Frequently Asked Questions

Back to State

Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has announced plans to freeze in-state and out-of-state tuition rates University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year. The plan, which will be presented to the University’s Board of Trustees for final approval at its July meeting, would mark the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students.

For years, Penn State has offered many educational options for students at campuses across the commonwealth within a varied cost structure. Consistent with past course offerings and established tuition rates, and with a focus on the health and safety of our students and their families, the University is leveraging this flexibility to offer additional cost alternatives for the fall 2020 semester based on individual needs. For fall 2020, there are options with varied tuition rates, so that students can continue to make progress toward their degrees:

• Students who come to University Park or any one of our 20 Commonwealth Campuses this fall will have the option to choose from a variety of flexible instructional modes – from in-person course delivery to hybrid and remote learning options. In addition, there will be in-person engagement and co-curricular experiences – with appropriate social distancing and other precautions in place – including Student Affairs services, tutoring, and clubs and organizations. Tuition will be charged at the campus’s standard in-state/out-of-state rate.

• Temporary change of campus location: Students will have access to all of the in-person and remote courses and co-curricular programming offered at their temporary campus that any student may select for any reason for the fall 2020 semester. As such, tuition will be charged at the temporary campus’s standard in-state/out-of-state.

• Temporary change of campus to Penn State World Campus: World Campus offers a portfolio of asynchronous online courses, which feature engagement with peers and faculty built into the course design. Please note, however, that World Campus does not offer the full range of courses available either at University Park or the Commonwealth Campuses, and there is limited capacity in World Campus. Tuition will be charged at the World Campus rate.

Penn State is focused on supporting students and helping them meet educational outcomes regardless of the method of delivery. It is essential that students consult their academic adviser to determine the best option to accommodate their individual needs; shifts in their mode of education could delay their progress toward graduation or mean changes in financial aid, awards, and other differences.

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The University is concerned by the current trends and continuously monitoring state and national disease data and following guidance from state and local health officials. Based on that guidance, and in consultation with faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health, the University is prepared to adjust its approach as necessary, including the possibility that Penn State would need to shift the semester to a fully remote learning environment once again. The University and Governor Wolf have previously stressed the importance of following guidelines to protect community health and minimize the spread of the virus, and cautioned that lax behaviors could undo progress toward reopening campuses.

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Classroom Guidance for Instructors is posted on the website for the Office of Student Conduct. This document describes the steps that faculty can take to provide a positive learning environment and manage COVID-related concerns in the classroom. The guidance includes a sample statement for faculty to include in their course syllabi as well as a series of steps that faculty can take if a student fails to adhere to health and safety requirements. Students who fail to comply with requirements will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and will not be allowed to return until the matter is addressed through Penn State’s conduct process. For more information on how to prepare to manage classrooms this fall, watch this video featuring Danny Shaha, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

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Penn State is strongly encouraging all students, as well as faculty and staff, to get a flu vaccine before the onset of flu season, or certainly before the start of the spring semester, to help alleviate the complicated season that is likely to include flu along with COVID-19. According to the CDC, September and October are good times to get vaccinated, but as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue into January or later. Penn State is encouraging flu vaccination in order to both protect the health of the University community and reduce demand on health care resources in and around Penn State campus communities to maintain capacity for the severely ill. Information about on-campus flu vaccine clinics will be provided as soon as possible. For additional information about the flu vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm.

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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all members of the University community. These include enhanced disinfection protocols, universal required masking, and alterations to classroom and office environments that help to ensure social distancing practices. Even with those measures, some employees who are part of vulnerable populations or who have family members who are part of a vulnerable population may have concerns about returning to the workplace.

Staff members who are in this situation and who have concerns about on-site work should make specific requests to alter the nature of their work to their manager.

Employees who believe that they have a disability that necessitates a reasonable accommodation or leave should contact the Affirmative Action Office or Absence Management, as appropriate.

For more information, visit the Return to Work website.

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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all members of the University community. These include enhanced disinfection protocols, universal required masking, and alterations to classroom and office environments that help to ensure social distancing practices. Even with those measures, some employees who are part of vulnerable populations or who have family members who are part of a vulnerable population may have concerns about returning to the workplace. Faculty who are in this situation and who have concerns about teaching in person should work with their unit executive (dean/chancellor or a designee) to determine whether adjustments can be made to their teaching duties and/or other duties. Faculty are urged to consider a variety of available instructional modalities that may give them the flexibility to fulfill their teaching duties. In addition, a faculty member who initially decides to teach one or more classes in person may request to alter the instructional modality at any point prior to or during the semester if they believe circumstances warrant it. Units are urged to remain flexible and think creatively about work adjustments while continuing to meet their educational goals.

Faculty members who believe they have a disability that necessitates a reasonable accommodation or leave should contact the Affirmative Action Office or Absence Management, as appropriate.

For more information, visit the Return to Work website.

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The health and well-being of the Penn State community is the University’s first priority as we look forward to welcoming the community back to our campuses. As announced June 14, Penn State will begin to have students and employees return to campuses in phases, including small cohorts of students over the summer, with significant prevention and public health procedures in place to help maintain the health and safety of our students, employees and local communities.

Specific to public health, as part of a “new normal” for returning to campus, all students, faculty and staff members will be expected to take personal actions to help protect themselves and others on campus — the success of the University’s plans will be largely dependent on everyone doing their part. While on campus, students, employees and visitors are expected to wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, practice hand hygiene by frequently washing and sanitizing, follow protocols for covering coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick, and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. The University will employ enhanced cleaning and sanitation, hygiene stations, plexiglass, signage and various other measures to provide for physical distancing and other health and safety needs.

Additional guidance for members of the University will continue to be provided at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/, which will be updated regularly with the latest information and guidance as we all work together toward a safe return.

Since March, more than 250 individuals serving on 16 task groups and subcommittees have been preparing for a coordinated return to on-campus working, learning and living for students and employees across each of the University’s campuses. Penn State has taken a robust public-health- and science-based approach to inform how it will manage social distancing, limit the size of events, and provide learning environments that are as safe as reasonably possible. Penn State will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.

University leadership and the task groups will work with governance and advisory bodies, including the University Faculty Senate and the University Staff Advisory Council, to work through the details of course delivery, classroom and workplace safety, and other aspects of the return to campus.

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There will be changes to the academic schedule focused on enhancing safety, minimizing travel and lowering the risk of spread of the virus. To meet these goals, the fall semester will begin on the originally scheduled date of Monday, Aug. 24, and campus-based residential instruction will end Friday, Nov. 20, with the remainder of the semester—including finals—being delivered remotely and/or online when classes resume after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30. Some units, such as Dickinson Law and Penn State Law, have different start dates and will also begin as originally scheduled. To minimize travel and lower the risk of spreading coronavirus on campuses, classes will be held on Labor Day (Sept. 7). The semester will end following finals on Dec. 18, as originally planned.

Delivery of the curriculum will occur through a highly flexible mix of in-person, remote and online instruction throughout the semester, with all courses with enrollment over 250 at University Park and over 100 at a Commonwealth Campus delivered remotely, in line with the governor’s requirements for higher education. Most classes will be scheduled through synchronous delivery (faculty member is present at same time as students). This is based on strong evidence of greater academic success by establishing robust learning communities and environments. Campuses and academic units will determine how to deliver smaller classes, following University guidance.

Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation and management of in-person class attendance so that sick students can stay home, and the University will work with immunocompromised and other at-risk students to develop appropriate accommodations. For students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, there are flexible options so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.

Penn State is focused on supporting students and helping them to meet their desired educational outcomes no matter the method of delivery, and advisers will be available to assist students on crafting their individual class schedules and curricula options.

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In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between another person, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees and visitors are required to practice social distancing and wear face masks/coverings when inside campus buildings, including in classrooms, labs, offices, and other public spaces, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

To aid in this effort, the University purchased 500,000 masks to be distributed across all campuses for people who need them. In addition, distance markers, directional arrows, signs and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations, which also will be reconfigured with social-distancing principles in mind. Tables, chairs and lounge furniture will be rearranged and/or blocked for use in some locations, and posting of maximum occupancy and do-not-congregate signs for most areas will become the norm, in accordance with the governor’s higher education guidance.

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Flexible options will be available to students who are unable to return to any campus so they can continue to make progress toward their degrees. Additional information can be found at https://keeplearning.psu.edu/fall-2020/learning-at-home/. You can also learn about Penn State’s flexible instructional modes at https://keeplearning.psu.edu/fall-2020/flexible-instructional-modes/.

If you are unable to come to a Penn State campus this fall, you can still be connected with the Penn State community and provided with opportunities to stay engaged and motivated. Resources for beginning or continuing your education are available through Penn State Start at Home and Continue at Home programming.

We are committed to providing you with the breadth of support to make this a productive and engaging fall; a world-class education regardless of the method of instruction; an experience that will help you build relationships with a peer group of students who are going through this situation with you.

And once you can join us on campus, you will continue these relationships in person.

For our international students, we are excited to welcome scholars from across the globe into our community, even if current circumstances prevent residential study. International students who are unable to travel to a Penn State campus this fall as a result of travel restrictions, delays in visa processing, or other circumstances related to COVID-19. These students will be able to use asynchronous remote learning options from time zones outside the U.S. International students can visit global.psu.edu or contact the Office of Global Programs at 814-865-7681 for more information.

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To help prevent the spread of coronavirus and support a healthy return to living and taking classes on campus, all students and employees have a personal and collective responsibility to follow guidelines from the University, which are aligned with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health. For example, students and employees will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing in classrooms, labs, offices, and other indoor public spaces, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community healthy. While we expect high levels of compliance, non-adherence to these guidelines in a way that elevates exposure and risk for others in the community will be addressed in a manner consistent with how other violations of University guidelines and policies are managed.

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Maintaining the health and safety of the campus and local communities is the top priority driving Penn State’s decision-making and policy changes as it relates to the pandemic. The University is asking students, prior to returning to campus, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival.

Penn State also will encourage flu vaccination for all students before the onset of flu season, or certainly before the start of the spring semester, with an eye toward addressing the complicated season that is likely to include flu along with COVID-19, and to reducing as much as possible, a demand for health facilities in order to maintain capacity for the severely ill. At University Park, Penn State’s largest campus, officials are working closely with Mount Nittany Medical Center as part of collaboration with local public health entities, in accordance with state guidance. In addition, partnerships in the communities in which Commonwealth Campuses are situated also are taking place.

All actions being implemented are based on guidance from Penn State health experts and scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among others. The University will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.

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To allow in-residence instruction and activities to continue and to uphold the health and safety of campus and local communities, students will be urged to take personal responsibility and follow health guidelines, including wearing masks, adhering to physical distancing practices, washing hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition to providing education and support directly to students, fraternities and other student organizations, Penn State will collaborate and coordinate with local government officials, landlords and local employers to share resources and to encourage students to follow expectations for off-campus behavior. In addition, University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community as healthy as possible. Based on the governor’s guidelines advising against large gatherings, and out of respect for the risks to the broader University community, large gatherings are discouraged.

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On-campus research activities have resumed using a phased approach. As part of the return to on-campus research, unit-specific processes and protocols have been developed to prioritize the health and well-being of researchers, faculty, staff, students and the community. The return to on-campus research will be gradual, and all researchers who are able should continue to work remotely. The specifics of returning to on-campus research will look different for each college, campus, institute or unit. Investigators with questions regarding the specifics of returning to on-campus research activity should contact their dean, chancellor or institute director. Guidance for return-to-research plans are updated regularly and can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/COVID_return_research.

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The University will provide resources and support to international students who can’t be on campus to help them select courses and develop schedules that will enable them to move forward with their academic progress and advance toward a degree. As a member of Penn State, a student joins a long tradition of academic excellence with a university committed to providing unrivaled opportunities. It is through the dedication of exceptional students, faculty, and staff that makes Penn State a truly extraordinary place to study. Our faculty – who are the same in the classroom as those that would teach you remotely – have innovative solutions to provide exceptional learning experiences for our students. You will meet faculty, you will make friends, and you will set yourself on a path toward success this fall and when you are back on campus. We are ready for you now to help you prepare for your future. Additional options are being developed and considered and will be announced over the coming weeks.

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Graduate students also will return to campus in the fall in a manner consistent with that described in the announcement. While the specific environments associated with graduate education vary by program, Penn State is committed to providing a robust, and meaningful and flexible experience for all. More details will be forthcoming about how graduate programs will adapt in the fall from both The Graduate School and graduate programs associated with individual academic units.

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The University expects students to self-monitor their health, including for example by taking their temperature before going to class or campus. While fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, it is only one of the potential symptoms individuals may have. If you have a temperature or symptoms of feeling sick, individuals should reach out to their health care provider.

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Co-curricular learning is an important component of students’ college experiences. Student organizations are expected to adhere to all health and safety requirements established by the University, including social distancing and meeting virtually. While large gatherings will be prohibited upon return, restrictions may be loosened depending on results of early stage mitigation efforts. Recreational activities and facilities will be open if participants can adhere to social distancing, enhanced sanitation measures and other safety standards. Additional information relevant to specific activities will be forthcoming closer to the start of the semester.

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The health of the Penn State community is our top priority, and we must all do our part in preventing the possible spread of coronavirus. Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation of class attendance policies. Sick students are expected to stay home and call their health care provider. In-residence courses will be delivered in a flexible format to allow students who miss class due to quarantine or illness to continue to make critical academic progress. University Park students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should begin the screening process for coronavirus over the phone by calling the UHS Advice Nurse at 814-863-4463. Students at Commonwealth Campuses should contact their on-campus health services office or a local physician’s office. Penn State urges faculty and staff to contact their health care provider if they have a cough, respiratory symptoms, a fever or have concerns related to COVID-19.

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The University is asking students, prior to returning, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival. It is in everyone’s best interest that students arrive after taking precautionary steps, to reduce the likelihood of community exposure. Over the summer, the University may have further guidance, depending on developments with COVID-19.

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The University is employing strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including testing, contact tracing, and monitoring and reacting to trends in data at the community and national levels.

A robust testing and contact-tracing program will test symptomatic individuals and conduct asymptomatic testing on individuals who are identified in the contact-tracing process. Penn State will hire additional staff to serve as contact tracers as needed to support all campuses and plans to enhance access to early health-care consultation and treatment. Contact-tracing supports virus case detection and is designed to help prevent future outbreaks. The University also is building capacity to isolate and quarantine individuals who test positive, including support for isolated persons, to facilitate proper medical care.

These efforts will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been spelled out by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus and will include processes for testing students, faculty and staff. Additional details are forthcoming.

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Any student who feels sick or who has symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19, should stay home and seek the advice of a medical professional as appropriate. Students who test positive for the virus are expected to isolate for 14 days, and if a student was not tested on campus, they should notify University Health Services or the local campus health professional about the results. Individuals who test positive will be interviewed to identify people with whom they had close contact (less than six feet of distance for 15 minutes or longer within two to four days before the onset of symptoms). These close contacts will be alerted, asked to quarantine for 14 days, and asked to be tested immediately.

Students who must isolate will receive detailed instructions, and they will receive daily check-ins regarding their health. The University will work closely with these students to see that they continue to make academic progress, and to assist with any other needs that may arise.

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Above all, the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff is the University’s top priority. Individuals who are sick, think they have been exposed to coronavirus, exhibit symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19 are expected to stay home and/or leave work right away. Employees should isolate, monitor their symptoms and seek medical care as needed. The University is developing isolation guidance for employees. Employees should notify their supervisors, so their unit can begin a process to conduct contact tracing, notify individuals in the unit to monitor for symptoms, and begin temperature checks and health screenings for those who have been in contact with the sick individual. Policies and programs will be in place to support employees who are recovering from and/or caring for partners and family members with COVID-19. Most individuals who need to miss work due to COVID-19 to care for themselves or another individual are eligible to receive pay (up to certain maximums) for up to the first 80 hours, depending on full-time or part-time status, regardless of available sick time. Additional time off will be paid through accrued sick leave or short-term disability, if elected.

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Penn State will begin to have students and employees return to campuses in phases and will have significant prevention and public health procedures and strategies in place to support the health and safety of students, employees and local communities – the top priority in resuming on-campus activities. Given Pennsylvania’s county-by-county phased pandemic management plan, the status of each Penn State campus may vary, particularly for those that may be located in an area of the commonwealth where various restrictions are in place due to the number of COVID-19 cases in that region.

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Penn State’s plans for resuming on-campus activities align with the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s guidelines for colleges and universities, and the University will meet or, where possible, exceed, all of the expectations of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. In line with public health guidance, the University is working through details over the summer to support our student and employee populations across all campuses. Additional details of testing plans will be provided in the near future as they are finalized.

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To support the health and well-being of students and employees, there will be extensive, daily cleaning of high-touch surface areas, classrooms, labs, offices, restrooms and other common spaces across the University. Desks, podiums, conference tables, interior doorknobs, interior doors, push plates, handrails, light switches and other identified high-touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected at an appropriate frequency. The University has procured several thousand hand-sanitizer stations, which will be placed in high-traffic areas, and hand sanitizer and/or cleaning wipes will be available for each classroom and classroom building. Enhanced cleaning practices also will be implemented for these spaces.

In addition, units will develop cleaning protocols and schedules to disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared equipment within their areas and offices. Guidance is available on the Environmental Health and Safety website. As part of these efforts, employees should avoid sharing tools and equipment as much as possible and supervisors should stagger shifts, if possible, for high-use shared equipment and establish disinfection protocols between uses. Individual employees also will be 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.

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Penn State will implement enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures using disinfectants approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There will be extensive and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces. In some cases, it will be necessary to adjust hours of operation for some buildings to accommodate the necessary cleaning and disinfecting, and in other cases there will be a phased approach to reopening. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

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The University has been working closely with CATA to understand the level of service that they anticipate being able to provide when students return in the fall, in light of current distancing, masking and cleaning guidance. While every effort will be made to provide service that resembles what was offered during the most recent academic year, route and schedule changes for the fall semester are likely in order to focus resources on the most significant campus and community transportation needs. More information on transit service availability will be shared in the coming weeks.

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This is understandable and there are resources available for both students and employees who are struggling and who need support with the transition back to campus. Students can contact their academic advisers for guidance. The Red Folder initiative is a guide to help faculty, staff and others who interact with students to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed students at Penn State. Students at University Park can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 814-863-0395 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Students at Commonwealth Campuses can contact the CAPS office at their campus location. When CAPS is closed, both the Penn State Crisis Line (877-229-6400) and the Crisis Text Line (text “LIONS” to 741741) are still available 24/7 for students at all campuses who are in crisis or need support. Faculty and staff who are in distress are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program, a free, confidential resource to be used as a first line of defense for personal or work-related concerns for yourself or your family.

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Yes, room and board charges will be adjusted for the time period in late November and early December when students will be completing the fall semester remotely. Additional information will be provided in the near future.

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To help limit prolonged person-to-person contact, this fall, no residence hall room or space may be occupied by more than two residents. To the extent possible, single rooms will be provided to immunocompromised or at-risk students, or a student requesting one, although immunocompromised or at-risk students will receive priority consideration. Roommate requests also will be honored.

At least initially, guests will be prohibited in the residence halls, while the University monitors the return to campus.

Residence hall bathrooms will be cleaned at least two times each day; masks are expected to be worn in bathrooms, except when showering or brushing teeth. General facility cleaning regimens will be based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American College Health Association, the Department of Health and others.

Residence Life will significantly modify its programming and interactions with students to minimize risks associated with transmission of the virus, and social or physical distancing requirements in the residence halls will be strictly enforced.

Seating will be substantially reduced in common areas and lounges to accommodate physical distancing; all lounge space will be closed initially – all in accordance with the governor’s guidance. Over time, relaxation of that status will depend on the effectiveness of mitigation efforts. Elevator usage may be discontinued initially, except for special circumstances; at a minimum, occupancy in elevators will be more restricted than usual. One-way traffic for each stairwell, up or down, will be communicated and expected.

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It is Penn State’s goal to make on-campus dining as comfortable and convenient as possible while maintaining the safety of our students and visitors. Here are the steps we’re taking to meet those goals:

a. Capacity in campus dining facilities will be limited, with seating and tables removed to encourage physical distancing, in accordance with governmental mandates and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

b. Mobile ordering and carryout options will be expanded to reduce patron wait times.

c. To enhance safety, the dining commons will not be offering self-serve options, and menu selections will be streamlined to increase speed of service.

d. In addition, there will be extensive and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and restroom spaces will be cleaned at least two times each day; these restrooms will be configured to encourage distancing among users.

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The University will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities for returning students and employees to campus provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which will include processes for testing students. The University is employing strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including contact tracing, monitoring systems and looking at data in the community and nationally, to see if a pattern is emerging so leaders can act accordingly. Testing is developing rapidly and the plans for the return to campuses will be guided by the best available information at the time.

The University is asking students, prior to returning to campus, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. If test results are positive, we strongly encourage individuals to not return until they have quarantined for 14 days. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival.

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We are dedicated to supporting students who are immunocompromised or at-risk to identify and develop appropriate accommodations, for both on-campus housing and academic needs. Students in need of housing assistance can find contact information for Housing and Food Services at https://hfs.psu.edu/campuses. Students in need of academic assistance should reach out to their college or campus advising office.

For students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, there are flexible options so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.

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Yes, social distancing will be expected for all in-person activities on campus this fall, including in classes and labs, as a means to reduce possible virus transmission and to reduce the potential disruption to students’ learning by needing to quarantine close contacts. When in class, both students and instructors should maintain a distance of six feet (about two arm lengths) between one another. The task groups continue to review all of Penn State’s more than 1,700 classrooms, seminar rooms and labs across all instructional campuses to accommodate for social distancing requirements. Changes will be communicated for those that have already registered, and opportunities to work with advisers will be made available. Some non-classroom spaces will be repurposed for instruction and every class that meets in person will allow for appropriate social distancing. Additional measures — for example, assigned seating and monitoring of attendance to help facilitate contact tracing will be deployed as considered necessary. To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, and classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations across the campuses.

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The task groups continue to review all of Penn State’s more than 1,700 classrooms, seminar rooms and labs across all instructional campuses to accommodate for social distancing requirements. Based on a variety of factors, for example the needs and size of a class, classes will be reassigned to larger rooms to accommodate social distancing requirements. Changes will be communicated for those that have already registered, and opportunities to work with advisers will be made available.

Studies of Penn State classrooms are continuing across the campuses to revise room layouts; establish a distanced space for instructors; and to identify room capacities and potential alternative spaces for classes to take place. These efforts, along with the flexible educational model, delivering some classes remotely and/or online, will allow the University to lower classroom population density, allow for social distancing and meet both educational and safety goals.

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The University purchased 500,000 reusable masks to be distributed across all campuses. Cloth face masks will be provided to students as needed at the beginning of the semester and employees will receive face masks prior to returning to work. Masks will be required to be worn indoors in classrooms, labs, offices, and other public spaces on campus, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

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As part of a flexible delivery model, all courses with enrollment over 250 at University Park and over 100 at a Commonwealth Campus will be delivered remotely, per federal and state guidance. Campuses and colleges will have the latitude to decide how best to deliver courses with smaller enrollments. To enable social distancing, as needed, desks and seating in classrooms will be marked if they should not be used. If they were not equipped already, all classrooms on campus are being equipped for remote instruction via Zoom and other technologies.

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By following University and CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing and hand hygiene, students can have a direct impact in achieving an extended return to learning and living on campus this fall. Upon returning to campus, students will be asked to take personal responsibility both on and off campus and to sign a pledge to help uphold the health of the community by following University guidelines.

Mask wearing and social distancing will be required in class, and faculty members will have discretion to make delivery modality adjustments if they have concerns about adherence to University requirements. Faculty members have long had considerable influence over behavior in the classroom, either through informal conversations with students or through grading and class participation polices. Students will be warned first, but faculty will have the authority to remove students from class if they refuse to comply. Where students fail to comply despite these efforts, faculty members can refer students to the University’s conduct process through the Office of Student Conduct, and students will be required to participate in a disciplinary process before they can return to the classroom. Faculty will receive guidance on enforcement, and they will be supported in these critical measures.

To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations across the campuses.

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Yes, facilities will be open. However, there will be new occupancy limits in place and hours of operation may be adjusted for various buildings and facilities to support the health and safety of the campus community. These changes will be in addition to University-wide social distancing and masking expectations for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

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As always, the safety of faculty, staff, students and the community is our top priority. A return to work for employees is being approached deliberately and is being organized into phases. Some employees have continued to work on campuses to perform mission-critical work and others have begun returning in stages, including researchers who are unable to perform their work from home. Moving forward, other employees whose work must be completed on site will continue to return to campuses, including those preparing facilities for the return of students. Employees who are currently telecommuting but whose work can be more effectively performed on campus will be the next group to return to on-site work.

As the semester unfolds and the University continues to monitor the situation, employees who can effectively work remotely will be the last group to return to their workspaces, if needed. More information will be shared with individual units and employees regarding when they should expect to return to campus. In these cases, managers will be asked to develop plans that will facilitate the safe return of staff members, which will include social distancing, wearing appropriate face coverings, limiting the numbers of people in offices at any time and plans for additional cleaning.

Additional and up-to-date information related to return to work is available at https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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At this time employee temperature screening requirements will only apply in units with a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case. However, employees who self-monitor and who feel sick or have a fever should stay home. Additional protocols to uphold employee health include social distancing and masking expectations. To learn more, visit https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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For the safety of all employees and to align with social distancing to maintain a minimum six feet of physical distance among employees, supervisors will be asked to identify strategies to reconfigure shared offices and seating, including moving furniture, removing excess chairs, and reconfiguring seating as appropriate. In cases where necessary, such as spaces where employees interact face-to-face with students and customers, plexiglass or other dividers may be installed. To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, common areas, and other shared locations across the campuses.

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Changes will be made to offices and workspaces, as needed, to support social distancing and prioritize employees’ health and well-being. For example, supervisors will be asked to identify strategies to reconfigure shared offices and seating or stagger work shifts, breaks, and arrival and departure times to align with social distancing and maintain a minimum six feet of physical distance between employees. Meetings should be conducted virtually when possible, and employees should avoid use of break rooms, kitchens and other shared spaces as a gathering area. To learn more, visit sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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Yes. Employees will receive two cloth face masks. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, all employees will be required to wear masks — ideally cloth — while on campus, including outdoors, in hallways, classrooms, shared work areas, and other public spaces. Masks should be worn at all times, even while practicing social distancing. However, masks do not need to be worn when eating or drinking, when isolated in a private office or vehicle, or when use adversely affects an employee’s safety or health.

Employees isolated in their personal office space, which is not shared with any other colleagues, do not need to wear a mask, per Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. However, when an employee leaves their individual office or has invited a colleague into their office, they must wear a mask. Wearing masks while working at one’s desk is required in a shared office or cubicle setting, even when social distancing is maintained. Additional information on universal masking is available in the “Employee Guidance for Working on Campus” resource on the Penn State Environmental Health and Safety COVID-19 website.

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Yes. Face masks, soap and hand-sanitizer stations, disinfectant sprays and wipes will be available for all units to purchase through General Stores. The University also has procured several thousand additional hand-sanitizer stations, which will be placed in high-traffic areas.

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The health of faculty and staff members remains the University’s top priority as part of a phased return. If you have questions or concerns about your individual health circumstances, contact your supervisor and/or HR Strategic Partner. While there are processes and protocols being put in place to help support safe working environments across the campuses, those who can work effectively from home should continue to do so and will be last to return to campus. Phasing will prioritize those who have a need to perform work on-site.

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If you are feeling ill, you must stay home and/or leave work immediately. Employees should contact their health provider for guidance and notify their supervisors and follow normal unit-based notification protocols, so that their unit can begin a process to conduct contact tracing, notify individuals to monitor for symptoms, and begin temperature checks and health screenings. To learn more, visit sites.psu.edu/returntowork/. As a community, we must support each other by encouraging and following these guidelines, which are in place to protect each employee’s health and well-being.

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As part of the planning process for a phased return to work, processes and protocols have been put in place to support supervisors and employees when a colleague has tested positive for COVID-19. Among these protocols, contact tracing will begin and employees and students who have been in close contact with the individual will be notified, asked to quarantine while the individual is tested (even if asymptomatic), and to begin monitoring for symptoms. The individual’s work area will undergo a thorough cleaning and disinfecting procedure in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols.

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Given uncertainties about the status of local schools for the upcoming school year, as well as the individual circumstances of employees, the University is asking supervisors to be flexible in working with employees who find themselves without child care. Telecommuting may be an option for employees currently working remotely who can continue to perform the duties of their jobs from home. Faculty members teaching in-person classes in the fall should discuss their circumstances with their academic supervisors. However, all employees need to have individual conversations with their supervisor/HR regarding their specific circumstances. For some employees, FMLA-Public Health Emergency leave also may be available. (Please visit https://psu.app.box.com/s/6i0inw2xdp8viazb75tz68hz4gwgnp1c for more information.)

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At this time, the University is planning to reopen child care centers, consistent with all state and public health guidelines, to facilitate employees’ return to working on campus. More information regarding Penn State child care centers will be released in the coming weeks.

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Once classes transition to remote delivery, each unit leader will determine who needs to be on site based on work responsibilities and unit needs at the time. Employees should work with their direct supervisor to determine if they should continue to report to campus or if they will be able to work remotely.

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There are no changes to the University holiday schedule. The University will continue to observe the staff holidays set in Penn State policy and respective collective bargaining agreements.

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Individual units will determine whether employees will be required to work on Labor Day based on their specific needs. Employees who work Labor Day will be compensated based on University policies or the appropriate collective bargain agreement.

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Penn State is prepared to be nimble and responsive based on the latest information, monitoring and evolving virus infection rates. The University will employ strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including testing, contact tracing, and monitoring and reacting to trends in data at the community, state and national levels to see if a pattern is emerging so leaders can act accordingly.

All classes that are planned to have in-person meetings will have contingency plans for reverting to remote instruction modalities if health circumstances require ending in-person learning earlier than Nov. 20. All future decisions will be based on the best available public-health information, in the interest of the safety and well-being of Penn State students, faculty and staff.

A number of factors may lead to additional distancing measures or adjustments to campus-based residential course delivery. These factors include changes in the virus caseload of a campus or region; a county’s status under the governor’s red-yellow-green guidelines; the capacity of the local health care system; community compliance with health and safety protocols; and additional risks, such as the onset of an early virulent flu season. Faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health are continuously monitoring county, state and local disease data, which will allow the University to respond to any changes in the pandemic that would require proactive steps to mitigate and manage any potential outbreak. Any recorded upticks will be analyzed and, as needed, decisions about the status of in-residence instruction will be made on a campus-by-campus basis, taking into consideration guidance from public health officials.

The University’s 16 task groups focused on responding to the coronavirus have been scenario planning for months. These scenarios necessarily include one in which Penn State must send students home from a campus and revert to remote learning. If our public health advisers become concerned that it is no longer safe for students and employees to be on our campuses, we are prepared to quickly take action and change course.

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What options and tuition rates are available for students for fall 2020?

Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has announced plans to freeze in-state and out-of-state tuition rates University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year. The plan, which will be presented to the University’s Board of Trustees for final approval at its July meeting, would mark the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students.

For years, Penn State has offered many educational options for students at campuses across the commonwealth within a varied cost structure. Consistent with past course offerings and established tuition rates, and with a focus on the health and safety of our students and their families, the University is leveraging this flexibility to offer additional cost alternatives for the fall 2020 semester based on individual needs. For fall 2020, there are options with varied tuition rates, so that students can continue to make progress toward their degrees:

• Students who come to University Park or any one of our 20 Commonwealth Campuses this fall will have the option to choose from a variety of flexible instructional modes – from in-person course delivery to hybrid and remote learning options. In addition, there will be in-person engagement and co-curricular experiences – with appropriate social distancing and other precautions in place – including Student Affairs services, tutoring, and clubs and organizations. Tuition will be charged at the campus’s standard in-state/out-of-state rate.

• Temporary change of campus location: Students will have access to all of the in-person and remote courses and co-curricular programming offered at their temporary campus that any student may select for any reason for the fall 2020 semester. As such, tuition will be charged at the temporary campus’s standard in-state/out-of-state.

• Temporary change of campus to Penn State World Campus: World Campus offers a portfolio of asynchronous online courses, which feature engagement with peers and faculty built into the course design. Please note, however, that World Campus does not offer the full range of courses available either at University Park or the Commonwealth Campuses, and there is limited capacity in World Campus. Tuition will be charged at the World Campus rate.

Penn State is focused on supporting students and helping them meet educational outcomes regardless of the method of delivery. It is essential that students consult their academic adviser to determine the best option to accommodate their individual needs; shifts in their mode of education could delay their progress toward graduation or mean changes in financial aid, awards, and other differences.

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The University is concerned by the current trends and continuously monitoring state and national disease data and following guidance from state and local health officials. Based on that guidance, and in consultation with faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health, the University is prepared to adjust its approach as necessary, including the possibility that Penn State would need to shift the semester to a fully remote learning environment once again. The University and Governor Wolf have previously stressed the importance of following guidelines to protect community health and minimize the spread of the virus, and cautioned that lax behaviors could undo progress toward reopening campuses.

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The health and well-being of the Penn State community is the University’s first priority as we look forward to welcoming the community back to our campuses. As announced June 14, Penn State will begin to have students and employees return to campuses in phases, including small cohorts of students over the summer, with significant prevention and public health procedures in place to help maintain the health and safety of our students, employees and local communities.

Specific to public health, as part of a “new normal” for returning to campus, all students, faculty and staff members will be expected to take personal actions to help protect themselves and others on campus — the success of the University’s plans will be largely dependent on everyone doing their part. While on campus, students, employees and visitors are expected to wear face masks or coverings, practice social distancing, practice hand hygiene by frequently washing and sanitizing, follow protocols for covering coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick, and clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. The University will employ enhanced cleaning and sanitation, hygiene stations, plexiglass, signage and various other measures to provide for physical distancing and other health and safety needs.

Additional guidance for members of the University will continue to be provided at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/, which will be updated regularly with the latest information and guidance as we all work together toward a safe return.

Since March, more than 250 individuals serving on 16 task groups and subcommittees have been preparing for a coordinated return to on-campus working, learning and living for students and employees across each of the University’s campuses. Penn State has taken a robust public-health- and science-based approach to inform how it will manage social distancing, limit the size of events, and provide learning environments that are as safe as reasonably possible. Penn State will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.

University leadership and the task groups will work with governance and advisory bodies, including the University Faculty Senate and the University Staff Advisory Council, to work through the details of course delivery, classroom and workplace safety, and other aspects of the return to campus.

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There will be changes to the academic schedule focused on enhancing safety, minimizing travel and lowering the risk of spread of the virus. To meet these goals, the fall semester will begin on the originally scheduled date of Monday, Aug. 24, and campus-based residential instruction will end Friday, Nov. 20, with the remainder of the semester—including finals—being delivered remotely and/or online when classes resume after Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30. Some units, such as Dickinson Law and Penn State Law, have different start dates and will also begin as originally scheduled. To minimize travel and lower the risk of spreading coronavirus on campuses, classes will be held on Labor Day (Sept. 7). The semester will end following finals on Dec. 18, as originally planned.

Delivery of the curriculum will occur through a highly flexible mix of in-person, remote and online instruction throughout the semester, with all courses with enrollment over 250 at University Park and over 100 at a Commonwealth Campus delivered remotely, in line with the governor’s requirements for higher education. Most classes will be scheduled through synchronous delivery (faculty member is present at same time as students). This is based on strong evidence of greater academic success by establishing robust learning communities and environments. Campuses and academic units will determine how to deliver smaller classes, following University guidance.

Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation and management of in-person class attendance so that sick students can stay home, and the University will work with immunocompromised and other at-risk students to develop appropriate accommodations. For students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, there are flexible options so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.

Penn State is focused on supporting students and helping them to meet their desired educational outcomes no matter the method of delivery, and advisers will be available to assist students on crafting their individual class schedules and curricula options.

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In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between another person, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees and visitors are required to practice social distancing and wear face masks/coverings when inside campus buildings, including in classrooms, labs, offices, and other public spaces, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

To aid in this effort, the University purchased 500,000 masks to be distributed across all campuses for people who need them. In addition, distance markers, directional arrows, signs and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations, which also will be reconfigured with social-distancing principles in mind. Tables, chairs and lounge furniture will be rearranged and/or blocked for use in some locations, and posting of maximum occupancy and do-not-congregate signs for most areas will become the norm, in accordance with the governor’s higher education guidance.

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Flexible options will be available to students who are unable to return to any campus so they can continue to make progress toward their degrees. Additional information can be found at https://keeplearning.psu.edu/fall-2020/learning-at-home/. You can also learn about Penn State’s flexible instructional modes at https://keeplearning.psu.edu/fall-2020/flexible-instructional-modes/.

If you are unable to come to a Penn State campus this fall, you can still be connected with the Penn State community and provided with opportunities to stay engaged and motivated. Resources for beginning or continuing your education are available through Penn State Start at Home and Continue at Home programming.

We are committed to providing you with the breadth of support to make this a productive and engaging fall; a world-class education regardless of the method of instruction; an experience that will help you build relationships with a peer group of students who are going through this situation with you.

And once you can join us on campus, you will continue these relationships in person.

For our international students, we are excited to welcome scholars from across the globe into our community, even if current circumstances prevent residential study. International students who are unable to travel to a Penn State campus this fall as a result of travel restrictions, delays in visa processing, or other circumstances related to COVID-19. These students will be able to use asynchronous remote learning options from time zones outside the U.S. International students can visit global.psu.edu or contact the Office of Global Programs at 814-865-7681 for more information.

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To help prevent the spread of coronavirus and support a healthy return to living and taking classes on campus, all students and employees have a personal and collective responsibility to follow guidelines from the University, which are aligned with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health. For example, students and employees will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing in classrooms, labs, offices, and other indoor public spaces, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community healthy. While we expect high levels of compliance, non-adherence to these guidelines in a way that elevates exposure and risk for others in the community will be addressed in a manner consistent with how other violations of University guidelines and policies are managed.

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Maintaining the health and safety of the campus and local communities is the top priority driving Penn State’s decision-making and policy changes as it relates to the pandemic. The University is asking students, prior to returning to campus, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival.

Penn State also will encourage flu vaccination for all students before the onset of flu season, or certainly before the start of the spring semester, with an eye toward addressing the complicated season that is likely to include flu along with COVID-19, and to reducing as much as possible, a demand for health facilities in order to maintain capacity for the severely ill. At University Park, Penn State’s largest campus, officials are working closely with Mount Nittany Medical Center as part of collaboration with local public health entities, in accordance with state guidance. In addition, partnerships in the communities in which Commonwealth Campuses are situated also are taking place.

All actions being implemented are based on guidance from Penn State health experts and scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among others. The University will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.

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To allow in-residence instruction and activities to continue and to uphold the health and safety of campus and local communities, students will be urged to take personal responsibility and follow health guidelines, including wearing masks, adhering to physical distancing practices, washing hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition to providing education and support directly to students, fraternities and other student organizations, Penn State will collaborate and coordinate with local government officials, landlords and local employers to share resources and to encourage students to follow expectations for off-campus behavior. In addition, University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community as healthy as possible. Based on the governor’s guidelines advising against large gatherings, and out of respect for the risks to the broader University community, large gatherings are discouraged.

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On-campus research activities have resumed using a phased approach. As part of the return to on-campus research, unit-specific processes and protocols have been developed to prioritize the health and well-being of researchers, faculty, staff, students and the community. The return to on-campus research will be gradual, and all researchers who are able should continue to work remotely. The specifics of returning to on-campus research will look different for each college, campus, institute or unit. Investigators with questions regarding the specifics of returning to on-campus research activity should contact their dean, chancellor or institute director. Guidance for return-to-research plans are updated regularly and can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/COVID_return_research.

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The University will provide resources and support to international students who can’t be on campus to help them select courses and develop schedules that will enable them to move forward with their academic progress and advance toward a degree. As a member of Penn State, a student joins a long tradition of academic excellence with a university committed to providing unrivaled opportunities. It is through the dedication of exceptional students, faculty, and staff that makes Penn State a truly extraordinary place to study. Our faculty – who are the same in the classroom as those that would teach you remotely – have innovative solutions to provide exceptional learning experiences for our students. You will meet faculty, you will make friends, and you will set yourself on a path toward success this fall and when you are back on campus. We are ready for you now to help you prepare for your future. Additional options are being developed and considered and will be announced over the coming weeks.

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Graduate students also will return to campus in the fall in a manner consistent with that described in the announcement. While the specific environments associated with graduate education vary by program, Penn State is committed to providing a robust, and meaningful and flexible experience for all. More details will be forthcoming about how graduate programs will adapt in the fall from both The Graduate School and graduate programs associated with individual academic units.

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The University expects students to self-monitor their health, including for example by taking their temperature before going to class or campus. While fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, it is only one of the potential symptoms individuals may have. If you have a temperature or symptoms of feeling sick, individuals should reach out to their health care provider.

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Co-curricular learning is an important component of students’ college experiences. Student organizations are expected to adhere to all health and safety requirements established by the University, including social distancing and meeting virtually. While large gatherings will be prohibited upon return, restrictions may be loosened depending on results of early stage mitigation efforts. Recreational activities and facilities will be open if participants can adhere to social distancing, enhanced sanitation measures and other safety standards. Additional information relevant to specific activities will be forthcoming closer to the start of the semester.

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Penn State is prepared to be nimble and responsive based on the latest information, monitoring and evolving virus infection rates. The University will employ strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including testing, contact tracing, and monitoring and reacting to trends in data at the community, state and national levels to see if a pattern is emerging so leaders can act accordingly.

All classes that are planned to have in-person meetings will have contingency plans for reverting to remote instruction modalities if health circumstances require ending in-person learning earlier than Nov. 20. All future decisions will be based on the best available public-health information, in the interest of the safety and well-being of Penn State students, faculty and staff.

A number of factors may lead to additional distancing measures or adjustments to campus-based residential course delivery. These factors include changes in the virus caseload of a campus or region; a county’s status under the governor’s red-yellow-green guidelines; the capacity of the local health care system; community compliance with health and safety protocols; and additional risks, such as the onset of an early virulent flu season. Faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health are continuously monitoring county, state and local disease data, which will allow the University to respond to any changes in the pandemic that would require proactive steps to mitigate and manage any potential outbreak. Any recorded upticks will be analyzed and, as needed, decisions about the status of in-residence instruction will be made on a campus-by-campus basis, taking into consideration guidance from public health officials.

The University’s 16 task groups focused on responding to the coronavirus have been scenario planning for months. These scenarios necessarily include one in which Penn State must send students home from a campus and revert to remote learning. If our public health advisers become concerned that it is no longer safe for students and employees to be on our campuses, we are prepared to quickly take action and change course.

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As coronavirus cases are rising in parts of the country, what are Penn State’s intentions as it continues planning for back to campus?

The University is concerned by the current trends and continuously monitoring state and national disease data and following guidance from state and local health officials. Based on that guidance, and in consultation with faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health, the University is prepared to adjust its approach as necessary, including the possibility that Penn State would need to shift the semester to a fully remote learning environment once again. The University and Governor Wolf have previously stressed the importance of following guidelines to protect community health and minimize the spread of the virus, and cautioned that lax behaviors could undo progress toward reopening campuses.

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Classroom Guidance for Instructors is posted on the website for the Office of Student Conduct. This document describes the steps that faculty can take to provide a positive learning environment and manage COVID-related concerns in the classroom. The guidance includes a sample statement for faculty to include in their course syllabi as well as a series of steps that faculty can take if a student fails to adhere to health and safety requirements. Students who fail to comply with requirements will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and will not be allowed to return until the matter is addressed through Penn State’s conduct process. For more information on how to prepare to manage classrooms this fall, watch this video featuring Danny Shaha, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

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Penn State is strongly encouraging all students, as well as faculty and staff, to get a flu vaccine before the onset of flu season, or certainly before the start of the spring semester, to help alleviate the complicated season that is likely to include flu along with COVID-19. According to the CDC, September and October are good times to get vaccinated, but as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue into January or later. Penn State is encouraging flu vaccination in order to both protect the health of the University community and reduce demand on health care resources in and around Penn State campus communities to maintain capacity for the severely ill. Information about on-campus flu vaccine clinics will be provided as soon as possible. For additional information about the flu vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm.

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The University expects students to self-monitor their health, including for example by taking their temperature before going to class or campus. While fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, it is only one of the potential symptoms individuals may have. If you have a temperature or symptoms of feeling sick, individuals should reach out to their health care provider.

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The health of the Penn State community is our top priority, and we must all do our part in preventing the possible spread of coronavirus. Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation of class attendance policies. Sick students are expected to stay home and call their health care provider. In-residence courses will be delivered in a flexible format to allow students who miss class due to quarantine or illness to continue to make critical academic progress. University Park students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should begin the screening process for coronavirus over the phone by calling the UHS Advice Nurse at 814-863-4463. Students at Commonwealth Campuses should contact their on-campus health services office or a local physician’s office. Penn State urges faculty and staff to contact their health care provider if they have a cough, respiratory symptoms, a fever or have concerns related to COVID-19.

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The University is asking students, prior to returning, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival. It is in everyone’s best interest that students arrive after taking precautionary steps, to reduce the likelihood of community exposure. Over the summer, the University may have further guidance, depending on developments with COVID-19.

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The University is employing strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including testing, contact tracing, and monitoring and reacting to trends in data at the community and national levels.

A robust testing and contact-tracing program will test symptomatic individuals and conduct asymptomatic testing on individuals who are identified in the contact-tracing process. Penn State will hire additional staff to serve as contact tracers as needed to support all campuses and plans to enhance access to early health-care consultation and treatment. Contact-tracing supports virus case detection and is designed to help prevent future outbreaks. The University also is building capacity to isolate and quarantine individuals who test positive, including support for isolated persons, to facilitate proper medical care.

These efforts will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities that have been spelled out by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus and will include processes for testing students, faculty and staff. Additional details are forthcoming.

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Any student who feels sick or who has symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19, should stay home and seek the advice of a medical professional as appropriate. Students who test positive for the virus are expected to isolate for 14 days, and if a student was not tested on campus, they should notify University Health Services or the local campus health professional about the results. Individuals who test positive will be interviewed to identify people with whom they had close contact (less than six feet of distance for 15 minutes or longer within two to four days before the onset of symptoms). These close contacts will be alerted, asked to quarantine for 14 days, and asked to be tested immediately.

Students who must isolate will receive detailed instructions, and they will receive daily check-ins regarding their health. The University will work closely with these students to see that they continue to make academic progress, and to assist with any other needs that may arise.

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Above all, the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff is the University’s top priority. Individuals who are sick, think they have been exposed to coronavirus, exhibit symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19 are expected to stay home and/or leave work right away. Employees should isolate, monitor their symptoms and seek medical care as needed. The University is developing isolation guidance for employees. Employees should notify their supervisors, so their unit can begin a process to conduct contact tracing, notify individuals in the unit to monitor for symptoms, and begin temperature checks and health screenings for those who have been in contact with the sick individual. Policies and programs will be in place to support employees who are recovering from and/or caring for partners and family members with COVID-19. Most individuals who need to miss work due to COVID-19 to care for themselves or another individual are eligible to receive pay (up to certain maximums) for up to the first 80 hours, depending on full-time or part-time status, regardless of available sick time. Additional time off will be paid through accrued sick leave or short-term disability, if elected.

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Penn State will begin to have students and employees return to campuses in phases and will have significant prevention and public health procedures and strategies in place to support the health and safety of students, employees and local communities – the top priority in resuming on-campus activities. Given Pennsylvania’s county-by-county phased pandemic management plan, the status of each Penn State campus may vary, particularly for those that may be located in an area of the commonwealth where various restrictions are in place due to the number of COVID-19 cases in that region.

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Penn State’s plans for resuming on-campus activities align with the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s guidelines for colleges and universities, and the University will meet or, where possible, exceed, all of the expectations of Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. In line with public health guidance, the University is working through details over the summer to support our student and employee populations across all campuses. Additional details of testing plans will be provided in the near future as they are finalized.

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To support the health and well-being of students and employees, there will be extensive, daily cleaning of high-touch surface areas, classrooms, labs, offices, restrooms and other common spaces across the University. Desks, podiums, conference tables, interior doorknobs, interior doors, push plates, handrails, light switches and other identified high-touch areas will be cleaned and disinfected at an appropriate frequency. The University has procured several thousand hand-sanitizer stations, which will be placed in high-traffic areas, and hand sanitizer and/or cleaning wipes will be available for each classroom and classroom building. Enhanced cleaning practices also will be implemented for these spaces.

In addition, units will develop cleaning protocols and schedules to disinfect high-touch surfaces and shared equipment within their areas and offices. Guidance is available on the Environmental Health and Safety website. As part of these efforts, employees should avoid sharing tools and equipment as much as possible and supervisors should stagger shifts, if possible, for high-use shared equipment and establish disinfection protocols between uses. Individual employees also will be 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.

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Penn State will implement enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures using disinfectants approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There will be extensive and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces. In some cases, it will be necessary to adjust hours of operation for some buildings to accommodate the necessary cleaning and disinfecting, and in other cases there will be a phased approach to reopening. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

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The University has been working closely with CATA to understand the level of service that they anticipate being able to provide when students return in the fall, in light of current distancing, masking and cleaning guidance. While every effort will be made to provide service that resembles what was offered during the most recent academic year, route and schedule changes for the fall semester are likely in order to focus resources on the most significant campus and community transportation needs. More information on transit service availability will be shared in the coming weeks.

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This is understandable and there are resources available for both students and employees who are struggling and who need support with the transition back to campus. Students can contact their academic advisers for guidance. The Red Folder initiative is a guide to help faculty, staff and others who interact with students to recognize, respond effectively to, and refer distressed students at Penn State. Students at University Park can call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 814-863-0395 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Students at Commonwealth Campuses can contact the CAPS office at their campus location. When CAPS is closed, both the Penn State Crisis Line (877-229-6400) and the Crisis Text Line (text “LIONS” to 741741) are still available 24/7 for students at all campuses who are in crisis or need support. Faculty and staff who are in distress are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program, a free, confidential resource to be used as a first line of defense for personal or work-related concerns for yourself or your family.

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With the in-residence portion of the fall semester ending on Nov. 20, will room and board rates be adjusted accordingly?

Yes, room and board charges will be adjusted for the time period in late November and early December when students will be completing the fall semester remotely. Additional information will be provided in the near future.

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To help limit prolonged person-to-person contact, this fall, no residence hall room or space may be occupied by more than two residents. To the extent possible, single rooms will be provided to immunocompromised or at-risk students, or a student requesting one, although immunocompromised or at-risk students will receive priority consideration. Roommate requests also will be honored.

At least initially, guests will be prohibited in the residence halls, while the University monitors the return to campus.

Residence hall bathrooms will be cleaned at least two times each day; masks are expected to be worn in bathrooms, except when showering or brushing teeth. General facility cleaning regimens will be based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American College Health Association, the Department of Health and others.

Residence Life will significantly modify its programming and interactions with students to minimize risks associated with transmission of the virus, and social or physical distancing requirements in the residence halls will be strictly enforced.

Seating will be substantially reduced in common areas and lounges to accommodate physical distancing; all lounge space will be closed initially – all in accordance with the governor’s guidance. Over time, relaxation of that status will depend on the effectiveness of mitigation efforts. Elevator usage may be discontinued initially, except for special circumstances; at a minimum, occupancy in elevators will be more restricted than usual. One-way traffic for each stairwell, up or down, will be communicated and expected.

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It is Penn State’s goal to make on-campus dining as comfortable and convenient as possible while maintaining the safety of our students and visitors. Here are the steps we’re taking to meet those goals:

a. Capacity in campus dining facilities will be limited, with seating and tables removed to encourage physical distancing, in accordance with governmental mandates and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

b. Mobile ordering and carryout options will be expanded to reduce patron wait times.

c. To enhance safety, the dining commons will not be offering self-serve options, and menu selections will be streamlined to increase speed of service.

d. In addition, there will be extensive and regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and restroom spaces will be cleaned at least two times each day; these restrooms will be configured to encourage distancing among users.

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The University will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities for returning students and employees to campus provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which will include processes for testing students. The University is employing strategies to create an effective detection and management system for all of its campuses, including contact tracing, monitoring systems and looking at data in the community and nationally, to see if a pattern is emerging so leaders can act accordingly. Testing is developing rapidly and the plans for the return to campuses will be guided by the best available information at the time.

The University is asking students, prior to returning to campus, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. If test results are positive, we strongly encourage individuals to not return until they have quarantined for 14 days. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival.

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We are dedicated to supporting students who are immunocompromised or at-risk to identify and develop appropriate accommodations, for both on-campus housing and academic needs. Students in need of housing assistance can find contact information for Housing and Food Services at https://hfs.psu.edu/campuses. Students in need of academic assistance should reach out to their college or campus advising office.

For students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, there are flexible options so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.

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Do we need to maintain social distancing during class?

Yes, social distancing will be expected for all in-person activities on campus this fall, including in classes and labs, as a means to reduce possible virus transmission and to reduce the potential disruption to students’ learning by needing to quarantine close contacts. When in class, both students and instructors should maintain a distance of six feet (about two arm lengths) between one another. The task groups continue to review all of Penn State’s more than 1,700 classrooms, seminar rooms and labs across all instructional campuses to accommodate for social distancing requirements. Changes will be communicated for those that have already registered, and opportunities to work with advisers will be made available. Some non-classroom spaces will be repurposed for instruction and every class that meets in person will allow for appropriate social distancing. Additional measures — for example, assigned seating and monitoring of attendance to help facilitate contact tracing will be deployed as considered necessary. To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, and classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations across the campuses.

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The task groups continue to review all of Penn State’s more than 1,700 classrooms, seminar rooms and labs across all instructional campuses to accommodate for social distancing requirements. Based on a variety of factors, for example the needs and size of a class, classes will be reassigned to larger rooms to accommodate social distancing requirements. Changes will be communicated for those that have already registered, and opportunities to work with advisers will be made available.

Studies of Penn State classrooms are continuing across the campuses to revise room layouts; establish a distanced space for instructors; and to identify room capacities and potential alternative spaces for classes to take place. These efforts, along with the flexible educational model, delivering some classes remotely and/or online, will allow the University to lower classroom population density, allow for social distancing and meet both educational and safety goals.

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The University purchased 500,000 reusable masks to be distributed across all campuses. Cloth face masks will be provided to students as needed at the beginning of the semester and employees will receive face masks prior to returning to work. Masks will be required to be worn indoors in classrooms, labs, offices, and other public spaces on campus, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

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As part of a flexible delivery model, all courses with enrollment over 250 at University Park and over 100 at a Commonwealth Campus will be delivered remotely, per federal and state guidance. Campuses and colleges will have the latitude to decide how best to deliver courses with smaller enrollments. To enable social distancing, as needed, desks and seating in classrooms will be marked if they should not be used. If they were not equipped already, all classrooms on campus are being equipped for remote instruction via Zoom and other technologies.

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By following University and CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing and hand hygiene, students can have a direct impact in achieving an extended return to learning and living on campus this fall. Upon returning to campus, students will be asked to take personal responsibility both on and off campus and to sign a pledge to help uphold the health of the community by following University guidelines.

Mask wearing and social distancing will be required in class, and faculty members will have discretion to make delivery modality adjustments if they have concerns about adherence to University requirements. Faculty members have long had considerable influence over behavior in the classroom, either through informal conversations with students or through grading and class participation polices. Students will be warned first, but faculty will have the authority to remove students from class if they refuse to comply. Where students fail to comply despite these efforts, faculty members can refer students to the University’s conduct process through the Office of Student Conduct, and students will be required to participate in a disciplinary process before they can return to the classroom. Faculty will receive guidance on enforcement, and they will be supported in these critical measures.

To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces and other shared locations across the campuses.

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Yes, facilities will be open. However, there will be new occupancy limits in place and hours of operation may be adjusted for various buildings and facilities to support the health and safety of the campus community. These changes will be in addition to University-wide social distancing and masking expectations for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.

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As coronavirus cases are rising in parts of the country, what are Penn State’s intentions as it continues planning for back to campus?

The University is concerned by the current trends and continuously monitoring state and national disease data and following guidance from state and local health officials. Based on that guidance, and in consultation with faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health, the University is prepared to adjust its approach as necessary, including the possibility that Penn State would need to shift the semester to a fully remote learning environment once again. The University and Governor Wolf have previously stressed the importance of following guidelines to protect community health and minimize the spread of the virus, and cautioned that lax behaviors could undo progress toward reopening campuses.

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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all members of the University community. These include enhanced disinfection protocols, universal required masking, and alterations to classroom and office environments that help to ensure social distancing practices. Even with those measures, some employees who are part of vulnerable populations or who have family members who are part of a vulnerable population may have concerns about returning to the workplace.

Staff members who are in this situation and who have concerns about on-site work should make specific requests to alter the nature of their work to their manager.

Employees who believe that they have a disability that necessitates a reasonable accommodation or leave should contact the Affirmative Action Office or Absence Management, as appropriate.

For more information, visit the Return to Work website.

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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all members of the University community. These include enhanced disinfection protocols, universal required masking, and alterations to classroom and office environments that help to ensure social distancing practices. Even with those measures, some employees who are part of vulnerable populations or who have family members who are part of a vulnerable population may have concerns about returning to the workplace. Faculty who are in this situation and who have concerns about teaching in person should work with their unit executive (dean/chancellor or a designee) to determine whether adjustments can be made to their teaching duties and/or other duties. Faculty are urged to consider a variety of available instructional modalities that may give them the flexibility to fulfill their teaching duties. In addition, a faculty member who initially decides to teach one or more classes in person may request to alter the instructional modality at any point prior to or during the semester if they believe circumstances warrant it. Units are urged to remain flexible and think creatively about work adjustments while continuing to meet their educational goals.

Faculty members who believe they have a disability that necessitates a reasonable accommodation or leave should contact the Affirmative Action Office or Absence Management, as appropriate.

For more information, visit the Return to Work website.

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As always, the safety of faculty, staff, students and the community is our top priority. A return to work for employees is being approached deliberately and is being organized into phases. Some employees have continued to work on campuses to perform mission-critical work and others have begun returning in stages, including researchers who are unable to perform their work from home. Moving forward, other employees whose work must be completed on site will continue to return to campuses, including those preparing facilities for the return of students. Employees who are currently telecommuting but whose work can be more effectively performed on campus will be the next group to return to on-site work.

As the semester unfolds and the University continues to monitor the situation, employees who can effectively work remotely will be the last group to return to their workspaces, if needed. More information will be shared with individual units and employees regarding when they should expect to return to campus. In these cases, managers will be asked to develop plans that will facilitate the safe return of staff members, which will include social distancing, wearing appropriate face coverings, limiting the numbers of people in offices at any time and plans for additional cleaning.

Additional and up-to-date information related to return to work is available at https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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At this time employee temperature screening requirements will only apply in units with a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case. However, employees who self-monitor and who feel sick or have a fever should stay home. Additional protocols to uphold employee health include social distancing and masking expectations. To learn more, visit https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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For the safety of all employees and to align with social distancing to maintain a minimum six feet of physical distance among employees, supervisors will be asked to identify strategies to reconfigure shared offices and seating, including moving furniture, removing excess chairs, and reconfiguring seating as appropriate. In cases where necessary, such as spaces where employees interact face-to-face with students and customers, plexiglass or other dividers may be installed. To serve as a reminder to all, distance markers, directional arrows, signage and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, common areas, and other shared locations across the campuses.

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Changes will be made to offices and workspaces, as needed, to support social distancing and prioritize employees’ health and well-being. For example, supervisors will be asked to identify strategies to reconfigure shared offices and seating or stagger work shifts, breaks, and arrival and departure times to align with social distancing and maintain a minimum six feet of physical distance between employees. Meetings should be conducted virtually when possible, and employees should avoid use of break rooms, kitchens and other shared spaces as a gathering area. To learn more, visit sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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Yes. Employees will receive two cloth face masks. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, all employees will be required to wear masks — ideally cloth — while on campus, including outdoors, in hallways, classrooms, shared work areas, and other public spaces. Masks should be worn at all times, even while practicing social distancing. However, masks do not need to be worn when eating or drinking, when isolated in a private office or vehicle, or when use adversely affects an employee’s safety or health.

Employees isolated in their personal office space, which is not shared with any other colleagues, do not need to wear a mask, per Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. However, when an employee leaves their individual office or has invited a colleague into their office, they must wear a mask. Wearing masks while working at one’s desk is required in a shared office or cubicle setting, even when social distancing is maintained. Additional information on universal masking is available in the “Employee Guidance for Working on Campus” resource on the Penn State Environmental Health and Safety COVID-19 website.

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Yes. Face masks, soap and hand-sanitizer stations, disinfectant sprays and wipes will be available for all units to purchase through General Stores. The University also has procured several thousand additional hand-sanitizer stations, which will be placed in high-traffic areas.

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The health of faculty and staff members remains the University’s top priority as part of a phased return. If you have questions or concerns about your individual health circumstances, contact your supervisor and/or HR Strategic Partner. While there are processes and protocols being put in place to help support safe working environments across the campuses, those who can work effectively from home should continue to do so and will be last to return to campus. Phasing will prioritize those who have a need to perform work on-site.

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If you are feeling ill, you must stay home and/or leave work immediately. Employees should contact their health provider for guidance and notify their supervisors and follow normal unit-based notification protocols, so that their unit can begin a process to conduct contact tracing, notify individuals to monitor for symptoms, and begin temperature checks and health screenings. To learn more, visit sites.psu.edu/returntowork/. As a community, we must support each other by encouraging and following these guidelines, which are in place to protect each employee’s health and well-being.

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As part of the planning process for a phased return to work, processes and protocols have been put in place to support supervisors and employees when a colleague has tested positive for COVID-19. Among these protocols, contact tracing will begin and employees and students who have been in close contact with the individual will be notified, asked to quarantine while the individual is tested (even if asymptomatic), and to begin monitoring for symptoms. The individual’s work area will undergo a thorough cleaning and disinfecting procedure in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Health protocols.

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Given uncertainties about the status of local schools for the upcoming school year, as well as the individual circumstances of employees, the University is asking supervisors to be flexible in working with employees who find themselves without child care. Telecommuting may be an option for employees currently working remotely who can continue to perform the duties of their jobs from home. Faculty members teaching in-person classes in the fall should discuss their circumstances with their academic supervisors. However, all employees need to have individual conversations with their supervisor/HR regarding their specific circumstances. For some employees, FMLA-Public Health Emergency leave also may be available. (Please visit https://psu.app.box.com/s/6i0inw2xdp8viazb75tz68hz4gwgnp1c for more information.)

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At this time, the University is planning to reopen child care centers, consistent with all state and public health guidelines, to facilitate employees’ return to working on campus. More information regarding Penn State child care centers will be released in the coming weeks.

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Once classes transition to remote delivery, each unit leader will determine who needs to be on site based on work responsibilities and unit needs at the time. Employees should work with their direct supervisor to determine if they should continue to report to campus or if they will be able to work remotely.

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There are no changes to the University holiday schedule. The University will continue to observe the staff holidays set in Penn State policy and respective collective bargaining agreements.

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Individual units will determine whether employees will be required to work on Labor Day based on their specific needs. Employees who work Labor Day will be compensated based on University policies or the appropriate collective bargain agreement.

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