Holy Family University Response to Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

We are experiencing something unprecedented in our lifetimes. We’re doing our best to collect and answer all questions here, but please know that as this situation evolves, we are learning more and answers below will be updated regularly.

Has anyone from the University community tested positive for COVID-19?

As of March 13, 2020, we are not aware of anyone testing positive for COVID-19 from the University community.  


Is the University officially closed?

The University is open for employees who should continue to report until further notice. 

All face-to-face and blended  classes will begin online learning Wednesday, March 18 through the end of the semester. To access your classes online, log onto Canvas. 

All face-to-face and blended courses will resume in a fully online format on Wednesday, March 18th. This arrangement will last for the remainder of the spring semester. Please note that the sole learning management system for this transition will be Canvas, and all instructors are expected to use the multiple features of Canvas to facilitate this transition. 

This arrangement does not apply to courses already being offered in a fully online format. These courses will proceed as structured with no interruption or change.

What buildings are closed?

All buildings, including the Library, the Campus Center, and academic buildings, are limited to use by staff and faculty only except for:

  • Residence halls are open for students and necessary staff, but will be closed as of Sunday, March 15 at 5 pm
  • The dining hall may be used by those living in residence halls through Sunday, March 15.
  • The computer labs, ETC rooms 307 and 308 on the Philadelphia campus and Room 132 on the Newtown campus will remain open between 7 am - 11 pm daily

How do I return my books at the end of the semester? 

The bookstore is closed, and communications will be forthcoming as to how books may be returned at the end of the semester.

What is Holy Family doing to clean the campus?

All common areas are being cleaned and disinfected, particularly high traffic areas including door knobs, elevator buttons, and railings.  All bathrooms are cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis. We have invested in an additional deeper level of cleaning and sanitation as another precautionary measure. 


How will we access classes online?

Online classes will be administered through Canvas. Students who are unfamiliar with the learning management system should review the “Getting Started” module housed in each online course. For additional support, you may contact the Canvas Support Hotline at (844) 243-8404.

Instructors will communicate directly with students regarding alternative assignments for clinicals, student teaching, and internships.

I am a nursing student, how will I complete my clinical rotation? Will the simulation labs remain open?

The School of Nursing and Allied Health Services is looking into alternatives. Please be in touch with your instructor or school dean.

I am an education student teaching at a school that is closing. How will I complete my student teaching?

The School of Education is looking into alternatives. Please be in touch with your instructor or school dean.


What happens to the meetings I have scheduled with the Career Center?

These meetings will be available via phone. 

Will Commencement be held?

As of today, we hope to hold Commencement as planned. 


I am a student who is concerned about my Work-Study job/the job I have within the University. What should I do?

You will receive additional information from Student Financial Aid or from the department where you work. 


What’s happening with campus events?

All meetings of Registered Student Organizations, or those hosted by Campus Advisory Board (CAB) will be cancelled for the remainder of the semester. Stay tuned for more information about virtual student engagement opportunities.


Are the residence halls closed?

All residence halls will be closed as of Sunday, March 15, at 5 pm. If you live in a residence hall, please refer to the email of March 12 from Kim Maguire, Director of Residence Life, for details. 

What about housing for the fall of 2020? 

The deadline for housing applications and deposits is March 20. We will be operating throughout the remainder of the semester by phone and email.


When will athletics resume?

All athletic events are cancelled through the semester, as per the CACC.

Are intramurals cancelled?

Intramurals are cancelled for the remainder of the semester.


What is coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus that can cause a wide range of illnesses, from the common cold to severe pneumonia. The novel coronavirus (sometimes referred to as Wuhan coronavirus for the place where it was first detected) at the center of the current epidemic has been named SARS-CoV-19, and the illness it causes has been named COVID-19 (abbreviation for coronavirus disease 2019). This is a new strain of coronavirus.

Why did the World Health Organization (WHO) call this a global health emergency?

This is a new virus and information is still being learned about its impact, thus WHO is being cautious. Also, there are concerns if the virus spreads to countries with limited health care resources, which are already compromised due to scarcity of food or clean water, the impact could be significant. 

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. 

Who should I contact if I feel sick? If I am diagnosed?

Regardless of who they have been in contact with, anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should self-quarantine and call their healthcare provider.  In addition, they should contact the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Will the University identify by name individuals who test positive for COVID-19?

No, in order to protect the privacy of our community members, the University is not able to share the identities of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.  The Philadelphia Department of Public Health interviews each individual who tests positive for COVID-19 to determine those people with whom they have had close contact. If you are considered to be at risk because you were in close contact with one of those individuals, the Department of Public Health will contact you.

How is the virus spread?

It is spread through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets, similar to a cold or the flu. Person-to-person spread of this coronavirus is most likely to occur with close contact, or contact within six feet, with an infected person who coughs or sneezes.

What is the treatment for it?

There is currently no medication to treat or prevent coronavirus. Like many viruses, steps may be taken to manage symptoms caused by coronavirus. Those who have become severely ill with the novel coronavirus have been hospitalized to receive care.

Explain self-monitoring, quarantine, and isolation?

Self-monitoring means staying at home and avoiding group gatherings and public places. During this time, individuals should also monitor their health carefully, checking their temperature at least once a day. 

Quarantine is separating people who appear to be healthy but may have been exposed to a contagious illness to make sure that they do not become sick and spread the illness to others. It typically covers the “incubation period” of a given illness, which refers to the period of time between exposure and when symptoms of the illness are known to appear.

Isolation means keeping people who are sick and contagious separated from people who are healthy to ensure that they do not spread the illness.

What can I do to protect myself and others?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Do not share any food, drinks, cups, utensils, etc.
  • If you are sick, stay home and do not have contact with others.

For more information on the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.