welcome Weekend, God knew this year would be different than what we all expected. Let’s rely on Him and finish this semester—creatively, gratefully and strong.
We’re in this together.
Dr. Jim Lytle
CSU Employees Tasked to Work Remotely | 3.17.2020
Due to the most recent recommendations from the governor of Pennsylvania, the majority of Clarks Summit University employees will be working remotely to aid in social distancing, which is known to be a preventative measure for the spread of COVID-19. At this time, the plan is in place for the next two weeks. CSU continues to monitor the information provided by the CDC and government agencies and will make adjustments as necessary.
During this time, employees are still working, although most are doing so from a remote location. Dr. Jim Lytle, university president, reminds, “Clarks Summit University is still on mission; we are still working.” Employees are still reachable via their usual office phone number and email address.
The university’s Underground Café and Recreation Center are also closed at this time.
For additional questions, email CoronaResponse@ClarksSummitU.edu.
The latest updates are posted on this page (ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus)
CSU Moves On-Campus Classes to Online Until April 14 | 3.14.2020
CSU will move all current on-campus classes to online format on Monday, March 23. We anticipate resuming on-campus instruction on Tuesday, April 14. Employees will work their regular schedules, but the residence halls will be closed, and school activities will not take place. Our faculty will use this next week to move current on-campus classes online.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and on the US government, this virus is a significant problem, and closing the campus creates the social distancing that experts recommend.
We appreciate your prayers and patience as we make this transition. We want to serve you well and keep you and as many others as possible in good health.
- Please watch this video from Dr. Lytle to get additional information.
- Please stay tuned; we will be posting more answers to the additional questions you will certainly have.
As Dr. Lytle mentioned in the video, “It’s a challenge, but we can do this. Let’s pray for each another. Reach out to each other…I’m looking forward to seeing you in person again. Until then… I’m praying for you.”
CSAC Suspends Athletic Activity | 3.13.2020
Our conference, the Colonial States Athletic Conference, is suspending athletic activity. The suspension is now in effect for the conference, including all Defender teams.
Their website states: “In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Colonial States Athletic Conference Board of Directors has announced that all athletic activity shall be suspended for three weeks, starting on Friday, March 13, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020.”
We will continue to post information about CSU-related COVID-19 updates at ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus.
Extended Spring Break Release | 3.11.2020
Dear CSU Community,
Clarks Summit University intentionally emphasizes community and care for one another. CSU has been monitoring the dynamic developments released by the experts of the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and we are continually evaluating what is best for the health of our students and the greater Northeastern Pennsylvania community surrounding the school.
There are no confirmed CSU-related COVID-19 cases. However, based on the latest updates and an abundance of caution, we have decided to extend spring break one week as a preventative measure to keep the campus and community as safe as possible. This means:
- Spring break will be extended one week for on-campus classes. On-campus classes will not take place through Friday, March 20. Classes are expected to resume on Monday, March 23. (Alternative teaching methods, such as online course delivery, may be in effect at that time. Professors are equipped to move classes to an online learning format should that become necessary in the future.)
- Residence halls will be closed through Saturday, March 21 and will re-open Sunday, March 22 at noon, at the earliest. Plans are in place to help students who are unable to return or remain at home (students can find more information about this in the Schoology Hub*).
School activities, including field trips, will be cancelled through Saturday, March 21, at the earliest.
- The Recreation Center will be closed, in effect tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, through Monday, March 23 at the earliest.
- Outdoor athletic events will take place as scheduled. Indoor athletic contests will take place with no spectators.
- Offices will remain open.
- As additional action steps become necessary for the best interest of the health of students and community members, updates will be released at ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus.
At this time, research suggests that many younger people of college age may be at lower risk of serious complications resulting from COVID-19. Considering this fact alone may lead some to believe the extended break is overly cautious. However, there are valuable members of society who are high-risk from COVID-19. CSU’s administration has made these decisions for the benefit of the greater community, to limit the spread of the virus, especially for those who are vulnerable because of higher risk. Experts are in agreement that social distancing, practicing personal hygiene and avoiding large group gatherings are part of the solution. If CSU can help our students and our neighbors by taking active steps to prevent the spread of the virus, we want to do our part. We believe those who follow Christ should be the first to step up and take action to love our neighbors, and this is one way we can do just that.
Because updates are released rapidly, we will remain committed to monitoring information from experts and making decisions that are in the best interest of the health of our school and community. We are also committed to providing the best academic experience for our students, and we will ensure this continues to happen should conversion to alternate course delivery be necessary. Thank you for your flexibility.
Above all, we trust God as sovereign and loving, and we are grateful for your prayers for wisdom now and every day. Please continue to watch for more communication through ClarksSummitU.edu/coronavirus, which may add to or change the plans announced today.
James R. Lytle, D.Min.
CSU Spring Break Travel Advisory for Students and Employees | 3.5.2020
CSU Spring Break Travel Advisory—Coronavirus COVID-19
Dated: March 5, 2020
With spring break travel approaching, Clarks Summit University is asking all students and employees to give careful attention to this statement regarding travel over spring break.
Clarks Summit University is closely monitoring the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus COVID-19 and is taking steps to protect our community. In light of the recent U.S. government advisories, CSU has implemented the following measures for all students and employees:
- Any individual traveling from a Level 2 or Level 3 country for COVID-19 MUST self-quarantine off campus for 14 days upon return to the U.S. As of today (3/5/2020) the list includes China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea. It is possible that this list will grow.
- CSU does not have facilities appropriate for quarantine. You will not be allowed to return to the dorms, your office, or to be on campus during your self-quarantine period. You must return to your permanent residence or make your own arrangements to be elsewhere.
- The US Government has already suspended entry to the U.S. from some countries by foreign nationals and advised against non-essential travel to other countries.
- CSU will assist students who cannot attend class with alternate academic arrangements.
- The requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days applies to all students and employees who have travelled to any level 2 or 3 country and/or been in close company with an individual infected with the virus or who has just returned from one of the countries on the list. If this situation applies to you and you will be missing class or work due to self-quarantine, [students] please contact the academic office (academics@ClarksSummitU.edu) [employees] contact human resources (hr@ClarksSummitU.edu).
The safety of our students and employees is our primary concern. CSU encourages all member of the CSU community to exercise personal responsibility in following these precautionary measures and in consistent hygiene practices such as hand washing, keeping hands away from the face and covering coughs and sneezing.
If you have any questions regarding this policy, please reach out to communications@ClarksSummitU.edu.
Original Response Prior to 3.5.2020
Clarks Summit University places high priority on the health and safety of our students and employees. Amid growing public concern surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19, CSU is closely monitoring information related to the public health situation.
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the campus of Clarks Summit University.
In addition to monitoring the latest information, CSU has taken action in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and also to respond to any confirmed cases—should the need arise. Steps include increased sanitizing measures across campus and communication of preventative practices to students and employees. CSU is prepared to deliver education in alternate ways should the need arise to adapt in order to keep student health a priority.
CSU students and employees have been advised of best practices to prevent the spread of coronavirus and flu-like illnesses, including:
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow; do not use your hands!
Clean surfaces frequently, such as countertops, light switches, cell phones and other frequently touched areas.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Contain—if you are sick, stay home.
The Centers for Disease Control has noted that they cannot stress enough the importance of practicing these three key steps, in addition to avoiding touching your face, eyes or mouth.
All of Clarks Summit University’s camps and conferences are still on schedule as planned. This includes LYFE Women’s Conference, Man UP! men’s 18-hour event, Defender Basketball Camp, Big Blue Basketball Camp and Teen Leadership Conference.
For emerging updates, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.