Announcement from President Finger - Spring 2021 Semester

December 11, 2020

Dear Seton Hill Students,

With the Fall 2020 semester officially ending tomorrow, I hope all of you are beginning to enjoy some much-needed rest. 

I again want to thank all of you for adhering to the health and safety policies and protocols that allowed us to successfully complete an entire semester of face-to-face classes this fall in the midst of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

I know this has been a trying time, but all of us at Seton Hill appreciate how well you adapted to all of the changes that occurred during this very tumultuous time in our world. 

As we are now two weeks past the Thanksgiving holiday, it is readily apparent that the surge of cases in the United States, but especially in Pennsylvania and Westmoreland County, is not slowing down. In fact, Westmoreland County’s most recent incidence rate for COVID-19 cases was more than five times what is considered “substantial spread” in a community. 

Public health experts warn that this surge will continue through and after celebrations around Christmas and New Year’s Day with a peak in mid-January. 

With all of these factors in mind, Seton Hill University has decided to delay the start of the traditional Spring 2021 semester to Tuesday, February 2, 2021 to allow some additional time for community case levels to stabilize. 

There is no change to the S and M term schedules.  M3 term classes begin January 4, while S3 term classes start on January 9.  All of those classes are online.

The graduate programs in Orthodontics, Physician Assistant, and Art Therapy will follow the originally scheduled Spring 2021 calendar with a January 19 start date.  Students enrolled in these programs will receive further guidance from their Program Directors. 

The Registrar will be posting the revised Spring 2021 traditional semester academic calendar. 

Universal Testing

As we delay the start of the Spring 2021 semester, the dates for Universal Pre-Matriculation testing will also change. 

As was the case for the fall, Seton Hill is requiring all students attending face-to-face classes in the Spring 2021 semester to undergo COVID-19 testing prior to returning to campus. 

Drive-through, on-campus testing for in-state students will now occur on Friday, January 22; Saturday, January 23; Monday, January 25; Tuesday, January 26; and Wednesday, January 27, 2021. 

In-state students may also test off campus. Seton Hill will accept COVID-19 test results for in-state students testing completed off campus on or after January 22 if the specimen is a PCR nasal swab. 

Out-of-state and international students are required by state officials to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, Seton Hill requires that students who are using public transportation to arrive at SHU (plane, train or bus), must quarantine upon arrival for 5 days and test with Health Services on the 5th day.  If you test negative, you will be released from quarantine at this time. If you cannot get a test or choose not to test prior to entering the state and you use private transportation (a personal vehicle), you must test with Health Services upon arrival and quarantine until test results are available.   If you test negative, you will be released from quarantine at this time. If you fall into this category, please plan to return to SHU between January 22 and 26. Out-of-state students must notify Residence Life at and international students must notify Keisha Jimmerson at so they can plan for you accordingly.

Spring sport athletes who will be arriving early to campus for NCAA approved practices will be tested outside of these normal dates. Coaches will be in touch with their teams about their specific arrival and testing dates.

Program Directors will be in touch with students in the Orthodontics, Physician Assistant and Art Therapy graduate programs regarding scheduling testing.

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days do not need to test again, or quarantine, prior to the start of the semester.  You will receive a separate communication from Health Services and be asked to retest after the 90 days when your presumed immunity has expired. If you receive a positive test over break, please be sure to share the results with Health Services at

The Office of Health Services will be in touch soon with further details on the Universal Testing schedule and other important information you will need.

Please note that Seton Hill has expanded its universal testing program and is requiring all faculty and staff engaged in face-to-face activities on campus during the Spring 2021 semester to undergo COVID-19 testing as well.

Reopening of the Residence Halls

The residence halls will open Friday, January 29 at 8:00 a.m. Students are welcome back at their convenience as long as they have been tested by Health Services or submitted their COVID results to Health Services. Students who need to return prior to January 29 should email Residence Life at to determine if that will be possible.  As a reminder, please remember that non-Seton Hill guests are not permitted in the residence halls at any time, including Spring move-in.

Surveillance Testing

Seton Hill University also plans to conduct a second round of universal testing for all students attending face-to-face classes during the first two weeks of classes. Additional surveillance testing will occur throughout the semester to help find community members with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 before they spread the virus to others. 

Additional details of the Surveillance Testing program will be released prior to the start of the Spring Semester. 

Spring 2021 Social Contracts

All Seton Hill University students attending face-to-face classes in Spring 2021 will be asked to electronically sign and abide by a Social Contract outlining their roles and responsibilities as members of the campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, students living in Seton Hill Residence Halls will be asked to sign and abide by a Social Contract for Residential Living. Both Spring 2021 Social Contracts can be reviewed here.

Flu Shots

As a reminder, Flu Shots are also required as of December 1, 2020. Please email to submit documentation for your flu shot if you have not done so already.

SaferMe App

Students must download the SaferMe App to their personal mobile devices as part of the Social Contract and in order to assist Seton Hill Health Services in its contact tracing efforts in the spring. 

Information on SaferMe, including directions on how to download and sign-in, is available at

Thank you again for your cooperation, your flexibility and, most of all, your understanding as we make this shift in the start of traditional undergraduate classes for the Spring 2021 semester.

I wish you a blessed Christmas season, and I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in the New Year. 


Dr. Finger