Pace University's Spring 2021 semester began on January 23, 2021 with a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online learning options. Pace’s COVID-19 Task Force, alongside faculty and University administration, are working toward continued success this spring and a Fall 2021 semester that looks and feels closer to normal.
Please stay tuned to your Pace email and this website for the latest updates and guidelines based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health, and our local health departments.
Below you’ll find all the information you need to know about preparing to come back, monitoring and testing, face covering and social distancing requirements, arrangements for teaching, and more. We’re so proud of how our community has responded during this time and know we will face this upcoming transition with optimism and enthusiasm.
Be sure to check back frequently as we are updating this information as it becomes available.
- Key Dates for Faculty
- Monitoring and Testing
- COVID-19 Vaccination
- Workplace Safety
- Important Information
- Guiding Principles
- Campus Health and Safety Feedback
- January 23: Spring Semester begins with two weeks of remote classes
- January 4: Holiday break ends and the University reopens. Essential employees, such as student-facing activity and residential life staff, return to Pace campuses as needed.
- February 8: In-person classes begin
- May 1: Spring semester ends
To facilitate this accelerated schedule, we plan to hold classes on some previously scheduled holidays. Accommodations will be made for individual religious observances. If you have questions or concerns regarding your return to campus, please contact your department chair or the Office of the Provost at email@example.com.
- When we return for the spring semester, all members of the Pace Community (including those who have not left the New York area) will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result in order to access campus (this is a requirement of all employees, regardless of your office location or when in the semester you plan to access campus). The date of your test (not the results) must be no earlier than seven days prior to the first day you will be on campus. Students, faculty, and staff should upload their own COVID-19 test results into Pace's confidential Patient Portal. The information you provide is verified and approved by a health administrator who can track compliance or lack of compliance and report back through secure messaging. For instructions about how to upload your test results to the Patient Portal, please review these easy-to-follow instructions (PDF). Low-cost or free testing is increasingly available at pharmacies and walk-in clinics, and by public health departments in some locations. Find a testing location near you.
- All faculty, staff, and students (both residential and commuter) will be required to complete a daily screening questionnaire related to symptoms, travel and exposures in the past 14 days. The screening questionnaire is available to everyone in the Pace Community via the PaceSafe mobile app. If you do not have a smartphone and are unable to use the PaceSafe app, please access our web-based daily health questionnaire.
- All on-campus members of the Pace Community, on days they are on campus, will be required to monitor their health, check their temperature, and complete the screening tool's questionnaire daily once the campus reopens. The University will monitor and review responses on a regular basis.
- In the screening questionnaire, you can expect to answer several questions daily, including:
- Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
- Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 Days
- Have returned to New York from any state other than New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, or any international destination requiring quarantine as identified by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 205.2?
- Have you been in close contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Be prepared to show an approved status after completing the screening to Security upon entering campus buildings.
- Stay in if you do not feel well, have a fever, or do not pass your daily health self-assessment. Contact University Health Care if you are experiencing symptoms.
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
While we all must do our part to prevent the spread of the virus, if you do become ill or are exposed to someone who is ill, here is what you need to know as a member of the University community:
- If You Have Symptoms: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you must report your symptoms through the PaceSafe mobile screening app or directly to University Health Care and your department chair. Faculty who are experiencing symptoms are prohibited from coming to campus and should seek guidance form their healthcare provider. If you are not feeling well, stay home. Do not come to campus.
- If you have symptoms that could be COVID-19 and do not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, you will be assumed positive for COVID-19, and you may not return to work until you meet these criteria:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications)
- Have improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)\
- Have been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared
- If you have symptoms that could be COVID-19 and do not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, you will be assumed positive for COVID-19, and you may not return to work until you meet these criteria:
- If You Have Been Exposed: If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you must report that you’ve had close contact through the PaceSafe mobile screening app or directly to University Health Care, which will work with the Coronavirus Coordination Officer to determine the necessary precautions you should take. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, NEVER email any health care information. You must upload any test results or other private health care information through the University Health Care’s secure patient portal.
- If you have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you may not return to work on campus until completing 14 days of quarantine from the date of last exposure. You may perform work remotely dependent upon the nature of work and manager guidance.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, you will have to isolate for 10 days. You may return to work when you have been cleared by the Department of Health to do so, after you have met all three of the following criteria. You may also be required to provide a fitness for duty certification from your health care provider:
- Have improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
- Have been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared
- Pace’s Coronavirus Coordination Officer will work with University Health Care and the local the local Department of Health contact tracing officials.
- Following contact tracing, the Department of Health, University Health Care, or Pace’s Coronavirus Coordination Officer will notify faculty, staff, students, or visitors, as necessary and appropriate, about their possible exposure.
- Pace’s custodial staff will close off any areas where you may have spent any significant time, including common spaces, offices, classrooms, bathrooms, etc., so that they may begin the cleaning and disinfection process. Depending on where you have been, it may be necessary to close a floor and/or building until a time when it can be properly sanitized.
- If You Test Positive: If you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to inform University Health Careimmediately by telephone or by uploading your positive test result through the University Health Care’s secure patient portal. University Health Care will work with the Coronavirus Coordination Officer and the local health department in contact tracing. You must cooperate with all contact tracing efforts, which will include providing information about contact with other members of the Pace Community. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, NEVER email any health care information. You must upload any test results or other private health care information through the University Health Care’s secure patient portal.
- If You Test Negative: If you have symptoms that could be COVID-19, but you are lab-confirmed NOT to have COVID-19, you may return to work after confirming this with University Health Care by uploading your negative test result to the secure patient portal. DO NOT email any test results or private information.
New York State is regularly expanding vaccine eligibility. Effective April 6, 2021, all adult New Yorkers—that’s everyone 16 and older—will be eligible to get vaccinated. (Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 16 and older; Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are approved for 18 and older.) Use New York State's eligibility tool to see if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and to schedule an appointment.
Residents of New Jersey and Connecticut should check with their local health officials for information in their states. Please remember that while you may be eligible to make a reservation for a vaccination, current demand for vaccines still far outpaces the state’s supply. We do not yet know when the vaccines will become available.
We know how important it is for our community to return to campus and to advance the University’s academic mission. But our priority is, and will continue to be, the health and safety of our faculty, students, and staff.
All faculty will be required to complete a mandatory online training and education module prior to returning to the start of the spring semester. The training module will be sent to you via your Pace email account.
Appropriate use of face coverings is critical in minimizing the risk of transmission to others near you. Remember, a face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Pace University will provide reusable cloth face coverings to all faculty, students, and staff. Face coverings must be worn at all times, especially in common areas or when social distancing cannot be maintained. If you have an underlying health condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering, you should wear a face shield, if possible, or continue to work remotely. For more information about face coverings, please see our Campus Health and Safety page.
Meetings and Travel
Face-to-face meetings should be limited as much as possible. While the University recognizes we are used to in-person meetings, it is vital that other means of communication, such as the phone and Zoom, are used during this time. We recommend that faculty who travel out of state or internationally for personal reasons, via any mode of transportation, log their activity using a written or app-based personal journal. This information is helpful in the event contact tracing is needed to alert you or others about possible exposure.
Spaces on Campus
We’ve all made adjustments to how we exist and live in our communities and Pace is no different. Learn more about existing in spaces around campus including classrooms, common areas, offices, residence halls, and more. Reduced capacity plans have been developed for all Pace spaces and in areas that social distancing cannot be maintained, Pace has installed temporary partitions or barriers.
Occupancy: New York State mandates that all spaces be limited to 50 percent of the maximum occupancy as set by their certificate of occupancy. New York State also recommends that six feet of social distance be maintained wherever possible. To achieve that distance and follow the best practice for the health and safety of our Community, we will target 25 percent occupancy in all our classrooms. In some larger spaces, like auditoriums and gymnasiums, we may be able to exceed 25 percent occupancy while still ensuring six feet of distance.
- We are currently targeting 25 percent overall occupancy across each campus in the interest of health and safety. That does not mean that every unit will be staffed in-person at 25 percent, but that the average occupancy rate across a campus will target 25 percent.
Shielding: Partitions or barriers will be installed as needed in workspaces that include face-to-face customer service, such as in classrooms, the Information Desk, Bursar’s Office, Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid Office, and Mail Services.
Common Areas: Common areas like hallways, elevators, stairwells, lounges, and offices will be outfitted with signage to assist people in socially distancing. Directional traffic flow will be established via one-way stairwells, hallways, in-room movement, and entrance/exits, where possible. Signage will provide clear direction. In common area lounge spaces or in dining halls, we ask that no furniture be moved. We also require all people in common spaces to wear face coverings. Gym and fitness areas will remain closed until restrictions are lifted.
Classrooms: Until restrictions are relaxed, classrooms will be limited to no more than 25% of maximum occupancy. The layouts of many classrooms have been altered to accommodate six feet of social distance between each person, including the instructor. Faculty should maintain six feet of social distance from students while in classrooms. Face coverings will be required in all classrooms. Additionally, classrooms will be outfitted with tempered glass barriers to protect both students and instructors. In some larger spaces, like auditoriums and gymnasiums, we may be able to exceed 25% occupancy while still ensuring six feet of distance.
Lab and Studio Space: Until restrictions are relaxed, classrooms will be limited to no more than 25% of maximum occupancy. Pre-existing personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for the lab/research environment remain in place. Otherwise, while in the laboratory, trainees, faculty, and staff are required to wear a surgical face mask when working with others. In general, N95 respirators and medical grade masks are reserved for healthcare workers. Cloth face coverings are appropriate only for public spaces. For more information about lab and research safety, visit our Research section.
Elevators: Under no circumstances may elevators exceed 50% of the posted capacity, all occupants must wear a face covering, please follow posted signage to maintain social distance. Please do not touch elevator buttons directly; use an object (pen) or piece of clothing to press the buttons. Because elevator space is limited, please allow yourself extra time when moving between classes and meetings.
Office Areas: All workspaces will be arranged so faculty are able to maintain safe social distance. Faculty should limit or avoid (through remote work, staggered shifts, etc.) being in a shared office space with others when possible. If needed, use of vacant offices may be temporarily permitted to provide necessary separation, or furniture may be moved to create the required distance. Personal office areas should only be occupied by one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing face coverings and six feet of social distance can be maintained.
Meeting Rooms: Chairs and tables in any meeting room will be removed or arranged to support the minimum required six feet physical distance. Visual cues (ex. colored tape on floor indicating correct chair position) will be added to help maintain accurate distancing space.
Restrooms: Restroom use must be based on the ability to maintain at least six feet distance between individuals. Smaller bathrooms with limited space will be marked with signage and occupied by only one individual at a time.
- In accordance with guidance from local health authorities, it’s important to follow all posted signage near sink areas—some will be specified for hand washing, dish washing, or oral hygiene.
Dining Areas: All faculty, staff, and students visiting a dining café on campus will be required to wear a face covering, including when picking-up food for takeout. Each dining café will have significantly reduced occupancy, with limited in-house seating. Seating will not be available for patrons not actively dining, or when the café is closed for meals. Mobile ordering and pickup stations will be available, with the use of contactless payment where possible. Please adhere to the following guidelines:
- Shared food and beverages are prohibited (e.g. buffet meals).
- We ask that you not prepare food on site or share meals with co-workers.
- Microwaves and coffee machines may be used; however, employees are required to properly clean them after each use.
- Employees ordering food for delivery must arrange for a contact-free delivery.
- Full-service model only, with the elimination of self-service food stations, in the dining café.
- In the dining café, tables will be spaced to accommodate six feet of social distance between diners.
- Food service stations will be set up in the café to allow for safe flow of patrons in the café.
- In the dining café, sanitation of all station counters and common areas will be done every 30 minutes.
For complete information regarding dining on campus, please visit the Campus Dining website.
Transportation: Pace will continue to operate its campus shuttle with revised procedures, which shall include limiting capacity to 50% and staggering passengers to every other row (unless roommates or suitemates). Shuttles will be equipped with protective barriers between driver and passengers and drivers and passengers shall wear face coverings at all times during transport. Pace will provide hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes inside the shuttle and also install hand sanitizing stations at pick-up locations. For all other campus vehicles, the occupancy will be limited to the driver. If it is necessary for two individuals to travel together (e.g., delivery, maintenance work), then each individual must wear proper face coverings at all times.
Cleaning and Sanitization of Pace Facilities
Pace’s Facilities team will be tasked with ensuring that the University has a sufficient supply of all sanitizing supplies for all campus locations, including, but not limited to, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and disinfectant wipes.
- The Facilities team will clean all high-touch surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, faucets, railings, light switches, elevator buttons) at least twice a day.
- In dining halls, sanitation of all station counters and common areas will be done every 30 minutes.
- Pace campus facilities will be cleaned and disinfected as appropriate daily by the Facilities team.
- Classrooms will be outfitted with disinfectant wipe dispensers for use by students and faculty. Classrooms, including desks and workstations, will be deep-cleaned by the Facilities team every evening.
- While the Facilities team will be responsible for thoroughly cleaning, it is expected that all faculty and staff maintain clean work areas and wipe down any areas before and after use with cleaning supplies that are provided in each classroom or other work area.
- The Facilities team will also adjust the mechanical infrastructure to increase fresh air flow, adding efficient filtration, utilizing UV-C technology to combat infectious particles, and controlling temperature and humidity.
Hygiene and Cleaning for Faculty
Pace will follow guidance from Federal and State governments and agencies regarding cleaning and disinfecting its facilities, including Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and New York State Department of Health. Pace will maintain a cleaning log for each of its facilities, which will be maintained by the Facilities team and kept in their custodial management offices. The cleaning log will identify the date, time and scope of each cleaning, including cleaning and disinfection that is performed following a positive or suspected case of COVID-19.
Pace will aid good hygiene by providing the following:
- Hand sanitizer stations at each entrance to a campus building; and
- Touchless hand soap and hand sanitizer in each break room, bathroom, and meeting rooms where feasible.
Pace’s facilities will be cleaned and disinfected as appropriate daily by custodial staff. In addition, faculty will be provided a checklist of items that must be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each workday. Faculty will be given the cleaning supplies necessary to complete this task.
Faculty will be responsible for cleaning their own computer equipment (e.g., keyboard, screen, mouse) before and after their personal use. Disposable covers for keyboards and mice will be made available in the shared computer spaces, in addition to disinfecting wipes.
Pace’s commitment to providing a world class education for all our students continues this spring with planning for in-person, remote, and hybrid learning modalities. All academic decisions will be made in consultation with the Deans, Faculty and Staff councils, and the student government, to the fullest extent possible.
Academic Calendar: In consultation with the appropriate public health authorities, Pace University has altered the 2020–2021 academic calendar to provide the best opportunity for our students to successfully complete their spring semester with as little possibility for disruption as possible. By beginning early, this provides the Pace Community with the greatest flexibility for our students and faculty during these extraordinary times.
Delivery of Instruction: Pace University is known for our commitment to providing student-centered learning experiences with a focus on in-person instruction and engagement. We are planning to continue this commitment in Spring 2021 in a way that prioritizes and protects the health of our vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff.
For the Spring 2021 semester, courses will be offered in one of four instructional modalities:
- Fully on-campus: A course with only traditional in-person, on-campus class meetings. Due to capacity restrictions and social distance requirements, enrollment in these fully on-campus courses will be limited.
- HyFlex: A hybrid course delivered simultaneously in-person and remotely, so that students have the flexibility to choose either format for any class meeting, subject to classroom capacity restrictions. Learn more about HyFlex classrooms and technology.
- Web-assisted: A course with some in-person, on-campus class meetings and some online elements.
- Fully online: A course delivered fully remotely. It may be a synchronous course, in which students and faculty will meet live online on a set schedule, or it may be an asynchronous course, in which all coursework is available online and can be accessed at any time. Some fully online courses may have synchronous and asynchronous components.
This mix of modalities will protect the health of our students, faculty, and staff by reducing density on campus, preventing large gatherings, and freeing up on-campus space for those courses that benefit from in-person meetings. Courses in which instruction and assessment cannot happen virtually (e.g., performance courses, labs, and clinical experiences) will have priority for classroom space.
For courses that will meet in-person, classrooms have been reconfigured to accommodate social distancing. Some larger classes will be moved to larger spaces, such as gymnasiums or auditoriums, to accommodate more students in the classroom or other needs. We’ll also add markings to classrooms to delineate appropriate distancing.
Remote options will be used for non-teaching activities such as office hours and meetings. We know that fieldwork, clinical experiences, internships, and other experiential learning are important elements of our academic fabric. The University’s approach to these experiences will be guided by public health guidelines, accreditation requirements, and academic norms associated with the different disciplines.
Faculty are prepared to accommodate students who are physically unable to return to campus by making all courses fully accessible—to the extent possible—via asynchronous learning opportunities.
Pace maintains several research laboratories across its campuses. These laboratories are located in Dyson Hall and the Environmental Center on the Pleasantville Campus and in One Pace Plaza and 41 Park Row on the New York City Campus. Pace must comply with any state or federal directives in reopening these facilities, and its plan for reopening must be flexible to accommodate any changes.
Pace will implement social distancing protocols for research facilities that will primarily limit the density of people (e.g., trainees/faculty/staff) in research environments.
Personal Protective Equipment:
Pre-existing personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for the lab/research environment remain in place. Otherwise, while in the laboratory, trainees, faculty, and staff are required to wear a surgical face mask when working with others, which Pace can provide. In general, N95 respirators and medical grade masks are reserved for health care workers. Cloth face coverings are appropriate only for public spaces.
Cleaning and Sanitation
Pace will follow guidance from federal and state governments and agencies regarding cleaning and disinfecting its research laboratories, including Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Pace will maintain a cleaning log for each of its research laboratories, which will be maintained on site at each research laboratory. The cleaning log will identify the date, time, and scope of each cleaning, including cleaning and disinfection that is performed following a positive or suspected case of COVID-19.
- Pace will aid good hygiene by providing the following:
- Hand sanitizer for all research faculty, students, and staff to keep at their workstations;
- Disinfecting wipes in all break rooms, bathrooms, and meeting rooms;
- Hand sanitizer stations at the entrance to each research laboratory; and
- Touchless hand soap and hand sanitizer in each break room, bathroom, and meeting room.
- Lab staff are responsible for disinfecting surfaces and equipment in labs, following Pace’s cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
- Heightened cleaning and disinfection of common areas will be performed by custodial staff.
Accommodations for Faculty
Campus Safety and Security
Pace is committed to providing a safe environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors. To the extent that protocols are not followed by any individual on campus, Pace reserves the right to take disciplinary action against students, faculty, and staff, as well as removing any visitor from the premises. These actions may involve Student Life, Human Resources, and Safety and Security.
- To the extent that Pace allows outside individuals onto campus for events such as lectures, conferences, or athletics events, Safety and Security shall be responsible for monitoring/enforcing the capacity limits and other proper protocols, such as social distancing.
- Safety and Security will ask all visitors prior to entry to complete an online screening questionnaire.
- On at least a weekly basis, Emergency Management shall review activities from the prior week and along with Safety and Security, and University Health Care, assess any areas in need of new or increased protocols to ensure a safe environment.
Non-Discrimination and Mutual Support
Pace University is committed to maintaining an educational, working, and living environment that is free of all forms of discrimination and where every member can thrive. It is essential that we all be supportive, respectful, and inclusive of the members of our community who are affected by this global issue.
In the wake of this outbreak, several universities have experienced the targeting and exclusion of Chinese individuals, individuals perceived to be Chinese, and individuals recently returned from China due to fear and misinformation about the virus.
If you see someone wearing a face covering, do not assume that the individual wearing it has symptoms or is at risk. Wearing a face covering is a widespread preventive habit in several countries and is viewed as a gesture of consideration for others.