Message to Students from President Finger

August 21, 2020 (Updated August 25, 2020)

Dear Students,

As we reach the end of the first week of the Fall 2020 semester, I want to thank all of you for your patience and cooperation as our Seton Hill University community has worked to prioritize health and safety as we return to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

You each play an important role in keeping all of us – you and your fellow classmates, as well as faculty and staff – safe and healthy at this critical time. Thank you for being tremendous Setonians by wearing your masks, observing physical distancing, following new campus traffic patterns, and screening yourselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19. 

I recognize these changes are difficult, but they are necessary ones that will enable us to continue learning in face-to-face classes and living in residence halls during the fall semester. 

Please know your care and concern for all members of the Seton Hill community has been noted throughout this first week beginning with Welcome Weekend activities, during your classes, and in the residence halls. 

I want to thank you too for following guidelines when off campus. I have had members of the community remark to me that they were impressed by seeing Seton Hill students following mask protocols while shopping in local stores. Thank you for being good neighbors!

Let me take this opportunity to remind you of a few of the protocols that will work to keep us all safe:

  • Masks are required in all interior spaces on campus with few exceptions such as in certain laboratories and classrooms under particular conditions as guided by faculty. Only in those particular laboratories and classrooms are face shields without masks allowed to be worn by students. Faculty may wear face shields during lectures. Face shields without masks are not allowed in hallways, common spaces, classrooms and outdoors. 
  • While masks may be removed when eating or drinking while seated at a table in Lowe Dining Hall, on a picnic table, in one of the circles on the lawn outside, or in the many other spaces across campus, you must be physically distanced from others.

As we approach the weekend, I want to remind you, too, of your collective accountability as Seton Hill students to the health of all members of our community. Your actions – both on and off campus – have a direct impact on everyone with whom you come into contact on a daily basis. 

Please always keep in mind the Social Contract you entered into at the beginning of the semester. In particular, Seton Hill students must:

  • Avoid large gatherings as well as restaurants, bars or other businesses that are not enforcing mask wearing or physical distancing protocols;
  • Not host off-campus gatherings of more than 10 people; and
  • Always wear your mask indoors, as well as outdoors when you cannot consistently maintain six feet of distance from others. 

As I am sure you are aware, colleges and universities across the country have reversed decisions on in-person learning because of the spread of cases on campus. In particular, Notre Dame University has moved to remote learning for at least two weeks because of an increase in COVID-19 cases among students linked to off-campus parties. Locally, the University of Pittsburgh decided to continue remote learning through the middle of September because of student behaviors. The actions of students play a tremendous role in the ability of colleges and universities to continue to offer face-to-face classes during this pandemic. Please be mindful of putting yourself in unhealthy situations this weekend and throughout the semester. 

In an effort to keep the community informed, Seton Hill will today launch a COVID-19 Dashboard that provides information on cases identified among campus community members and in Westmoreland County as a whole and offers important reminders to the Seton Hill community. The COVID-19 Dashboard can be found on MySHU under Documents and Forms > COVID-19.

Thank you again for being responsible Setonians and following all of the policies and procedures put into place to protect your health and the health of the entire campus community during this critical time. 

Best regards, 

Dr. Finger