What are the phases of return?

Units should plan for return of all employees to the workplace at the beginning of the fall semester.

Beginning in fall 2021 and consistent with pre-pandemic curriculum needs, schedules and practices, the University expects Penn State faculty, many of whom have already been teaching on site, to provide in-person rather than remote instruction starting Aug. 23.

For now, remote work for staff continues where possible, however, the guidance outlines a path for units to return additional staff to on-site work during the summer and a full return of staff to on-site work by Aug. 16.

For staff, leadership has defined two groups for the phased return:

- Group 1: Employees currently approved in the “Return to Work” database. During the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semester, employees in Group 1 have engaged in work on campus at some frequency.

- Group 2: Employees who have been engaged solely in remote work during the pandemic. Supervisors can begin planning to add these employees to the Return to Work database to transition back in a phased manner leading up to the fall semester. All employees in this category will return to on-site work in the fall by Aug. 16, 2021.

Throughout the summer, as health and safety guidelines permit, units may increase the frequency with which staff in Group 1 perform on-site work and may begin returning staff in Group 2 (pending approval in the Return to Work database). Staged work schedules will likely need to be implemented to meet physical distancing/maximum occupancy guidelines. Staff who have been working remotely at any frequency and who do not perform work that must be conducted on-site may continue to work remotely during the summer with supervisor approval.

At the beginning of fall semester, staff in the two groups return to on-site work.

Staff may work remotely during fall 2021 if they have received approval “Fall 2021 Process for Return to On-Site Work for Staff.”

For faculty who are seeking a health-related exception, there is a “Fall 2021 Process for Faculty Work Adjustments.”

Adjustments may be made as needed depending upon health and safety guidelines. We anticipate that some measures determined by state and federal guidelines, such as masking, will remain in place as the fall semester begins.

More information will be forthcoming from unit executives and individual supervisors. Information on return to work can be found on the Human Resources’ Return to Work website.