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Contingency Planning Process:

Good composition of Committees at the same time which committee will address Financial Budget and Financial Plans? Or will be addressed by the executive committee?

Financial planning follows the decisions made about the contingency plans.  For instance, plans about maintaining social distancing when we are on campus will likely incur expenses, and the finance office will calculate those costs.  Some recommendations may lead to savings, and the finance office will calculate those savings.  Decisions about resource allocation in all scenarios rests with the senior officers of the University, who are empowered by the Board to make those decisions. 

How are these students being recruited for these focus groups? 

The Office of Student Life often conducts student outreach with engaged and committed students who express interest in outside activities.  Our student leaders and those who express a dedication and care for the University often volunteer for extracurricular assignments.  Given the short timeframe to conduct all of these contingency planning activities, the Office of Student Life will provide a starting list of students to be contacted for this focus group, and will serve as the liaison to the group during the planning process. 

Various organizations are making novel personnel, budget and cash flow decisions/plans. So can administration consider adding a committee with a charge to consider Finance/Budget/Human Resources? 

These recommendations would come from the Managed Resources Committee or, in some cases, from the other committees as they relate to their focus areas.

Will there be a hiring freeze for faculty and staff?   Will vacant faculty positions be filled? 

While the University does not have an absolute hiring freeze in place at this time, we are not hiring for positions outside of safety and health, nor are we filling open faculty positions for the fall.  This excludes those faculty and staff positions with outstanding offers for the fall. 

Since we are located in the city should a representative from the mayor’s office be included? 

We are in contact with the city, county, and state government officials regularly. 

When are we going to stop being a follower of all the other schools and just focus on what is best for us? What scientific resources are you consulting to make the call? The longer we wait the less time we have to make efficient, concrete plans that will serve our students better. 

From the onset of COVID-19 the University has looked to public health experts and leadership at the federal, state and local levels that have issued the mandates we all, as responsible members of the community, should follow.  For the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, we will continue to follow those mandates and apply the science and governmental guidelines in establishing a path that is best for our community on campus and for the larger community we are a part of.  To do anything less would be irresponsible.

Many of COPA’s decisions will rely upon Housekeeping and Physical Plant actions regarding air and environment quality. Will COPA committees receive strategic plans from these areas?   

The University will have a comprehensive plan appropriate to each area, including the Conservatory, to meet public safety requirements.  Protocols in the Playhouse will likely be very different than protocols in Academic Hall in some respects, but the underlying principles are the same.

Safety and Health:

Will we have more nurses on staff to aid in testing? are we capable of obtaining tests if we are on ground?

These recommendations will come through the contingency planning process, including those plans coming from the administration units, such as Student Affairs, which includes the University nurse, and Operations.

Diversity + Inclusion - students relentlessly expressed that there was lack of counseling available to them pre Covid.  Will we have more resources available to them during this emotionally distressing time?

The University Counseling Center is open virtually and resources are available to our students.  The University continues to evaluate options to increase mental health support for all students.  Please stay abreast of Counseling Center services by visiting its website at

I have seen where you can get foot buttons to use in the elevators.  I know this doesn't help with the social distancing, but will for cleanliness.  Can that be looked in to? 

This is the type of suggestion that we expect contingency planning teams to review and recommend.

Should we be thinking about the usage of elevators and stairwells related to social distancing?

This is the type of suggestion that we expect contingency planning teams to review and recommend.

Would the university consider bringing only some departments back on campus (ie performing arts) to support social distancing?

This is the type of suggestion that we expect contingency planning teams to review and recommend.

Does the university have the ability to enforce social distancing guidelines if we are to get back together in person (testing all students/faculty/staff regularly, contact tracing, etc)? We already struggled to keep a staff nurse pre-pandemic. 

Planning Teams are asked to consider scenarios including social distancing measures and other public health recommendations.  These scenarios are included in the planning to be completed by the Planning Teams.

In addition to the enrollment scenarios, what about the public health scenarios? These should also be included in our preparations.

Planning Teams are asked to consider scenarios including social distancing measures and other public health recommendations.  These scenarios are included in the planning to be completed by the Planning Teams.

If we are to practice social distancing on ground, how in the world is the university going to address crowding outside of elevators, six feet means one person per elevator ride, no?  This seems very unlikely; will we not follow social distancing rules as a result?

Enforcement of guidelines is always difficult, and even more so at a University where students live, work, and attend class.  Our contingency planning teams will make recommendations in this area, and our Director of Safety and Risk, Jeff Checcio, is leading the development of the campus safety plan.

Which subcommittee will address the mental health issues and needs of the students, faculty, staff, resulting from COVID 19?

Quality Student Experience for students.  Human Resources for employees.


Can you share information about any adjustments in recruitment of new students including communications with enrolled/deposited students to try to maintain new student numbers and any new efforts toward retention of current students?

  1. Admission counselors continue to contact applicants and families via phone, text, chat, and email.
  2. We’ve added virtual options for students and families for daily appointments, Admitted Students Days, and one on one appointments.
  3. We are pushing our virtual tour and have added social media initiatives to show what life is like on campus (ie, photos and stories of students doing things). 
  4. New applications are coming in along with admission requirement documents.  Adjustments have been made to push as many applicants through the admission funnel without lowering our admission standards.
  5. Tuition deposit deadline has been moved to June 1and housing deposit to July 1.  We are still receiving new tuition deposits daily.
  6. Staff are monitoring comments from students and families to see if any common themes emerge. So far nothing out of the ordinary.
  7. We are working with the Deans and Dept. Chairs to create welcome videos for new students and are assisting faculty with Q&A sessions for incoming students.

What are we doing to incentivize students to enroll?

We have moved the tuition deposit date to June 1 and the housing deposit date to July 1.  We have moved all students to “test optional” admission if they were unable to take an ACT or SAT. We are accepting “unofficial” documentation to complete admissions files.  For example, we will take a screen shot of a test score or an email from a high school guidance counselor.  We encourage students to file for financial aid appeals if their family income has been disrupted due to the pandemic.   The bottom line is we are being as flexible as we can to work with students without lowering our admissions standards.  

Are we guaranteeing online access with wifi hotspots and technology if they have to take classes online?

At this point, we will work with students on an individual basis to address concerns they have.  When the University went on-line in the Spring semester, the majority of students had the necessary tools in place to take their courses remotely.


Several university presidents and executive staff members, including those at Penn State, Pitt, and CMU, are taking significant salary reductions to offset anticipated losses. Will President Hennigan and others in PPU’s executive team be taking similar salary cuts?

All ideas related to financial matters are currently on the table.  In order to address the significant financial challenges presented because of COVID-19, a comprehensive plan will be presented in June.

How will the $3m from the CARES Act be used in the operating budget for FY 2020-21.

The CARES Act requires that half of the distribution be provided to students in need.  The University recently issued guidelines and an application for students to apply for these funds.  The other half of the distribution can be used to offset University expenses incurred as a result of the move to online education and virtual work.

Is the Diversity and Inclusion Committee that was presented on your deck the existing one from Faculty Assembly, the new university-wide one that was to convene this Spring, or something completely different?

The Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee formed in the Spring 2020 semester was scheduled to kickoff in March.  Due to the timing and the move to online, virtual settings, the Steering Committee did not meet.  This Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s goal is to ensure that, even during social distancing and a pandemic, all students at Point Park feel like they belong at Point Park.

Why is the union not represented on this faculty-admin committee?

The University met with both the full-time and part-time Unions to discuss the different scenarios and the contingency planning process.  All options are available and the University looks forward to continuing to discuss options and solutions.

Does the CBA protect full-time faculty from furloughs?

Collective Bargaining Agreements provide guidance regarding any reductions in force and furloughs.  No one wants to see any employee, whether faculty or staff, furloughed.  We also know that our current environment involves a number of unknowns, and Administration will continue to review Planning Team recommendations, enrollment, and financial analyses in consultation with Staff Assembly, Faculty Assembly, the Full Time Faculty Union, and the Part Time Faculty Union should additional furloughs or reductions in force become necessary.

Will the presentation slide deck be shared with members of the University community?

The information presented during the Point Park Perspectives meeting is also outlined in Dr. John Pearson’s Tuesday/Thursday emails or in the video Dr. Paul Hennigan shared.  The slide deck itself has not been published.

What is the absolute latest date a call will be made as to what format we will pursue for fall classes?

The current situation is fluid and variables change often.  Our expectation is still to be on ground in the fall semester.  Any change to that plan will be made following the advice of the Governor’s office and Public Health officials.

What about coordinators - will they be required to take a cut as they coordinate their programs to prepare them over summer for fall?  Will summer contracts come out for them to get their programs in place prior to fall, or is this considered “service work?”

Coordinator positions are evaluated every year before appointments go out at the beginning the academic year.  As we consider all scenarios, we must be willing to put everything on the table.  At present, however, no changes are in the works.

Any plans for commencement recognition?  Any thoughts on marketing for graduate programs to our graduates since the job market is so poor? 

We surveyed our graduating students, and they overwhelmingly said they did not want a virtual commencement.  Instead, they prefer to wait until they can come together in Pittsburgh for the ceremony.  The University wants to continue to work with our newest Alumni to ensure that their needs are met.