The Ins and Outs of COVID Reporting on College Campuses

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 07, 2020 | 0 Comments

Traditionally, reporting on the behavior of others - or “telling on” them to an authority figure- isn't seen as “cool.” Even if you don't exactly agree with the actions of another, this unspoken rule states that it's not your call to judge the activity of your peers.

That tacit agreement could come tumbling to the ground. With COVID-19 searing its way through campus after campus, many colleges have instituted stringent public health guidelines. At Penn State, one of these guidelines specifically sets the expectation that students call out others who may not be acting in the best health of their community.

See Something, Say Something: The Penn State COVID Reporting Plan

In an email to its students early in September of 2020, Penn State urged the community to uphold the safety guidelines set in place. The email also encouraged an atmosphere of constant reporting. “Penn State encourages the reporting of misconduct,” it said. “If you see something, say something.”

To make it very clear that there is an expectation for students to call out anything that isn't in the best interest of public health, the administration of Penn State put together an online reporting form. Penn State has also made it clear that violating their health guidelines can result in full sanctions and punitive measures, “including suspension or expulsion from the University.”

Any employees of Penn State who do not follow these guidelines could face termination, as well.

The Penn State Public Health Guidelines

Fortunately, the guidelines that all students and employees of Penn State must follow are easily accessible online. To be in complete compliance regarding Penn State's COVID-19 policies, all community members must:

  • Wear face masks whenever they are indoors, or outdoors if they're in a crowded area where social distancing is not possible.
  • Social distance, or, as the CDC recommends, maintain a distance of six feet or more between themselves and any members of differing households.
  • Submit to surveillance testing whenever the university requests it, so that the university can best track the spread of the virus within the academic community.
  • Assist with all contact tracing efforts when requested to do so by the university.
  • Refrain from hosting or attending events with large numbers of people in attendance. As defined by Penn State, this would include any gathering with more than 25 people in one indoor location, or 250 people in an outdoor space.
  • Follow all guidance regarding travel as long as these guidelines are in effect.

While these guidelines may seem stringent, they are very similar to the guidance posted by the CDC, as well as expectations set on other college campuses.

If you or a loved one feel that you have experienced unfair treatment or unwarranted accusations related to these new expectations or the updated recommendations for students to report on one another, it's essential to know that you can take steps to protect yourself. For more information about pursuing fair treatment, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today for assistance by calling 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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