Smeal Update: October 9, 2020

Reminder for staff and faculty to complete Brand Value Survey

In case you haven’t already, please consider taking 5-7 minutes to fill out the appropriate staff or faculty Brand Value Survey. This represents the first step in a more comprehensive study to understand how different stakeholder groups perceive Smeal’s overall brand strength. We will be reaching out to you again in the coming month for additional feedback. Links are found below:

Staff Brand Value Survey

Faculty Brand Value Survey

Smeal in the News

Lecture series to honor Austin Jaffe

After Austin Jaffe died unexpectedly in May 2019, his family chose to honor his legacy by combining memorial gifts with their own private commitment to endow the Austin J. Jaffe Real Estate Lecture Series. Read the story.

Series about pioneering Smeal alumnae starts

Long before Jane Offutt Burns earned the distinction of being the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in business from Penn State, she was breaking other barriers. Read the story.

Keep a watchful eye out for students in distress

The pandemic has created some acute challenges, especially for students. If you are aware of a student who is experiencing emotional distress, financial hardship, food insecurity, or a similar challenge, please consider the following:

Penn State benefits open enrollment period planned for November

The University’s 2021 Benefits Open Enrollment will be begin on Nov. 2 and run through Nov. 20. Several resources are available to help faculty and staff make informed decisions. Information about those resources are found in this Penn State News story.

TIAA’s State College office will remain closed for rest of 2020

The State College TIAA office will be working remotely for the remainder of 2020. Virtual or phone meetings are available. TIAA believes that the local office will most likely open in the second quarter (April-June) of 2021 and that it will resume on-campus/on-site meetings at Penn State locations in fall 2021. Employees can schedule TIAA meetings online or by calling 800-732-8353.

Do you know someone who rocks? Nominate them!

Each month the Smeal Staff Advisory Committee names a You Rock! Award recipient. You can nominate a co-worker for the You Rock! Award

The Smeal Community Weekly Poll

The Staff Advisory Committee, in an effort to engage the Smeal community, is conducting a weekly poll. This week's survey is a sweet question about Halloween. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Frequently-asked questions from faculty

I received a notification letter from Student Support Services stating that a student will be unable to attend class in-person from Sept. 23-27. Why does this date range not match the length of Penn State’s quarantine and isolation requirements?

The length of time listed in the notification letter depends on many factors, including when contact tracers got in touch with the student and when the student’s symptoms began. Contact tracers, based on the student’s report, identify the time frame during which a student must isolate or quarantine and then make a referral to Student Support Services to complete the faculty notification. There can be a day or two of ‘lag time’ between when a contact tracer speaks with a student and when the notifications are sent to faculty. A student may have been instructed to isolate on 9/22, for example, but the faculty notification letter is not sent until 9/24.

For asymptomatic students who test positive, the 10 days’ isolation begins from the date on which the student was tested, but Penn State receives the test results a couple days later. Because asymptomatic students are not asked to isolate until they have a positive result, the timeframe for faculty notifications in these cases will always be less than 10 days. Other students have symptoms, wait a day or two to get tested, get a positive test result, and when contact tracers speak with the student, the student indicates that they have already been isolating for 5 days. In these situations, Student Support Services will often indicate the day the student started to isolate in the letter. Finally, students identified as a “close contact” who need to quarantine will rarely quarantine for a full 14 days because typically, contact tracers do not talk to the student on the day on which they had their last contact with the positive individual.

In summary, the fact that the time frame on the notification letters is sometimes less than 10 or 14 days is an indicator of how long ago the student was exposed or tested positive, and of the lag time between the quarantine/isolation dates being determined and the faculty notification letter being sent.