COVID-19 Policies & Protocols

The COVID Health & Safety Plan for the Spring 2023 semester will align with CDC guidelines, state, and city of Lancaster ordinances

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s COVID-19 policies continue to be grounded in the safety of our faculty, staff, students, and visitors to campus. As more knowledge becomes available, these policies and plans will be updated accordingly.

Every member of our community is empowered to request compliance with the protocols set forth here so if you encounter non-compliance, please notify the COVID Health & Safety Team at health@pcad.edu.


Face masks/coverings optional

The College greatly appreciates your effort to support and comply with this policy. It is important to note that masks remain optional and are a personal choice. PCA&D fully supports anyone who chooses to wear a mask and expects all members of the campus community to be respectful of this choice.

Students engaging in College-related experiences off-campus will need to comply with masking requirements of external facilities. 

Should COVID-19 cases on our campus rise to significant levels or should Lancaster County move into the CDC’s high transmission category, the College may reinstate the indoor masking mandate and other personal safety policies.


Monitoring your health

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and can include…

  • Fever over 100.4 degrees 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • Muscle or body aches 

If fully vaccinated and boosted 

  • Self-monitor symptoms before coming to campus 
  • If experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, notify the COVID Health & Safety Team at health@pcad.edu and stay home. 
  • If exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms during the workday, you will be sent home immediately and a special cleaning and disinfecting protocol will be activated. Close contacts (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) within a 24-hour period will be notified while maintaining applicable confidentiality laws. 

If non-vaccinated or non-boosted

  • Take temperature digitally upon entering the building 
  • If your temperature registers 100.4 degrees or more you will not be allowed access to the building and the COVID Health & Safety Team at health@pcad.edu will be notified.

Where to get a COVID test


Stay home if sick

DO NOT come to campus if you are…

  • Exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Tested positive for COVID-19 
  • Waiting for COVID-19 test results 
  • Been in close contact with either a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and are not vaccinated or not yet boosted
  • If you have a member of your household with COVID-19, notify the COVID Health & Safety Team at health@pcad.edu and follow CDC recommended precautions

Testing positive

If you’ve tested positive or been exposed to someone who’s tested positive, follow this infographic of PCA&D’s 5-Step COVID Guidance Plan and contact the COVID Health & Safety Team at health@pcad.edu.

Contact tracing

PCA&D supports the current CDC principles for contact tracing and asks members of its community to keep a daily log of close interactions either in a notebook or digitally. 

Close contacts (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) within a 24-hour period will be notified while maintaining applicable confidentiality laws. 

Class exposure

If a positive case of COVID-19 is identified in a classroom and faculty and students are subsequently notified by the COVID Health & Safety Team that they are close contacts, that faculty member should hold class online for all students in that class temporarily for 5 full days beginning on the date of exposure, regardless of the vaccination status of the students and faculty member in the class. 


Excused absences

When the emergency mandate for distance education was lifted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PCA&D transitioned back to hosting the majority of its courses through in-person instruction. Students should not expect that faculty will allow virtual attendance. Instead, faculty are advised to excuse absences connected to COVID-19 illness and quarantine.

It’s up to students to inform faculty when their absence is a result of COVID-19 illness or quarantine, as private health information shared with the COVID Health & Safety Team or other community members is confidential. 


Returning to campus

You need to be free of symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 before returning to campus. Close contacts should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 10 days following their exposure to a confirmed case. PCA&D’s 5-Step COVID Guidance Plan.

If you have concerns about returning to campus due to a medical condition that places you in a higher-risk group, please bring this to the attention of the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@pcad.edu.

PCA&D housing


Based on the current CDC guidance and Campus’s Mask Optional Policy, students are no longer required to wear a mask while in public areas. Masks will be optional in all areas of PCA&D Sponsored Housing including entrances, stairwells, lounges, hallways, and laundry rooms. Please consider speaking to your roommates about shared expectations and agreements on when to wear a mask within shared spaces.


All guests, regardless if they have been vaccinated or not, will still be required to wear masks at all times while in PCA&D Housing. The only exception is while they are in your private (single) bedroom. If you share a bedroom (double) with your roommate, that space is not considered private. Guests include anyone who does not live in the same room and/or housing community.



Students may only enter through the main entrance. All other doors will be locked and not accessible. All doors will remain available for emergency exits. 


While the College is mask-optional, visitors should wear a mask based on their preferences, informed by their personal level of risk. Visitors should only visit campus if they are symptom-free and have had no known recent COVID-19 exposures. This includes prospective students and families, speakers, and event attendees. 


Classrooms will remain at full capacity unless there is a significant rise in positive cases on campus or Lancaster County moves into the high transmission category. The Atrium and meeting rooms will be guided by their normal occupancy rates.


Current designated eating areas include the Atrium, Co-Lab, 3rd floor Cafe, senior studios, and the Learning Commons. Only covered beverages are permitted in classrooms. No eating or drinking is permitted in the computer labs. 


PCA&D’s facilities team will continue to clean the building based on CDC guidelines and the PCA&D Cleaning Manual. The PCA&D community can assist by following the cleaning protocol posted in public areas. Hand sanitizers are available upon request by contacting facilities@pcad.edu.


Your wellbeing

The Student Affairs division works with a team of trained and licensed counselors to provide enhanced mental health support through in-person and virtual counseling sessions along with Lyceum (a group setting which promotes emotional and mental health and wellness). Any student who would like to access this service should contact deanofstudents@pcad.edu.

Self-care strategies are good for your mental and physical health and can help you take charge of your life. Take care of your body and your mind and connect with others to benefit your mental health.

Additional questions?

Send any COVID-19 policy and protocol questions to the COVID
& Safety Team at health@pcad.edu

All artwork by Kristin Bere '22, Illustration