The University will continue to follow all virus mitigation guidelines from local, state and federal government and public health authorities. During the summer semester, residence hall occupancy will continue to be limited to two occupants per room, and to the extent possible, single rooms will be provided to students who are immunocompromised or at higher health risk. Information on residence halls and the arrival schedule for the fall semester will be communicated closer to the fall semester.

The University’s priorities continue to be the health and well-being of its students, faculty, staff and local communities, and the plans for substantially expanded in-person classes have the flexibility built in to quickly respond to changing pandemic conditions, if necessary. Penn State is committed to notifying students, faculty and staff as quickly as possible if conditions require the University to pivot to a remote or hybrid teaching and learning model.

The University will continue to follow all virus mitigation guidelines from local, state and federal government and public health authorities. Testing will continue to be available under the University’s spring testing plan through May. More information on the testing strategy for the summer and fall will be communicated as the testing plans are finalized. It will continue to evolve as circumstances warrant and capabilities are enhanced.

As Penn State’s priority is the health and well-being of its students, employees and local communities, the University is preparing for a variety of scenarios if circumstances or guidance from the government and public health authorities requires a reassessment of the plan before the start of the summer and/or fall semesters. Expanded in-person learning is contingent on the latest health and safety guidelines, including physical distancing requirements, as they are adjusted over the summer and fall in response to the state of the pandemic.

The health and safety of our employees remains our priority, and the University is mindful that individual circumstances may make some faculty members or members of their household more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Our expectation is that faculty members who are able to teach in person will return to the classroom, but a committee is currently being formed to define the exception process.

At this time, employees who are currently working from home should plan on continuing to do so under an order from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, “telework must continue unless impossible.” However, more guidance will be forthcoming for the summer and fall.

All COVID-19 testing data is stored in software/databases that are approved for this level of information, per Penn State’s Information Assurance and IT Security Policy (AD95) and Privacy Policy (AD53), and in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws. Testing data is only shared to inform individuals of their status, and as necessary to accomplish legitimate business purposes/needs, including, but not limited to, diagnostics, treatment, contact tracing, and public health and safety activities.

Vaccination does not exempt students, faculty and staff members from participating in the University’s COVID-19 testing programs this spring. The vaccine is a tool in our fight against COVID-19, and students and employees must continue to practice other mitigation efforts, like wearing a mask, hand-washing and physical distancing.

Additional information about the vaccine is available in this Penn State News article.

Due to federal laws (HIPAA), faculty should not ask the COVID-19 testing status of students, as faculty are not responsible for monitoring or enforcing testing requirements. Learn more about testing information here.

Faculty who are teaching will receive an email from contacttracing@psu.edu if one of their students is in quarantine or isolation, including information on when the student may return to the classroom. CDC guidelines and University testing procedures may permit students to leave isolation and quarantine earlier than expected if specific criteria are met. Faculty will be notified a second time if their student is permitted to leave quarantine or isolation earlier than previously communicated; however, there may be a slight delay in that process as contact tracers notify Student Support Services, which in turn will notify the faculty member of the change. If the student attends class in person before the end of the quarantine or isolation period that was communicated to the faculty member, it may be because the student tested out. However, if a student attends an in-person class before they complete their quarantine or isolation period without having tested out, then a referral should be made to the Office of Student Conduct.

Faculty, staff members, students and families across all Penn State campuses can call the Penn State COVID-19 Response Center at 814-865-2121. The center’s normal hours of operation (all Eastern Time) are 8 a.m. to 5 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.

By following University and CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing and hand hygiene, students can have a direct impact in mitigating the potential for the virus’ spread. Students are asked to take personal responsibility both on and off campus, as agreed to in the Penn State COVID-19 Compact, to help uphold the health of the community by following University guidelines.

Mask wearing and social distancing is required in class and there is guidance available to help maintain a safe classroom environment. Classroom Guidance for Instructors is posted on the website of the Office of Student Conduct. This document describes steps faculty can take to provide a positive learning environment and manage COVID-related concerns in the classroom and includes steps that faculty can take if a student fails to adhere to health and safety requirements. For more information on how to manage classrooms, watch this video featuring Danny Shaha, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Instructors and faculty should first ask any unmasked or non-socially distant students to comply. When students fail to comply in the classroom, faculty members can refer students to the Office of Student Conduct, or call 814-863-0342, and students will not be allowed to return to class until the matter is addressed through Penn State’s conduct process. Additionally, if a faculty member should become aware of a COVID-19 related violation, a referral may be made to the Office of Student Conduct. Faculty do have the authority to, and will be supported in, asking non-compliant students to leave class.

Similarly, Penn State staff should report student violations of COVID-19 safety requirements within office settings to the Office of Student Conduct, which has posted COVID-19 Office Guidance on its website.

At this time, the vaccine is not yet available to the general public. When vaccines do become widely available, Penn State strongly encourages participation as part of the effort to mitigate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities. 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.

Penn State has not been named as a distribution site for the COVID-19 vaccine, and vaccine distribution may vary by county across the commonwealth. While the vaccine is not yet widely available to the general public, when it does become available, the University strongly encourages participation as part of the effort to mitigate the longer impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities.

The University has helped select groups of front-line employees, including workers from Physical Plant, dining and residence halls and health care personnel, receive vaccinations as dictated by the priority phases established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Faculty, staff and students should visit Pennsylvania’s vaccine website for information on the defined phases; when they may be eligible to receive a vaccine; and where those vaccines may be available in their communities. Education workers who are in contact with students would be eligible in phase 1B, including faculty and staff members who are in contact with students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students who help provide instructional, health-related or other services to students.

While some employees at select campuses have been able to receive vaccines, these isolated instances were the result of special circumstances where local providers made the vaccine available to Penn State faculty and staff.

Penn State does not determine an individual’s status or eligibility for the vaccine, but faculty and staff over the age of 65 and those under age 65 with specific CDC-defined conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus are encouraged to seek a vaccine from a local health care provider when available. Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania is available at the web site listed above, including where to obtain a shot locally and a quiz to determine eligibility. Keep in mind that circumstances may be different depending on where you live; some areas have provided vaccines to people identified as phase 1B.

Additional information about the vaccine is available in this Penn State News article.