Penn State classes at all campus locations continue in their regularly scheduled mode of instruction for the spring 2021 semester. In addition to the information below, please review other pages on this site to learn more about Penn State’s plans for this semester, find comprehensive information about testing and support, and review University health guidelines.
Trying to help a student find information?
In addition to the links above, comprehensive information for students on a variety of topics is available on our students and families page. Answers to frequently asked student questions also are available on our students and families FAQs page. After reviewing information available on this website, students, faculty and staff from all campuses are encouraged to call Penn State’s COVID-19 Response Center – visit the contact information page to learn more.
Faculty and staff
At this time, the University continues to strongly encourage groups to host virtual meetings and events whenever possible.
All meetings, events and gatherings with more than 10 participants require University approval. Meetings, events and gatherings with 10 or fewer total participants — including all of those who are present, such as employees working at the event — do not need prior permission. Regardless of event size, face masks and physical distancing continue to be required for all, and occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor venues must be followed.
For Penn State units and organizations seeking to host an event or gathering, approval must be granted from the unit executive. For student organizations and student-run events, permission will need to be sought by the Office of Student Activities at the University Park campus, or the campus chancellor’s office at Commonwealth Campuses.
More information about the approval process is available here.
Event organizers also must develop and submit a detailed program safety plan, which includes:
— A communications plan for attendees and participants that outlines all safety protocols and expectations.
— A pre-event COVID-19 screening process for participants and attendees.
— Details on how the program will disseminate specific COVID-19 spread and prevention information.
— How the event will adhere to all local and state COVID-19 guidelines, as well as Penn State requirements.
— Safety logistics, including cleaning and disinfecting high-contact surfaces; distribution of hand-sanitizer stations and other personal protective equipment and supplies; foot-traffic flow; transportation considerations; and adherence to state and local occupancy limits.
The University has created the following planning resources, including guidance for safely holding events and gatherings, the approval process for events and gatherings, and acknowledgement documents for organizers and attendees:
— Events and gathering guidance
— Approval process for events and gatherings
— Penn State COVID acknowledgements
— COVID acknowledgements for third-party organizations
Organizers must follow all existing COVID-19 safety procedures as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health, the University’s COVID-19 website and Penn State’s Return to Work website.
As of April 13, all Pennsylvania adults are eligible to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. Penn State is strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to sign up to get the first vaccine available to them as soon as a dose is available. The Department of Health website features a map of vaccine providers that includes hospitals, urgent care centers, doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
For now, we are strongly encouraging everyone in our community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and a dose is available. We are continuing to monitor developments and vaccine availability carefully and may alter our approach in the future if it is determined to be in the best interest of our community or called for by public policy. More information will be forthcoming through the Pennsylvania Department of Health (which is overseeing the vaccine distribution) and the University, and as we weigh the pandemic’s continuing impact on our communities. To learn more, visit the Vaccine Information page.
Limiting the density of our on-campus population reduces the chances of incidental contact that spreads illness. To further reduce the chances of exposure, we have developed protocols to limit public access to campus buildings. Units are strongly encouraged to continue to engage with visitors remotely whenever possible. Click here for full guidance on bringing visitors to campus, including guidelines for individual visitors, group events, employee travel between campuses and hiring.
Employees wishing to have a non-employee visit campus for any period of time must first make a request to their unit executive and are strongly encouraged to consult with Risk Management and the Office of General Counsel prior to the visit. These individuals may not meet the definition of a Visiting Scholar (guidance about Visiting Scholars is available here). Examples of visitors include, but are not limited to, those wishing to audit a class, those wishing to participate in a meeting in person, invited speakers, guest lecturers/speakers in a class, or research collaborators making a short-term visit. The request to the unit executive should include where the visitor is traveling from, why the interaction cannot take place virtually, and the length of the proposed visit. When reviewing requests, unit executives should give attention to the locations from which visitors are traveling and the COVID-19 rates in those locations.
Students are reminded that guests are not allowed in any on-campus residence hall, due to COVID safety rules.
Visitors must comply with all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines during travel and while on campus. An individual’s vaccine status does not impact their obligation to adhere to these guidelines.
At University Park, random tests are processed at the on-campus Testing and Surveillance Center (TASC) Lab and at Commonwealth Campuses, tests are processed off campus in Vault Health labs. Results from random testing will be available to individuals approximately 24 to 48 hours . Results will be emailed to your Penn State email address.