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Penn State Fall 2020 Planning: Students, faculty and staff

As part of the University’s continued focus to uphold health and safety in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Penn State is preparing for a coordinated, phased return to on-campus working, learning and living for students and employees across each of the University’s campuses this fall semester. With the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, visitors and local community members as the top priority, all decisions and plans are being made in line with the latest directives and guidelines from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other government and public health authorities.

Bringing students and employees back to more than 20 campus locations is a uniquely complex task given the potential unknowns surrounding the coronavirus and needs of individual programs, colleges and campuses. To uphold health and safety, fulfill the University’s mission, and continue to provide students with a world-class education, Penn State is examining a multitude of considerations and is being flexible in preparing for a variety of potential scenarios, should they be needed.

The University is working to develop plans to support the health and safety of community members before bringing students and employees back to campus. Based on guidance from health care experts, as well as federal and state officials, the return to Penn State campuses may not occur simultaneously — but instead will be on a campus-by-campus basis.

Since April, three task groups — Public Health and Science Assessment, Return to Work, and Return to Campus and Community — have been collaborating closely with University leadership, and 12 other coronavirus action groups, to prepare for a possible fall return to residential instruction and on-site work. The groups are working through a variety of needs in support of Penn State’s mission, as well as the health and well-being of University and local community members.

Read more about fall preparations and planning in Penn State News:

More to come: By June 15, a decision about fall in-person classes will be announced, and the University will provide additional details and information on this site and on Penn State News.


Information for students

Plans and additional information about fall for students will be shared widely by June 15. As the University responds to the impacts of the pandemic and makes plans for the fall semester, input from students will continue to be an essential component of decision-making. Among the current opportunities for students to provide feedback is a confidential survey that was sent in mid-May to a random sample of 17,000 students at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses to answer questions related to a fall semester.

Knowing the disruption and emotional upheaval that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing many within the Penn State community, the following resources are among those available for students who have questions or need support or assistance:


Students may also find information relevant to their particular course of study on their individual college or school websites.



Information for faculty and staff

Plans and additional information about fall for faculty and staff will be shared widely by June 15. At this time, employees who are currently teleworking should continue to do so through at least the end of May. Even as some Pennsylvania counties move to “yellow status” or partially open, only employees who receive notice from their supervisors or unit leadership should return to work on campus.

Important dates:

The following resources are available for faculty and staff who need support:

Faculty and staff should receive a survey from Lorraine Goffe, Penn State’s vice president for Human Resources, seeking essential input on plans for a return to campus for employees. While no specific decisions about timing of a return have yet been made, the answers provided by Penn State faculty and staff, and employee assessments and concerns will be taken into consideration as a phased approach to returning to on-site work is being planned. The survey is being administered anonymously and responses cannot be linked to an individual.

Recent News

Latest Updates

Penn State leaders discuss University’s path forward at virtual Town Hall

University President Eric Barron and leaders answer questions around return to work and campus, among other issues

Preparations and scenario planning continue for return to campus and work

To support health and safety, University groups prepare for variety of potential scenarios and challenges

Penn State to allocate COVID-19 federal emergency aid grants to 25,000 students

Students who meet certain criteria to receive federal student aid eligible for $1,000 grants in first of two rounds of funding