Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: June 19, 2020

Travel and Wellness

Are face coverings required on campus?

For the health and safety of our community, and as required by a state order issued by Governor Tom Wolf, all employees, students and visitors must wear a mask or face covering while on campus. The state recommends people wear cloth face coverings or make their own masks in an effort to save medical masks for health care workers and first responders.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends individuals wear face coverings in public, in addition to observing physical distancing measures, to help stem the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, recent studies have shown that a significant portion of individuals who have COVID-19 lack symptoms, and even those who later develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before their symptoms appear. This means the virus can spread between people in close proximity even if they are not showing symptoms at the time.

A cloth face covering can reduce the risk of transmission in these situations, but does not negate the need for physical distancing. Cloth face coverings can include a scarf that you already own, or can easily be made with or without sewing. Information regarding how to make, use and care for cloth face coverings can be found on the CDC’s website.

How do I self-isolate?
  • Stay home except to get medical care. Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Wear a facemask when you are around other people or pets.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands afterward with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Use soap and water preferentially if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily with a household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Monitor your symptoms, and if they develop or worsen, call your health care provider BEFORE seeking in-person care.

What should my family members/roommates do during quarantine?

  • Help with basic needs in terms of food, medications and other personal items.
  • Stay in another room, or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Use a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible.
  • Prohibit visitors without an essential need from coming into the home.
  • Household members should care for any pets.
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Use soap and water preferentially if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • The patient and household members should wear disposable facemasks when in the same room. Throw masks away after using them.
  • Avoid sharing household items with the patient.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces with a cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly. Use disposable gloves while handling. Wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer after removing gloves.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I feel sick?

If you spent time abroad during the past 14 days and feel sick with fever or cough, or have difficulty breathing:

  • Take your temperature.
  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead BEFORE you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve—not your hands—when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%-95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Prevention is the best way to limit the spread of disease. If you find that you are not feeling well after returning, then please seek medical care as described. Otherwise, quarantine yourself for the specified time so that if you do become ill, the risk of spread of your illness to others is minimal.
Is the University restricting travel to other countries or locations?

We all play a part in proactively reducing the spread of COVID-19 while protecting the health and safety of our community. Therefore, at this time, we encourage all students and employees to refrain from traveling outside of Western Pennsylvania, as the number of reported cases across the country and globe changes on a daily basis.

I am an international student unable to return to the U.S. due to travel restrictions, what should I do?

Contact Natasha Garrett, director of international student services, at for individual advice.


Will the University reopen for the Fall 2020 semester?

We are planning to open our campus and return to classes, activities, and athletics this coming fall semester, to the extent that we are permitted by local and state regulations. Every effort will be made to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff. >

Based upon the most recent guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, we have revised the start date for the semester to account for a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in the late fall. The University plans to begin the fall semester one week early on August 17, forgo fall break, and complete most in-person, on-campus learning for the fall 2020 semester by Tuesday, Nov. 24. Resident students will move-out by Wednesday, Nov. 25. Final exams will be online starting Tuesday, Dec. 2. Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) courses will begin Aug. 24 and will adhere to a separate calendar. At this time, the University will continue to observe Labor Day on Sept. 7.

By mid-July, the La Roche Plan to Reopen Campus will be shared followed by virtual town halls to give everyone an opportunity to ask questions. There is still much uncertainty about the course of the virus and potential therapies and vaccines to counteract it. Yet our extensive planning and preparations can bring some confidence as we look to the future.

Will there be fall break?

No, the University is suspending fall break.

With no fall break, is Commencement still being planned?

Yes, we have tentatively scheduled commencement as a weekend celebration, Friday, Oct. 2 to Sunday, Oct. 4. We are asking that you reserve the entire weekend as the ceremony may need to be slip into multiple parts, in addition to celebrating Baccalaureate and the pre-ceremony awards. We believe that an early fall timeframe provides us with the best chance to ensure a safe commencement weekend – a timeframe far enough in the future to allow for the dissipation of COVID-19 yet well in advance of the start of the winter flu season.

The success of this date will be entirely contingent upon our ability to provide commencement in a safe and appropriate manner. Should this not be the case, we will postpone the ceremony to a time when we can be confident of a safe gathering. We will respect all government recommended restrictions.

Please be assured that having a ceremony in October does not delay degree attainment. Your degree will be conferred in May (or August) depending on the successful completion of graduation requirements, and irrespective of the ceremony date. Degrees will be awarded at the normal time, and final transcripts will reflect the students’ degrees and their conferral date.

When will Providence Institute begin? 

Providence Institute students will receive an information packet in the mail soon. The packet will include a detailed schedule for the pre-session that will begin on Aug. 12.

What does the change in start date mean for accelerated courses?

First eight-week accelerated session courses will start on Aug. 17 and end on Oct. 6. Second eight-week accelerated session courses will begin on Oct. 7 and conclude on Dec. 4. 

Will the University be closed on Labor Day?

Yes, the University still plans to observe the Labor Day holiday.

Will there still be sports in December?

We are awaiting NCAA decisions in this regard.

Are classes and housing being offered for the summer semester?

Summer classes have moved to an online format. Tuition is discounted and there are no fees for summer classes. Multiple sessions from three weeks to 10 weeks begin May 26.

The free housing option typically available for the summer months is not being extended jointly with summer classes. We realize it may be impossible for some students to stay at or return home for the summer. Therefore, limited summer housing options will be available at a discounted rate for those who need it. Students who plan to have a Fall 2020 housing contract will have priority for the limited space. Summer housing applications are available on the housing portal in My.LaRoche on the left hand side under applications. For questions, please call the Housing and Residence Life office at 412-536-1195 or email

I don’t have access to a computer or Wi-Fi. Can I come to campus to use the computers or library?

The library is closed until further notice, but HAC208 computer lab is open this summer to help you complete your assignments. For your safety and to comply with social distancing guidelines, we are requiring that you place a reservation prior to accessing the lab. Each reservation is for a two-hour shift, but you are welcome to reserve more than one shift. You will need to go through the steps for each two-hour shift. To do this:

  1. Access the La Roche Intranet Site ( 
  2. Log in using your La Roche network username and password.
  3. Click on:
  4. Select the date you would like to reserve and click on ‘Continue’.
  5. Enter your phone number and the time slot you would like to reserve and then click ‘Submit Request’.

You will receive an email confirmation. Please make sure you have a copy (electronic is fine) when you arrive at the lab.

Please note that the computer stations are cleaned daily.  For your added safety, disinfecting wipes are available in the lab for you to use to wipe the computer keyboard, mouse and work surface for the computer you will be using.

If you do not have a reservation, please do not enter the lab. It is very important that we keep the number of students to a minimum.h

How do I return overdue library books? Will I be charged a late fee?

All books, including E-Z Borrow and Interlibrary books, can be returned to the book drop box located outside of the Wright Library or may be returned once the library is open again. No one will be charged late fees on overdue books while the library remains closed. Be sure to return your books once the library reopens.

I need help finding references for my upcoming research paper or project. How can I receive help from the library staff?

Library staff are available for one-on-one reference assistant. Set up a meeting with a librarian today. You also can visit the library’s YouTube page for videos on how to best search databases.

Will I still be able to access Student Academic Support Services? 

Yes, find more detailed information about our services by visiting Student Academic Support Services.

Is the campus bookstore open?

The bookstore is closed to foot-traffic but open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to process online orders and take phone calls. You can reach the bookstore by calling 412-536-1139.

University Operations

    Can I still use the facilities in the Kerr Fitness & Sports Center?

    The Kerr Fitness & Sports Center is currently closed. The facilities also will be cleaned and sanitized during this time.

    Are campus visits/tours affected at this time?

    Individual campus visits and tours are being scheduled virtually. The admissions office is operating, and we encourage you to call to discuss options that work best for you: 412-536-1270. 

    The admissions office remains open. Prospective students may continue to work with their counselors and continue with their enrollment steps. Several virtual events are planned throughout the summer.

    Will Mass still take place in Magdalen Chapel?

    University Masses are suspended until further notice. Bishop David Zubik has dispensed with the Sunday Mass obligation for all in our diocese. This includes the 4 p.m. Saturday Mass at Visitation Chapel at Kearns Spirituality Center as well as the Magdalen Chapel Mass at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays.

    Will the University still provide counseling and health services?

    Counseling and health services are still available via phone or video. Please contact Lori Arend, director of counseling and health services, at 412-847-2506.

    Health services are provided by UPMC Urgent Care in Arcadia Center on McKnight Road.  They remain open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. If you are sick, call ahead to make sure Urgent Care has an available time. You must show your La Roche ID.

        Resident Students

        When can students move in?

        Freshmen move-in day will take place on Thursday, Aug. 13 and Friday, Aug. 14. The Office of Housing and Residence Life will create a schedule to determine who moves in on which date to lower the amount of people on campus. 

        Upperclassmen are scheduled to move in Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16. Residence Life also will notify each student with their assigned date to minimize the influx of people on campus.

        Athlete move-in day is to be determined. The University is following direction from the AMCC and hopes to know more soon.

        Will the price of room and board charges remain the same for the fall semester?

        Yes, the price for room and board will remain at the current rate.

        What if I cannot move out by Wednesday, Nov. 25, for the fall semester? Can I stay on campus if I have nowhere else to go?

        Yes, students may apply to stay over the holiday break if absolutely necessary. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Residence Life: or 412-536-1195.

        Will La Roche issue refunds for room and board from the spring semester?

        Yes, La Roche issued refunds and/or credits for room and board at the end of May to students who did not have a balance owed to the University. It is important to note that the sticker price for room and board is not the basis for the refund price. For students receiving institutional aid, the refund has been adjusted based on the level of financial assistance provided by the University. For example, students who live in residence halls receive larger institutional scholarships and additional aid from La Roche based on the increased room and board expense compared to commuter students. In fact, the average merit scholarship for residential students is $6,000 higher than for commuter students to offset the added expenses for room and board. Dependent upon residence hall and chosen meal plan, annual room and board expense is about $12,000. Therefore, La Roche has effectively already reduced balances owed by resident students by about 50 percent. Many students also receive federal and state aid in addition to the institutional scholarships and aid provided by La Roche. All of this has been factored into the cost of staying in residence halls and has been calculated on an individual basis for each student. Most students should expect a refund of approximately 25 percent for room and board. Additionally, if a student has an outstanding balance with the University, the refund is first applied to the balance and the remainder is distributed to the student as a refund.

        How are the refunds for spring room and board calculated?

        Refunds and/or credits are based on a pro-rated amount; they are NOT an automatic 50 percent of the sticker price. Students who live in residence halls receive larger institutional scholarships and additional aid from La Roche to offset the added expenses of room and board. When resident students moved home for the second half of the semester, the University did not decrease institutional scholarships to reflect the change in residency. For refunds, the University factored the additional aid provided into the cost of staying in the residence halls and calculated each refund on an individual basis. Most students should expect a refund of approximately 25 percent for room and board, with all original scholarships still provided in full by the University for the spring semester. Additionally, if a student has an outstanding balance with the University, the refund is first applied to the balance and the remainder is distributed to the student as a refund.

        Will La Roche issue refunds for parking from the spring semester? 

        Yes, La Roche issued $25 refunds for parking at the end of May to students who did not owe a balance to the University.

        I’m unable to travel home, I don’t have Internet access or a computer at home or La Roche is my permanent residence. Where can I stay during this time?

        The University will accommodate you with housing, and dining services will be available. Please contact the Office of Residence Life: or 412-536-1195.

        If I need to self-isolate but can’t return home, what should I do?

        Please contact the Residence Life office at 412-536-1195, and they may be able to assist you with off-campus arrangements.

        Will the University hold or forward mail?

        Effective immediately, you must change your delivery address for packages you order online; you no longer can use the University’s address. The University will hold mail upon request. La Roche can forward mail if the mail piece has a tag line on it for us to do so. We will try to return to sender if there is an address to do so. For questions about individual packages or to make specific requests, please call the Mail Center at 412-536-1149 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

        Emergency Student Aid

        Will La Roche receive funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act?

        La Roche University is slated to receive approximately $1.2 million from the HEERF as part of the $14 billion in support for postsecondary institutions and their students under the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as announced by the U.S. Department of Education. Of that $1.2 million, half of the money will be earmarked for emergency financial aid grants for La Roche students.

        What students are eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants from the HEERF?

        Only students who are or could be eligible to participate in programs in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, may receive emergency financial aid grants. If a student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then the student has demonstrated eligibility to participate in programs. Students who have not filed a FAFSA but who are eligible to file a FAFSA also may receive emergency financial aid grants. The Financial Aid office will review and verify all applications.

        Is other emergency financial aid available to students who are not eligible to receive a grant from the HEERF?

        Students who are not eligible to receive a grant from the HEERF should apply to the Sister Candace Introcaso Student Emergency Fund by emailing or and requesting an application.

        How do I apply for an emergency financial aid grant from the HEERF?

        Apply online at or click on the Apply for CARES Aid link located in the left-side menu on the coronavirus webpage of the La Roche website. Students must complete and submit the online application for consideration of their grant request. Upon receipt of the application, eligibility to receive federal financial aid will be verified and a committee appointed by the president will determine the grant award amount in compliance with the HEERF and available funds.

        Students are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and the distribution of grants will begin immediately. Since the amount of money that La Roche has been given to distribute to our students in the form of emergency aid is limited, we anticipate the number of requests will exceed the amount of money we have to award. In order to serve as many students as possible, grants will range from $250 to $1,300. The committee will consider the following criteria for each applicant when awarding grants:

        • Pell eligible students with no Expected Family Contribution will receive highest priority;
        • Students with a significant need related to COVID-19 disruptions, including, food, housing, health care and childcare, will receive second highest priority; and
        • Other students eligible to receive federal assistance also will be considered for emergency grants.

        What can be covered by an emergency financial aid grant from the HEERF?

        The CARES Act states that the funds are to be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students to pay for expenses incurred related to COVID-19 disruptions, including, food, housing, course materials and technology, health care and childcare.

        How long after applying until I will know if I will receive an emergency financial aid grant from the HEERF? When will I receive the money?

        You will receive an email from within three to five business days regarding the status of your grant application. Those who receive grants can expect to receive a check issued by La Roche University ordinarily within two weeks of being notified that their application has been accepted. We expect the first group of checks to be mailed out on May 13.

        Can emergency financial aid grants from the HEERF be directly applied to my outstanding tuition balance?

        No, the CARES Act requires institutions to distribute the money directly to students, who may then choose to pay their outstanding balance with the University. 

        Will an emergency financial aid grant from the HEERF impact my financial aid award from La Roche?

        No, this award is a one-time grant provided directly to students and is not considered part of your financial aid package from La Roche.

        Is an emergency student aid grant from the HEERF taxable?

        No, emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act for unexpected expenses, unmet financial need, or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as unexpected expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care or childcare, are qualified disaster relief payments under section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. This grant cannot be included in your gross income.

        Who should I contact if I have questions about eligibility and/or the application process?

        Please email with any questions related to eligibility, the application process or other matters related to the distribution of emergency financial aid grants from the HEERF.