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COVID-19 Response – Fall 2022


FALL 2022 COVID-19 INFO

Post University continues to put the health and safety of our students, associates, and entire community as our highest priority.  Also, the University continues to meet regularly to monitor COVID-19 cases globally, locally, and within our Eagle community. If the analysis of current data suggests it is appropriate or if local, state, or federal guidance changes, the University may recommend changes to our public health behaviors and campus policies to maintain a safe environment for students, associates, and guests. Updates will be communicated in a timely manner.  All information in the following sections is subject to change. 

Here is our updated campus Covid-19 policies and procedures.

Fall 2022 COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

This information last updated July 20, 2022.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Students attending the main campus for classes, activities, and athletics should be fully vaccinated, defined by Post University as having the initial series of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, plus one booster shot.  Students not fully vaccinated are eligible to participate in their classes synchronously online, from a virtual location not on campus, with their fellow students and professor in the classroom.  

  • Students NEW to Post must provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination series along with other required health information to Student Health Services at [email protected]. This information must be on file by August 5, 2022.
  • If you are a returning student and your vaccination record is already on file with Student Health Services, no further action is needed.
  • Returning students with an existing and approved religious or medical exemption on file do not need to re-apply for a new exemption. Students new to Post who have a basis for a medical exception may request a vaccination exemption by contacting Student Health Services.

 

Face Coverings/ Masks

Face coverings will be optional in most University facilities, including all classrooms and academic buildings, university housing, dining hall, Drubner Center, and offices. Individuals may choose to wear a face covering, and all members of the University community are asked to respect their choice.

Faculty may request that masks be worn in their individual classrooms.

Face coverings will continue to be required for all individuals inside Health Services.

Post Mobile App

The Post Mobile App will no longer be used for daily symptom checks or classroom access; however, students are encouraged to continue using the Post Mobile App to check their symptoms on a daily basis. Any members of the university community who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to campus, and instead take appropriate steps to protect themselves and our community by getting tested for COVID-19. (See below “Reporting Illness and COVID-19 Testing.”)

Reporting Illness and COVID-19 Testing

Students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should take appropriate steps to protect others around them and get tested for COVID-19, either on or off campus. Testing is available at Student Health Services (East Hall) for students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate appropriately (see “Isolation and Housing,” below).

Associates who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to campus and should visit any off-campus location of their choosing for COVID-19 testing. Those who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate appropriately (see “Isolation and Housing,” below) and communicate with their supervisor about their absence.

Isolation and Housing

In line with CDC guidelines for isolation, Post University requires all individuals who are COVID-19 positive to isolate off campus for five (5) full days, with the date of their positive test result being day zero. They must also be symptom free for at least 24 hours prior to returning to campus. Self-isolating when COVID-19 positive is crucial to the health of the University community.

Post University will not provide housing to resident students who live on campus and require isolation or quarantine housing due to testing positive for COVID-19. Resident students who test positive will be asked to either travel home or find off campus accommodations to isolate at their own expense. Off-campus students will isolate in their off-campus housing.

  • Students must have an isolation plan in place before they arrive on campus. This plan should include arrangements for traveling home or identifying family members/friends and/or specific location(s) to isolate off campus in the event that they become COVID-positive. Download the Isolation Plan Guidelines and Post University Isolation Policy for guidance on developing your planThis plan must be on file by August 5, 2022.

Associates who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate appropriately. Associates do not need to upload test results but should communicate with their supervisor about their absence.

For more information, please read these CDC guidelines for isolation. 

Guests and Visitors

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for visitors and guests to campus. Guests and visitors are strongly encouraged to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 and boosted, if eligible, or to get tested within 72 hours prior to visiting campus. Guests should not come to campus if feeling ill.

 

COVID Compliance for American Sentinel College Nursing & Health Sciences

Students in the RN-BSN/MSN, MSN, NP, MSN/MBA-HC, IPC Certificate and DNP programs:

Since the summer, healthcare organizations from across the country have been setting strict requirements around vaccinations for their healthcare professionals. In alignment with this decision, these organizations are now notifying their partner higher education institutions that nursing students will not be permitted to earn hours at their facilities unless the college or university can demonstrate an established COVID vaccination plan. It is essential that Post University maintain our affiliation agreements with these healthcare partners to ensure we are positioned to support you in the successful completion of your degree.

With limited exceptions, to maintain eligibility for placement under our partner affiliation agreements, Post University is requiring that you are COVID compliant by November 30, 2021.

You can demonstrate that you are COVID compliant by logging into Castlebranch and submitting one of the following:

  • Documentation of full vaccination:
    • 2 doses of Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna
    • 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson
  • Medical Declination
  • Religious Declination*

*Please note that vaccination exemptions require additional costs and requirements.

Please see Appendix A for details on medical and religious exemptions.

Students who have not met one of the above requirements by November 30 will be responsible for locating a site that accepts unvaccinated students (without medical or religious exemptions) and complete the process to gain site approval from the Nursing Leadership. For questions, please email the detailed question you have to [email protected].

Appendix A: How do I request a medical or religious declination?

Medical exemptions – To be eligible for this exemption, you must provide a written statement signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician, stating that you qualify for the exemption and that the vaccine is medically contraindicated as described in the product labeling approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medical exemptions must be documented and retained and will be housed in the secured Castlebranch system.

Religious exemptions – To be eligible for this exemption, you must provide a written statement signed by a key member of the religious order to which you belong. You must also identify the name of the religious affiliation, how long you have held this religious tenet or belief, and an explanation of why the vaccine is against your religion. Social, political, economic philosophies, or mere personal preference will not be considered “religious tenet or belief” for this exemption.

What will happen if you are not COVID compliant by November 30?

Students who have not met one of the above requirements by November 30 will be responsible for locating a site that accepts unvaccinated students (without medical or religious exemptions) and complete the process to gain site approval from the Nursing Leadership. For questions, please email the following with the detailed question that you have to this email [email protected]

I’ve been enrolled as a student for a long time. Why am I just now being asked to do this?

The University has been required by our healthcare institutions and facilities across the country to establish a COVID compliance plan to maintain our affiliation agreements. The University has now established our plan and are communicating it to all enrolled students. Many of our students will not be able to complete their PE or clinical hour requirements if we cannot prove that we are following a plan of COVID compliance.

What should I do if I am unvaccinated and earning my hours at a site that doesn’t require vaccinations?

Clinical/Practice Sites: No COVID-19 Requirements

What is needed?

Students who select a clinical/practice site that accepts unvaccinated students without a medical or religious exemption or weekly testing/tracking will need to submit the two items on the checklist below using the following link: https://form.jotform.com/213256035583050

  1. A letter from the facility, on the facility’s letterhead. Please use either the template below to ensure that the letter includes the necessary content, including:
    • . Name of student
  1. Location of site
  2. Manager or authorized designee name and contact information
  3. Timeframe of clinical/practice experience on-site
  1. Acknowledgement by the student that no other activities will be completed at any other site during the identified timeframe. As a reminder, students who complete activities at another site, without previous approval, will be removed from the program.

Upon receipt of the letter, Post University will review to ensure all the above listed items are clearly addressed and none of the required information is missing.

Letter Template

< Site Letterhead >

Date

Manager or Authorized Designee
Contact Information
Location of Site

Dear American Sentinel College,

< Facility Name > does not require students who will complete clinical or practice experiences onsite to be vaccinated or provide an approved medical or religious exemption for COVID-19. < Student Name > will be onsite, completing clinical or practice experiences for the following dates xx/xx/xxxx through xx/xx/xxxx.

Sincerely,

Name and Title
Email Address and Phone Number

What happens if I test positive for COVID while enrolled in courses?

Regarding vaccinated students and COVID exposures, please follow these guidelines:

  • Students who are fully vaccinated, by an FDA approved COVID vaccine, and are exposed to COVID should immediately notify the preceptor/clinical site and Clinical/Practicum Coordinator.
  • They are expected to follow the CDC guidelines for vaccinated persons and COVID exposures. In addition, the student who is in the clinical site must follow the policy/procedure of the clinical site regarding testing and returning to the site. See this website for reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Regarding students with COVID vaccine exemptions (unvaccinated) and COVID exposures please follow these guidelines:

  • Students who are unvaccinated and hold an exemption approved by the University and are exposed to COVID should immediately notify preceptor/clinical site and Clinical/Practicum Coordinator.
  • They are to follow the CDC guidelines for unvaccinated persons and COVID exposures. In addition, the student who is in the clinical site must follow the policy/procedure of the site in regard to testing and returning to the site. See this website for reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

Individuals that are vaccinated or unvaccinated who test positive for COVID:

  • All individuals who test positive for COVID are responsible for immediately notifying the preceptor/clinical site and Clinical/Practicum Coordinator.
  • Students are to follow the CDC guidelines surrounding their vaccination status.

These guidelines are based on the CDC recommendations.

Further Reading: Please review this policy brief

A policy brief has been included regarding clinical/practice experiences and the obligations that the school has towards students. In summary, students may be denied entrance to clinical facilities if they are not vaccinated, even if they have a declination on file. It is up to each individual clinical agency whether a student may cross the threshold into the institution. In addition, the college/university is not required to alter any clinical or practice experiences for students who decline the COVID vaccine and are not allowed into healthcare institutions.

Policy Brief: Clinical Experiences for Unvaccinated Nursing Students

Purpose

To provide guidance to boards of nursing and nursing education programs that are receiving requests from students for alternate clinical experiences when the program’s clinical sites require the COVID-19 vaccine.

Context

Currently, nursing programs are receiving requests from unvaccinated students to provide alternate experiences when the designated clinical facility mandates the COVID-19 vaccine. These requests range from using 100% simulation as a substitute for the clinical experience to the program finding other types of activities and case studies/scenarios.

Much of the fear and concern over receiving the vaccine is based on misinformation and lack of knowledge about the vaccine and its development (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021). According to one study, as of August 2021, 92% of nursing faculty were vaccinated or planned to be vaccinated and 86% of currently enrolled students have been vaccinated (National Student Nurses Association, 2021). Thus, it is a small number of students who are vaccine-hesitant and affected by vaccine mandates. This policy addresses these students.

Clinical experiences are integral to nursing education. NCSBN’s National Simulation Study (Hayden et al., 2014) demonstrated that up to 50% of clinical experience can be substituted with simulation. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education (2021), “Simulation experiences represent an important component of clinical education… However, care experiences with actual individuals or groups continue to be the most important component of clinical education…Simulation cannot substitute for all direct care practice experiences in any one sphere or for any one age group.” (page 21) As of Aug. 23, 2021, the Pfizer vaccine has received full Food and Drug Administration approval. The vaccine protects health care professionals and students as well as patients. In fact, millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines. All three of the vaccines available in the U.S. have undergone the most rigorous safety monitoring in U.S. history (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).

The COVID-19 vaccine’s authorization is based on scientific evidence (Food and Drug Administration, 2021). Identifying, assessing, and integrating reliable evidence into one’s practice has been and continues to be an expectation for the preparation of professional nurses (AACN, 2021, 2008).

Unvaccinated individuals are at risk for contracting COVID-19, thereby increasing the chances for more variants to emerge and, more importantly, putting vulnerable individuals at risk; especially hospitalized patients, nursing home residents, health care professionals and peers who may be immunocompromised. (Plater, 2021).

Recommendations
  • Students should be vaccinated when clinical facilities require it so that they can participate in the clinical experience and progress in their programs.
  • Nursing education programs should reach out to students who are vaccine-hesitant and counsel the students about the benefit of the vaccine and the need for it as a student enrolled in a nursing program, and address myths and misleading information about the vaccine.
  • Course descriptions should include that a clinical component is required.
  • Nursing education programs are mandated by boards of nursing as well as accreditors to provide students with clinical experiences. They are not obligated to provide substitute or alternate clinical experiences based on a student’s request or vaccine preference.
  • Just as the nursing education program and/or clinical facilities require other vaccines, the facilities have the option to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Boards of nursing have no obligation to waive their current rules/regulations about clinical experiences for unvaccinated students.
  • Transparency is essential. Even if mandated by the academic institution, students can refuse the vaccine. Therefore, if the student refuses to be vaccinated and is not entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the disability laws* or is not entitled to a reasonable accommodation for a sincerely held religious belief* then, the student (a) may be disenrolled from the institution/nursing program or (b) may not be able to fulfill the clinical requirements of the program, resulting in them not graduating.
  • Accommodations made for students under the disability laws or for a sincerely held religious belief should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

* In providing an academic adjustment to students with disabilities, post-secondary schools are not required to lower or substantially modify essential requirements. (U.S. Department of Education, 2011)

References

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). (2021). The Essentials: core competencies for professional nursing education. Retrieved from https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/ AcademicNursing/pdf/Essentials-2021.pdf

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications/ BaccEssentials08.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, August 19). Key things to know about COVID-19 vaccines.

Food and Drug Administration. (2021, August 23). FDA approves first COVID-19 vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine

Hayden, J. K., Smiley, R. A., Alexander, M., Kardong-Edgren, S., & Jeffries, P. R. (2014). The NCSBN national simulation study: A longitudinal, randomized, controlled study replacing clinical hours with simulation in prelicensure nursing education. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 5(2), S3-S40.

National Student Nurses Association. (2021, August 16). Survey of vaccination status July 1 – August 15th for nursing students, faculty and new graduates reveals unexpected results. 

Plater, R. (2021, August 10). Unvaccinated people are increasing the chances for more coronavirus variants — here’s how. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/unvaccinated- people-are-increasing-the-chances-for-more-coronavirus-variants-heres-how” target=”_blank”>https://www.healthline.com/health-news/unvaccinated- people-are-increasing-the-chances-for-more-coronavirus-variants-heres-how

United States Department of Education. (2011). Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/ offices/list/ocr/transition.html United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Addressing COVID-19 vaccine misconceptions. Retrieved from https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/outreach-tools/addressing-covid-19-vaccine-misconceptions

CARES Act – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and American Rescue Plan Act, 2021 (ARP)

Note: Students who are experiencing financial hardship should contact their Financial Aid advisor to determine if additional financial assistance may be available to them based on their individual family circumstances.

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On March 12, 2020, John L. Hopkins, CEO and President of Post University, announced that instruction at the Main Campus would transition to online learning through the end of the semester.  To ensure the safety of all students, faculty, and staff, classes at the Main Campus continued online for the Spring Semester beginning March 16, 2020.  The virtual platform ensures that students can complete the courses they need to meet their academic goals and graduate within their original time frames.  With over 13,000 online students, Post University is a leader in the online mode of delivery.  Technology and student support services are in place and made the transition of the Main Campus students to online education a seamless operation.

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) providing funding to institutions to deliver emergency financial aid grants to eligible students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. On December 27, 2020, new assistance funding, Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF II) was authorized through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA).

Acknowledgement of Certification and Agreement and Funding

Post University signed the Certification Agreement in the grant application package for the Higher Education Emergency Relief funding (HEERF) for students on April 27, 2020. Through the CARES Act, Congress allocated $1,419,702 funding to Post University.

Post University signed the Certification Agreement in the grant application package for the Higher Education Emergency Relief funding (HEERF II) for students on January 15, 2021.  Post University received $1,393,742 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

Distribution – HEERF

Under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, 100% of the HEERF funds have been disbursed to students.  As required by the Department of Education, at least 50% or $709,851 of the allocation has been distributed directly to students in the form of student grants. Post University expended the Institutional portion, to students for the unused portion of room and board in the form of refunds directly to the students. The distribution of funds directly to students was done in accordance with the requirements published by the US Department of Education.

The emergency financial aid grants directly to students were awarded to eligible students enrolled in at least one Main Campus course as of the date campus-based courses ended and the facilities were closed to in-person classes. The total number of eligible students who participated in Title IV HEA programs and who attended on-ground courses at Post University is estimated at 631 students. These eligible students were enrolled in at least one course held in-person, and not exclusively online, and all have received the CARES Act grant.

In accordance with the requirements published by the US Department of Education for student eligibility, Post University identified all students enrolled in on-campus classes and established the criteria based on their housing status, including the distance to return home from campus, and their financial need as determined by their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For HEERF funds, a student enrolled in classes offered exclusively online were not eligible for an emergency HEERF grant. Students who met the criteria were awarded a range of grant funding based on their financial need, campus housing arrangement, and permanent residence proximity to campus.  The award per student ranged from $615 to $3,035. Post University awarded these funds to all eligible students without requiring an application or other formal request. Each eligible student was notified that the funding was available and provided the instructions to select their preferred method of delivery.   

For more information regarding HEERF eligibility, please visit our FAQs below.

This reporting covers all remaining HEERF fund expenditures as Post University has fully spent the funds as of July 10, 2020. No further reporting of HEERF funding is required.

Distribution – HEERF II

As of the date of the report, the total amount of HEERF II funds distributed to students is $1,393,742.  Post University’s method used to determine which students received Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under the CRRSAA and ARP (a)(1) and (a)(4) programs was to prioritize students with exceptional need based on the results of the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFAA).  Student’s whose Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) reflected a Zero (0) Effective Family Contribution (EFC) were eligible for review, and funds were awarded without requiring an application or formal request. Post University has distributed all of the available funding.

Please reference the links below for information regarding our quarterly expenditures.

Download the most recent report of the detailed expenditures of the HEERF II Emergency Financial Grant (PDF) >>

Download the PDFs of the prior quarterly reports of the detailed expenditures of HEERF Emergency Financial Grants:

 

Isolation Plan Guidelines and Post University Isolation Policy

Students must have an isolation plan in place before they arrive on campus. This plan must be on file by August 5, 2022.

[email protected]

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