​Information on fall 2021 required COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated faculty and staff can be found on the Testing and Support webpage.

No, it is the employee’s responsibility once they receive the weekly email regarding testing to act upon the invitation.

Yes, employees will need to complete the required testing through Penn State to be compliant.

For questions about COVID-19 topics at the University, faculty, staff, students and families across all Penn State campuses can contact the Penn State COVID-19 Response Center at 814-865-2121 or submit an online contact form. Employees should contact the COVID-19 Call Center for questions related to the testing process. If you have questions related to the exemption or exception process, please contact your unit Human Resources representative. If you have submitted your status previously and received this email, please confirm by logging back into Salesforce and confirming your submission was completed. If you are having technical issues, please submit a ticket by clicking this link. 

Vaccinated employees will not be included in weekly testing notifications. All employees may seek testing through their health care provider or other local COVID-19 testing options.

At any Penn State location, employees working on campus may order a Vault Health mail-in test kit.

Employees working on campus at University Park also may utilize the drop-in testing available on campus. However, they are strongly encouraged to use the at-home, Vault Health mail-in test kit as the best test option.

In situations where an employee is refusing to adhere to testing requirements, the steps below should be taken:

  • The manager should have a conversation with the employee to remind them of the testing requirements.
  • If the employee does not comply with the requirement a second time, the employee will be sent home and must utilize accrued vacation or personal time (if available) or be placed in an unpaid leave status until the test is taken.
  • The manager should discuss the situation with their HR strategic partner, who will in turn consult with Labor and Employee Relations. Upon the employee’s return to on-site work, steps should be taken to document the violation using HR78, Staff Employee Failure to Meet Acceptable Standards of Performance, in consultation with their HR strategic partner.
  • In cases of repeated noncompliant behavior, managers should discuss continued utilization of HR78 in consultation with their respective HR Strategic Partner, which could lead to termination of the employee.

In situations where employees refuse to adhere to masking requirements, the steps below should be taken:

  • The manager should have a conversation with the employee to remind them of the masking requirements.
  • Failure to comply with the requirements following the conversation should result in the employee being sent home for the remainder of the day with the expectation they return to work the next business day in compliance. The employee should utilize accrued vacation or personal time (if available) or be placed on an unpaid leave status for the absence.
  • The manager should discuss the situation with their HR Strategic Partner who will in turn consult with Labor and Employee Relations. Upon the employee’s return to on-site work, steps should be taken to document the violation using HR 78  Staff Employee Failure to Meet Acceptable Standards of Performance in consultation with their HR Strategic Partner.
  • If the employee persists in their refusal to follow the University requirement, then the employee must be sent home again and utilize accrued vacation or personal time (if available) or be placed on an unpaid leave status.
  • In cases of repeated noncompliant behavior, managers should discuss continued utilization of HR 78  Staff Employee Failure to Meet Acceptable Standards of Performance with their respective HR Strategic Partner, which could lead to termination of the employee.

If an employee has been informed that they are to report for work on campus and refuse to report, it will be considered an unauthorized absence. Unauthorized absences will be managed in accordance with HR34 Employment Conditions for Staff Employees. Managers should consult with their respective HR Strategic Partner should they have any questions.

All Penn State employees must follow the University’s masking protocols. Failure to comply with masking requirements after an initial warning will result in the employee being sent home on paid vacation (if available) or unpaid leave. Upon the employee’s return, supervisors will document the violation using HR78 Staff Employee Failure to Meet Acceptable Standards of Performance in consultation with their HR Strategic Partner. Repeated noncompliant behavior will result in continued utilization of HR78 Staff Employee Failure to Meet Acceptable Standards of Performance which could lead to termination of the employee.

Students and employees with a documented need can submit an application for a medical or religious waiver; however, there are rare instances in which an application for an exemption will be granted by the University.

Technical services employees and other represented employees should check their applicable collective bargaining agreement and work rules for the requirements applicable to them.

Employees exhibiting symptoms are expected to notify their supervisor immediately. Symptomatic employees are expected to not come to work and will be sent home if symptoms begin while working on-site. Supervisors will refer employees to Occupational Medicine for an evaluation and determination of when the employee is safely able to return to work. The employee will be expected to use accrued sick, vacation or personal time (if available) or be placed on an unpaid leave status for the absence to cover any time off until they are released to return to work by Occupational Medicine. The employee may work remotely during the isolation period (with approval from their manager) if their symptoms are mild and their position permits.

The following provides guidance for employees on eating in the workplace, including in break areas:

Basic guidelines:

— Wear a mask except when you are actively eating or drinking. Masks help protect both you and those around you.

— Limit the period of unmasked contact, as well as the amount of time and the number of other individuals you are in contact with.

— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated there is no evidence that handling or eating food spreads COVID-19, but it is always important to follow good personal hygiene and basic food safety practices.

Eating in the workplace and break areas:

— To limit unmasked occasions while actively eating or drinking, we recommend that you eat at your desk, outdoors or designated break areas.

— Minimize extended periods of contact with multiple employees eating within the same space or limited seating capacity in break areas by staggering mealtimes.

— Further, practice good personal hygiene by washing your hands before and after eating, as well as cleaning and sanitizing your food preparation surfaces and high-touch areas before and after.

Review the University’s “Working on Campus” guidance and Human Resources “Back to State” guidance for additional information. See additional CDC guidance on eating and small gatherings.

The University’s fall COVID-19 measures are intended to support the well-being of the Penn State community given the current COVID-19 outlook and rising levels of the more virulent Delta variant across the country and in Pennsylvania. This fall semester, students, faculty and staff will be required to follow health and safety measures, including for masking and COVID-19 testing.

Students and employees with a documented need can submit an application for a medical or religious waiver; however, there are rare instances in which an application for an exemption will be granted by the University. Individuals who previously had COVID-19 are not exempt from health measures such as required masking and COVID-19 testing. Review of applications may take up to a week following submission. While requests are being reviewed, students and employees must continue to comply with all University measures.

For medical exemptions, students with a documented need can apply for an exemption by contacting UHS-HIM@psu.edu. Students will be asked to upload supporting documentation provided by their treating medical provider to myUHS. Faculty and staff with a documented medical need can contact Penn State Occupational Medicine to begin the process. For religious exemptions, students and employees can contact the Affirmative Action Office at aao@psu.edu to request an exemption on religious grounds.

The University plans to continue having employees work on site with confidence in the health and safety measures that are currently in place.

In alignment with CDC guidance, all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear face masks while inside buildings on Penn State campuses, effective Aug. 4. Community members will be required to wear masks indoors, including in all classrooms — regardless of size — as well as in meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls, and at any indoor events. All individuals on campus will be permitted to eat in designated food service areas, and students living in residence halls will not be required to wear a mask in their living space. In addition, vaccinated employees with individual offices are not required to wear a mask in their personal office. All individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

This guidance does not change the University’s steps for the return to an on-site working experience. More information can be found on the Health Guidelines page. Updates will be provided to employees if this guidance changes.

Effective immediately (Aug. 4), all students, faculty, staff and visitors — including those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated — are required to wear masks indoors at all campuses.

In alignment with CDC guidance, community members will be required to wear masks indoors, including in all classrooms — regardless of size — as well as in meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls, and at any indoor events. All individuals on campus will be permitted to eat in designated food service areas, and students living in residence halls will not be required to wear a mask in their living space. In addition, employees with individual offices are not required to wear a mask in their personal office. Additional guidance regarding masking in offices is available here. All individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

At this time, all on-campus activities will continue as regularly scheduled with required indoor masking in place. This shift to masking does not change the return-to-work process for faculty and staff. The new measure applies to all Penn State campuses except the College of Medicine, which has already implemented specific guidance for its community.

Students, faculty, staff members and visitors should plan to wear masks indoors on campus until the current COVID-19 surge subsides; the University will provide an update when masking is no longer required.

Employees should upload their information to the Salesforce portal as soon as possible. Employees who are not vaccinated or have not shared that they are vaccinated with the University will be required to test weekly for COVID-19 throughout the fall semester.

Yes, unvaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive or suspected of having COVID-19 must quarantine for 7 to 10 days. They must quarantine for 10 days without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, or after seven days with a negative test on or after day five of quarantine and if they have no symptoms.

Fully vaccinated people who have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 need to be tested 2-5 days after exposure and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test. Regardless of vaccination status, any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 still needs to isolate and be tested for COVID-19.  

Anyone is free to voluntarily share their vaccination status with others, but employees should refrain from asking their peers whether they are vaccinated. Supervisors, however, are permitted to ask their direct reports about their vaccination status strictly for adherence to the University’s masking policy. Supervisors should not disclose this information to others and should not ask questions specific to reasons for receiving or not receiving the vaccine. In addition, supervisors should not take proof of vaccination, rather employees are encouraged to confirm their vaccination status via Salesforce Health Cloud. If supervisors or employees should have any questions, they should contact their unit HR. Technical services employees and other employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement should check with their unit HR to determine if there are other requirements applicable to them.

Students at University Park, Commonwealth Campuses and Dickinson Law can upload their vaccine information now into the MyUHS portal and are encouraged to do so as soon as their vaccine series is complete.

Employees and World Campus students can provide their vaccination status to the University using SalesForce Health Cloud, a secure online platform for collecting health data.

Your vaccine status is only available to University personnel directly involved in the COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts and to public health officials.

The University may need to adjust onsite working based on factors related to the pandemic. In these situations, a unified process will be established to minimize the density on campus to adjust to changing factors. In these scenarios each unit’s RTW taskforce and Pandemic Safety Officers will develop these “off ramps” or alternate plans should COVID conditions and resultant health and safety guidelines preclude working on campus. These plans would include analyzing each of the employee groupings and make determinations about which employees should work in-person or remotely based on their roles and responsibilities.

Staff who need to continue to work remotely at least some of the time, must discuss their request with their supervisor. Staff may request to work remotely during fall 2021 by making a request to their supervisor. This process is outlined in the “Fall 2021 Process for Return to On-Site Work for Staff.”

Supervisors should first review the “Supervisors’ Guide to Assessing Suitability for Remote Work” to assist them in making a determination about whether the employee’s work can effectively be performed remotely. Supervisors should then evaluate whether all of the below criteria are met:

  • The employee is in good standing and has met or exceeded expectations in the last two performance review cycles. New hires may be approved for remote work, but any such arrangements for fall 2021 should be evaluated by the supervisor midsemester.
  • The employee’s work can effectively be performed remotely during the fall semester.
  • The remote work arrangement being proposed enables the employee to continue responsibilities relating to any in-person interactions with students, visitors, customers and fellow employees.
  • The continued interim remote work request does not require unit resources beyond those that have already been devoted to remote work during the pandemic.
Supervisors must also take into consideration their unit’s expectations regarding on campus work. If, in the judgment of the supervisor, all of the above criteria have been met, then they will confer with the unit executive who, in consultation with the unit Human Resources Strategic Partner, will determine whether final approval may be granted.


All employees with documented disabilities also may request reasonable accommodations under the ADA by contacting the University’s ADA coordinator.

The employee’s preference to work remotely is not, by itself, a sufficient justification for approval to work remotely. Approval or denial of a work-related exception is not predictive of approval or denial of a longer-term remote work arrangement. All arrangements approved for fall 2021 will continue to be considered temporary COVID-related remote work arrangements.

The “Fall 2021 Process for Return to On-Site Work for Staff” developed by the Return to Work Taskforce supports a phased return to a full on-campus environment by fall 2021, under the assumption that health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and other organizations support such a return. This interim strategy will give staff and supervisors sufficient time to consider longer term workplace adjustments consistent with the new long-term remote work strategy. For both faculty and staff, remote arrangements made for fall 2021 should not be expected to extend automatically beyond the fall and remote arrangements for spring 2022 and beyond will need to be established according to the process outlined in the soon to-be-announced long-term remote work strategy.

Employees can find detailed information and guidance on the Health Guidelines, Contact Tracing, and Quarantine and Isolation pages.

Many of the health and safety measures that have been put in place during the pandemic are continuing for fall 2021. Penn State will continue to align with CDC guidance for the cleaning and disinfecting of facilities, including classrooms and other on-campus spaces. The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) cleaning guidance is available on the EHS COVID-19 website for Cleaning Resources and will be updated as recommendations and expectations from the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health continue to evolve.

Units also have protocols and schedules to clean and/or disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared equipment within their areas and offices. As part of these efforts, employees should avoid sharing tools and equipment as much as possible. Supervisors should stagger shifts, if possible, for high-use shared equipment and establish cleaning protocols between uses. Individual employees also are responsible for helping to maintain a clean work environment for themselves and others by cleaning and disinfecting desks, equipment, and materials before and after use.

More information about cleaning protocols is available on the University’s Environmental Health and Safety website.

Faculty, staff members, students and families across all Penn State campuses can call the Penn State COVID-19 Response Center at 814-865-2121 or submit an online contact form. The center’s hours of operation (all Eastern Time) are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Before calling, individuals are encouraged to review the University’s official coronavirus information website to see if their questions are answered there. The site includes links to Penn State COVID-19 resources, as well as a comprehensive list of COVID-19 FAQs for students and families, faculty and staff, and members of campus communities.

Click here for more information about the Penn State COVID-19 Response Center.

Each state and each institution is unique, so responses to the pandemic naturally vary. While the University is not currently requiring vaccinations, Penn State is not impartial when it comes to getting vaccinated. The University’s stance is that everyone who can get a vaccine should do so as soon as possible to attain high vaccination rates on all Penn State campuses.

President Barron made clear his view that the educational and incentives-based approach the University has taken, and positive survey data, together with the systematic tightening of monitoring, testing and mitigation measures we announced, particularly requirements for non-vaccinated individuals, represent the right approach for Penn State to help keep the community safe.

During the Aug. 3 Town Hall, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, President Barron — and others — have made it clear that the University's COVID-19 Operations Control Center monitors developments daily and the University can adjust its approach as needed. "Off ramps” include a wide range of measures that can and have been implemented successfully when needed, from canceling or restricting attendance at sporting and other events, indoors or out, to switching to remote.