Fall Return Q&A with President McNulty

Check out this interview between President Paul J. McNulty '80 and Lisa (Adams '78) Gordon, Alumni Council Member and News Producer-Anchor with WICU/WSEE in Erie, as they discuss the College's fall Return to School Health and Safety Plan.

UPDATE: September 4, 2020
Our Great Start and Big Challenge

Dear Friends,

We’re off to a great start! As of this morning, we have had only one positive test and a very low number of students have been in quarantine. The Lord has greatly blessed us these first two weeks.  Based on what we know today, this is truly remarkable, especially if you are following what is happening at other colleges and universities. And now that we have almost passed the 14-day mark, the concern about students bringing the coronavirus with them to campus is significantly reduced. That’s the good news.

Now, here is our challenge. Compliance with our community agreement needs to improve. I’m particularly concerned about students leaving campus for insignificant and unnecessary reasons. We have provided some flexibility in this area and asked you to exercise good judgment. However, it appears that too many students left campus last weekend for personal enjoyment and not an important reason as described in our policy. I’m also concerned about students not wearing face masks when they are not physically separated from others, which is defined in our policy as being within six feet of another person for more than 15 continuous minutes.

The consequences of this non-compliance are real. First, we will end face-to-face classes if our infection numbers are too high to manage appropriately. Second, exposed students are required to quarantine for 14 days. Maintaining social distancing is the best way to avoid this undesirable situation or putting a friend in this circumstance. And third, students refusing to honor the community agreement will be required to leave campus.

So, please, let’s stay committed to working together for a historically successful semester. If God is pleased, we can accomplish something very special. Regardless of what any of us may think about the science and public policies associated with COVID-19, we must demonstrate integrity (actions matching our words) and follow the requirements of the community agreement. Now watch Mr. Hardesty’s video message to you for more on these concerns: 09/04/20 Message to the Students.

Thank you for your cooperation.

In His peace,
P. McNulty

UPDATE: August 17, 2020
Orientation Board and Freshman Move-In

Orientation Board is made up of over 100 upperclassmen chosen expressly because they want to serve you by helping to acclimate you to life at Grove City College!  When you arrive on campus, a member of OB will approach your car and ask if you would like help moving your belongings into your room. If so, the OB team will help to make quick work of the move-in process. If not, we’ll understand and respect your family’s wishes to unload without help.

As outlined in the College’s Health and Safety Plan, up to two members of your family may help unload your vehicle and set-up your room. While we wish we could invite families to stay longer, we would ask that they plan to leave at the end of your three hour move-in time. Doing so will help with social distancing and will aid in our efforts to provide students with a safe and healthy living environment.

Due to the worldwide pandemic, we’ve had to drastically modify our typical move-in process and orientation schedule. This includes canceling some of the traditional large events scheduled for move-in day. Please know we are doing this to better promote the health and well-being of those in our community. But, rest assured, your OB Connection Group mentors (you will learn more about them soon!) and Resident Assistants will connect with you soon after you arrive in order to help with your transition to Grove City College! LEARN MORE>>

UPDATE: August 5, 2020
Fall 2020 Return to Campus Health and Safety Plan

Dear Campus Community,

I am thankful for the opportunity to send you this “Fall 2020 Return to Campus Health and Safety Plan,” and the tremendous work of our FRPC over the past two months.  Please take the time to become familiar with our policies and procedures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.  If you have any questions, please use the email address in the introduction to the plan.

Fall 2020 Health & Safety Plan

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation with this plan.  I am excited about the return of students to campus and the start of a historical academic year.

In His peace,
P. McNulty


UPDATE: August 4, 2020
Update on Our Fall Return

Dear Friends,

This week you will be receiving a lot of information about our plans for preventing COVID-19 infections on campus this fall. With information such as guidelines and mandates constantly changing, the preparation of these plans has been extraordinarily challenging. For example, we prepared a schedule for when students should return assuming that a large number of varsity athletes would be coming back to campus early. As you may have heard, most fall sports have now been switched to spring, so the return schedule needed to be revised. Return timing and procedures will be sent to students later this week. This is the world in which we now live.

Our Fall Return Health and Safety Plan will be sent to you tomorrow morning. Please be sure to read this document.  Here are some of the plans that I expect will be of most interest to you:

  • Masking policy: Face coverings will be required in most places and circumstances.
  • Campus activities: Most off-campus activities will not be permitted and some beloved campus social events will need to be cancelled this fall.
  • Off-campus travel: This will be discouraged.
  • Monitoring and testing: With our current plans, and they could change, students will be randomly selected at some point for testing, and you may be notified about potential COVID-19 exposure as a result of our contact tracing efforts.
  • The Community Agreement: The language of the agreement will be in the Health and Safety Plan, and students will be instructed on how to affirm these commitments later this week.

The bottom line is this:  we are purposely beginning the semester cautiously with the hope of avoiding the spread of the virus within our campus community. The young and healthy among us may ask why worry about this possibility to such an extent given the relatively low risk of serious illness for so many. Well, this is an academic community with many members, including students, who are more vulnerable to the threat of this disease than you may perceive yourself to be. When we are at our best, we care about others the way we care about ourselves.

This chapter in our College’s illustrious history has tremendous potential to become a story you will treasure for the rest of your lives. Lord willing, you will tell of the collective sacrifice and heightened conscientiousness that prevailed against a powerful pandemic. In this narrative, the first-rate education we highly value will have come to pass along with other great accomplishments in this moment in time.

In His peace,
P. McNulty


UPDATE: July 23, 2020
Vital Information on Returning to Campus

Dear Students,

I hope you are experiencing a healthy, pleasant, and productive summer in this historically challenging season of our public life. Lord willing, one month from tomorrow in-person classes will begin on campus. Since the departure of students last March, we’ve been eagerly looking forward to this return.

The Fall Return Planning Committee has been working diligently for the past two months to ensure that you and the College’s employees will enjoy a safe and productive fall semester. As I’m sure you are aware, the circumstances of this COVID-19 pandemic continue to change which makes planning even more difficult. Thank you for your patience as we have been carefully establishing dozens of policies and protocols for our community. We are being advised by an outstanding medical team, and we are partnering with trusted healthcare providers.

When our senior class first arrived on campus in the fall of 2017, we introduced five core values for everyone’s consideration. One of those values is “community.” Since then, we have increasingly emphasized the importance of this value as the divisions in the larger society appear to be widening. We’re not perfect, but our community is a special culture of kindness, cordiality, support, and respect.  And the more our community is marked by these virtues, the more equipped you become to be life-long ambassadors for what is truly good.

Our distinctive community will now be put to the test. Will we selflessly and conscientiously serve the good of the Grove? As the uncertainties of COVID-19 unfold in our country, will GCC demonstrate what one community can accomplish by God’s grace when its members act responsibly? Success in this extraordinary challenge will be a touchpoint of encouragement for all of us in life’s future trials.

So, let’s get started on this mission together. Please carefully read the instructions below. This is the first of several messages about policies and procedures for the new semester. There will be much more information about academic and campus life, but the next steps will focus on how we hope to establish a healthy baseline for the beginning of the year.


  • Pre-arrival screening and testing through Quest Diagnostics
    •  You will receive a screening survey directly from Quest Diagnostics to determine risk for COVID-19 based upon several factors.
    •  Quest Diagnostics will send the survey to you approximately 14 days before your scheduled arrival on campus. This timing is intentional, and it means that students will receive their surveys at different times over the next three weeks. Please monitor your GCC email account for the message from Quest Diagnostics – you must complete and submit the survey as soon as it arrives.
    •  If you are selected for testing as a result of the screening process, Quest Diagnostics will send you a COVID-19 test kit in the mail with detailed instructions for administering the test under the auspices of a medical professional through an online telehealth appointment. If you receive a test kit from Quest Diagnostics, please complete it promptly and return the test as directed.
    •  Those of you who live in what are being referred to as “hot spots” will not be required to quarantine. But depending on various factors, you may be selected by Quest for testing.
    •  If you clear the screening or receive a negative test result, you will be permitted to arrive on campus as scheduled.
    •  Students who test positive must meet certain conditions and be reevaluated by a health professional to determine whether they may come to campus. Instructions will be provided in these cases.
    •  You must complete this health clearance (screening, and, if necessary, testing) before coming to campus.
  • Moving in
    •  You should self-isolate to the best of your ability for five (5) days prior to your scheduled return to campus.
    •  The move-in process will be staggered to reduce traffic flow.
    •  New student arrivals are extended to two (2) days and returning student arrivals are extended to four (4) days to allow for distancing during check-in times.
    •  International students must communicate their return plans to the College by contacting Mr. Scott Gordon as soon as possible so that appropriate quarantine accommodations can be made.
    •  Target move-in dates are as follows:
      •  Athletes: August 10-14 – but look for confirmation and additional guidance from coaches next week
      •  RAs: August 12
      •  Band: August 12
      •  Orientation Board: August 13 and 14
      •  Freshmen and Transfers: August 19-20
      •  Upperclassmen: August 20-23
    •  Please monitor your GCC email account for more information concerning move-in details.
  •  Community Agreement
    •  As I stated in the introduction above, establishing and maintaining a healthy and safe community will require everyone’s commitment to the common good of our campus community. To reinforce this shared responsibility, you will be required to sign a “Community Agreement” prior to arriving on campus. Through this agreement, you will acknowledge your understanding and willingness to support the College’s COVID-prevention policies and procedures for this coming semester.
    •  One example of what the College will expect: you will be free to leave campus, but it will be important for the good of our community that you make wise decisions about where you go and what you do. We will be encouraging you to stay within the Grove City area and only go beyond the surrounding region for special occasions or necessity. The more everyone stays in “the Bubble,” the better off we will be.
    •  This agreement and related instructions will be sent to you in early August.
  •  Masking, social distancing and monitoring  
    •  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has ordered that masks be worn in public areas unless there is a medical reason not to do so. In accordance with these guidelines, the College will observe masking and social distancing protocols during the fall semester. A branded face mask will be given to you. Please stay tuned for details about where masks must be worn and how we will be creating safer environments for learning and living.
    •  We will also be monitoring the health of our community through continuous and random testing and attention to potential symptoms of the coronavirus. Again, details on these initiatives will be forthcoming.

In addition to the additional information and instructions that will be provided to you directly in the days ahead, our comprehensive “Fall 2020 Return to Campus Health and Safety Plan” will be publicly available on August 3. This plan outlines nearly all the policies the College is implementing to resume safely academic and student life.

Please remember to pray for our community. Our goal is to accept gladly the changes and inconveniences so that we can prosper together through this unique opportunity. I am highly confident that God will bless us in the unprecedented endeavor, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

In His peace,
P. McNulty

UPDATE: July 16, 2020
College to work with Quest Diagnostics to screen incoming students
Grove City College is partnering with Quest Diagnostics, one the nation’s largest and best-known medical laboratory companies, to screen and possibly test students for coronavirus before they return to campus for in-person instruction next month. Detailed instructions for the return process will be distributed to students in the near future. “Quest Diagnostics has a national presence and a proven track record of experience in the screening, testing and ability to deliver results promptly to students wherever they are located. This is a critical step we are taking to safeguard the health of our campus before classes begin on Aug. 24. It also affords the College the opportunity to establish a baseline for the overall health of our community and the ability to benchmark trends throughout the semester. The Quest Diagnostics partnership is an integral component of our return to campus plan. Coupled with additional on-campus testing measures and protocols that monitor and maintain the health and safety of our community, we’re doing all that we can to mitigate risk associated with the virus,” College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 said. In response to COVID-19, Quest Diagnostics is expanding their services to institutions of higher learning as they prepare to bring students back to campus. Quest is a preferred partner of Allegheny Health Network (AHN.) Grove City College recently signed on to AHN’s Physician Consultant Program, which provides expert advice and best practices guidance to businesses and institutions in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. LEARN MORE>>

UPDATE: July 10, 2020
College partners with AHN to prepare for safe and healthy fall return
Grove City College is collaborating with Allegheny Health Network (AHN) to protect students and employees as in-person instruction and residence life resume on campus in the fall. The College recently signed a partnership agreement with AHN’s Physician Consult for Business program, which will provide tailored guidance from medical and public health experts on best practices to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on the campus community. Under the program, the College will retain an AHN physician consultant who will advise and support administrators and staff on best practices to prevent the virus and respond to and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Through a designated consulting physician, Grove City College will have access to a chief medical officer and an advisory board of medical professionals with expertise in infection prevention, infectious diseases, mental and behavioral health, laboratory medicine and employee health, primary care and wellness. Allegheny Health Network, a leading medical provider in the region, initiated the Physician Consult for Business program as part of their effort to deal with the coronavirus pandemic as businesses return to work under state and federal mandates and guidelines. LEARN MORE>>

UPDATE: June 18, 2020
Guidance issued regarding the Fall Semester schedule
Students will not return to campus after the Thanksgiving break.  Instead, there will be one week of online classes beginning on November 30 prior to finals.  In order to replace the instructional days of December 7-9, classes will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 23 and 24, of Thanksgiving week and on Labor Day.  We will also cancel the fall break on October 15 and 16 to limit student travel out of the area.  Alternative off days will be scheduled which will most likely be October 2 (day before Homecoming) and October 13.


UPDATE: June 4, 2020
Working groups established to continue planning for fall return
The Fall Return Planning Committee has formed six working groups to tackle the hundreds of issues that must be addressed.  The groups are:  Residential Life and Dining, Health, Academic Life, Athletics, Campus Life, and Operations and Employees.  The Committee’s goal is to have a comprehensive written plan for a safe and healthy first semester finalized no later than August 3.  We expect to issue important information in July as the full plan is being developed.  

UPDATE: May 11, 2020
College prepares for return to classes on August 24
Grove City College will open as scheduled for the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 24 with protocols in place to protect the health and safety of students, employees and the larger community in light of the coronavirus pandemic, College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 announced today.

McNulty has assembled a cross-disciplinary Fall Return Planning Committee to identify and address key campus and community concerns associated with the return of students and develop and implement a comprehensive plan that ensures an excellent academic and residential experience in the fall.

“It is our intention to return to our distinctive residential program in compliance with applicable government directives and relevant guidelines to protect the health and safety our entire community. The College is now marshaling resources – including on-campus expertise alongside outside community health services to chart a safe path to the start of a new fall semester,” McNulty said. “Students and families should know that Grove City College is determined to be prepared to the best of its ability to deliver the learning and living experience for which it is so highly regarded.”

Comprised of administrators, faculty and staff, the committee chaired by President McNulty will formulate extensive plans that support the continuity and quality of the College’s core functions – academic affairs, student activities, athletics, dining and residence halls, career services and more.  Best practices involving testing, contact tracing, monitoring, social distancing, separation and enhanced cleaning will be fully considered and addressed by the committee.  The Fall Return Planning Committee includes:

  • Dr. Peter Frank ’95, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Michael Buckman ’82, Vice President for Business & Finance
  • Joseph Cirelli, Assistant Dean of Student Life
  • Dr. John Coyne ’04, Associate Dean of Student Life
  • Jonathan DiBenedetto, Director of Residence Life
  • Dr. Vincent F. DiStasi '88, Vice President for Information Technology, Chief Information Officer
  • Michael Duda ’95, Risk and Insurance Specialist
  • JonErik Germadnik, General Manager Bon Appetit
  • Todd Gibson '02, Director of Athletics
  • Susan Grimm, Environmental Health & Safety Specialist
  • Larry Hardesty, Vice President for Student Life and Learning
  • Dr. John Inman, Vice President for Enrollment Services and Registrar
  • Dr. Paul Kemeny, Dean of the Calderwood School of Arts & Letters
  • Dr. Charles E. Kriley ’88, Professor of Chemistry
  • James M. Lopresti, Vice President for Operations
  • Melissa MacLeod ’96, Senior Director of Alumni and College Relations
  • Jacquelyn Muller, Senior Director of Communications
  • Dr. Constance N. Nichols ’93, Professor of Education and Department Chair
  • Amy Pagano, Director of Zerbe Health & Wellness Center
  • Johanna Paul ’12, Visit Coordinator Admissions
  • Zachary Pitcher ’17, Chapel Programming Director
  • Dr. Richard Savage, Dean of the Hopeman School of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Dr. Kevin S. Seybold, Professor of Psychology and Department Chair
  • Betty Tallerico, Assistant to the President
  • Dr. Jeffrey Tedford ’00, Associate Professor of Music and Department Chair
  • Marci Wagner, Director of Human Resources
  • Michelle Williams ’01, Director of Financial Services
  • Lee Wishing ‘83, Vice President for Student Recruitment
  • Dr. Brian Yowler, Assistant Professor of Biology