Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty and staff

Penn State has launched an integrated effort to remind faculty, staff and students at all campuses and in adjacent communities of the importance of doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19. “Mask Up or Pack Up” is a research-based campaign that is also launched in State College to create a seamless message for students and other members of the community. The creative execution, “Mask Up or Pack Up,” is grounded in insights from surveys and focus groups comprised of students, faculty, staff and the community, and is a direct expectation for everyone to take personal actions to help create a safer environment as students return to campuses across the commonwealth. Research revealed that the top two concerns from key stakeholders include being forced to return to a fully remote environment, as well as the critical need to protect those who are the most vulnerable in our community. The intent is to reinforce the Wolf Administration and University safety guidelines, shift attitudes and behaviors of the hard-to-persuade, and make essential preventative behaviors widely practiced.

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Students and employees should become familiar with guidelines and expectations for quarantine and isolation for this semester, as part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring in line with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While isolation and quarantine are both intended to limit the spread of disease, they have different meanings and different time requirements. Quarantine helps prevent people from spreading coronavirus before they know they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms, while isolation is reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, time requirements for quarantine and isolation depend on a variety of factors, including whether an individual has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, is showing symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19, and more.

The following provides a summary of quarantine and isolation time requirements for students and employees.

Pre-arrival self-quarantine:

— As part of the University’s Back to State plans, all faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, before moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. International students should also quarantine for at least 7 days after their arrival in the U.S. and prior to participating in on-campus activities and/or beginning classes. However, this may not be possible for every international student depending on their planned date of arrival in the U.S., which may mean they need to quarantine at their current location, take precautions (such as mask wearing and social distancing) during travel, and then continue their 7-day quarantine once they arrive in the U.S. Students should plan accordingly. The 7-day period is not an official quarantine (see below), as individuals being asked to partake in the 7-day process have not indicated exposure to the virus or have not been displaying symptoms. The 7-day period is another layer to encourage prudent behavior and diligence in avoiding risk prior to coming to campus. If necessary, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, employees and students returning to Pennsylvania from out of state should complete a 14-day quarantine after traveling from states with a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Quarantine:

— Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure, students and employees who believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and/or been identified during the University’s contact tracing process must quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the individual, in accordance with the CDC guidelines. The CDC provides guidance on when to start and end quarantine based on various scenarios.

— Faculty and staff should quarantine at home, students living on campus will quarantine in space identified on their campus, and case managers will evaluate quarantine needs for students living off campus as part of the contact tracing process. During quarantine, you may or may not develop symptoms of COVID-19. If you do experience symptoms, please contact your health care provider; students can contact University Health Services, their campus health center or their primary care provider.

Isolation:

— Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days. Students and employees who are experiencing symptoms and awaiting test results will need to isolate immediately. If the test result is negative, they no longer need to isolate. Faculty and staff should isolate at home, students living on campus will stay in isolation space on campus, and students living off campus will be accommodated with on-campus isolation space to the extent that the University is able. Individuals should not return to on-campus work or classes until cleared by a medical professional in accordance with CDC guidelines.

— According to CDC isolation guidance, individuals who tested positive and experience symptoms can be with others after at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared, after at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and after symptoms have improved. Individuals who tested positive but did not experience symptoms can be with others after 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test. For those who experienced severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days).

During the semester, students who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms should immediately contact University Health Services, their campus health center, or primary care provider. Faculty and staff who test positive will need to report their positive status to their supervisor, so their unit can begin the contact tracing process, and self-isolate off campus. For more information about the University’s testing and contact tracing plan, read this story in Penn State News.

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On Aug. 11, the Big Ten Conference, which includes Penn State, announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Masks with exhaust valves are not acceptable. This is because valves allow air and respiratory droplets to escape the mask, which results in less protection for others. Those who are wearing a mask with a valve do not meet Penn State’s mask wearing requirements. Guidelines surrounding the use of cloth masks are available on the EHS website and also on the University’s virus information website. Procedure masks are also acceptable. If you encounter someone wearing a mask with an exhaust valve in the instructional or work setting, respond to the person as though they forgot to wear a mask. Offer then an extra mask and remind the individual to not wear a mask with a valve in the future.

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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 physical distancing and wear face masks/coverings at all times in campus buildings; outdoors when they cannot be physically distant from others; and whenever state or local laws require.

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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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 has shared a comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy to support our student and employee populations across all campuses.

The University is in the process of finalizing contracts with a reputable COVID-19 testing company to conduct rapid turnaround testing for symptomatic students. Individuals who believe they are experiencing symptoms will need to make a telemedicine appointment with their campus health center for evaluation and directions for testing. University Health Services will share more information for the COVID-19 diagnostic process soon.

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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.

Penn State Absence Management will answer questions and assist employees with additional needs.

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When someone is identified as being positive for COVID-19, a nurse will reach out to collect information about that person’s close contacts, defined as individuals who have been within six feet of a positive case of COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes no more than 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or a positive test. This is in accordance with Pennsylvania state and CDC guidelines. A contact tracer will then reach out to those identified individuals with health precaution directions.

More detailed information about contact tracing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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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.

Penn State will be implementing a robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program that will consist of in-house and third-party contracted testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The plan includes testing for 30,000 students, faculty and staff from locations with a high prevalence of the disease before arrival on campus, as well as daily testing throughout the semester.

The University will conduct surveillance testing of faculty, staff and students on its campuses throughout the semester, testing about 1% of our campus populations (about 700 people) per day. The plan includes random and risk-stratified surveillance testing as well as asymptomatic testing for individuals who are identified in the contact-tracing process.

Penn State is in the process of signing contracts with COVID-19 testing companies, including Vault Health, for elements of the testing plan. Additionally, the University has set up on-campus testing capabilities using existing resources in a new Testing and Surveillance Center, which will be used for surveillance testing at University Park.

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.

More detailed information about symptomatic and asymptomatic testing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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

The Penn State contact tracing program will leverage and scale-up existing contact tracing protocols in place at the University. The spoke-and-hub modeled program will be run by the Office of Student Affairs, with representation from Commonwealth Campuses, and will include consistent oversight for all students, faculty and staff. The team of Student Affairs personnel, nurses and contact tracers will support the University community and enhance access to early health-care consultation and treatment. Contact-tracing supports virus case detection and is designed to help prevent future outbreaks.

More detailed information about contact tracing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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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.

As part of a layered approach, Penn State will be implementing a COVID-19 testing program that will consist of in-house and third-party contracted testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.The plan includes testing for 30,000 students, faculty and staff from locations with a high prevalence of the disease before arrival on campus, as well as daily testing throughout the semester.

In addition, the University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this semester. For example, all students must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. Those who are sick, think you have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, should continue to isolate and not return to campus until cleared by a medical professional.

Penn State also will encourage flu shots 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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As part of the University’s comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy, in August, Penn State will contact 30,000 students, faculty and staff who have been chosen for pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, based solely on the infection rates in the counties where they reside.

Individuals living in coronavirus “hot spots,” or areas with high or rising virus rates, will receive an email notification from the University with a unique test code and step-by-step instructions for an at-home COVID-19 saliva test, to be supervised by the vendor virtually, that will be sent through the mail overnight.

Students are required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Test results will be shared with the student and University Health Services.Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

All students, including those not selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing, must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

For more information about pre-arrival testing and other pre-arrival requirements for students, read this story in Penn State News.

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All students must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. In addition, those who are sick, think you have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, should continue to isolate and not return to campus until cleared by a medical professional. It is in everyone’s best interest that students arrive after taking precautionary steps, to reduce the likelihood of community exposure. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

Additional guidelines for everyone in the Penn State community include:

—If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive or is suspicious of COVID-19, do not return to your Penn State campus. See your health care provider and get a COVID-19 test. Only travel to campus after you have been cleared by your health care provider, following CDC guidelines.

—All faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

—Take every precaution in your travel to your Penn State campus to prevent introduction of COVID-19 to your campus community. If you are using any form of public transportation, follow all CDC guidelines regarding masking, physical distancing and hygiene practices.

—Individuals who have been recently tested as COVID positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared.

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As part of Penn State’s Back to State efforts, the University is planning to reopen the Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Center at University Park on Aug. 19. The University is developing plans in line with state, local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for safely reopening the two centers and will continue to provide additional details about these plans with parents and employees.

Given the unprecedented situation brought about by COVID-19, the University’s top priority for reopening is the health and well-being of the centers’ students, teachers and staff. Among the COVID-19 health and safety plans, which are currently being finalized by Penn State and center leadership in line with the University’s overall return-to-campus plans, are considerations for reduced class sizes and other social distancing measures, drop-off/pick-up processes, visitor policies, mask guidelines, daily temperature checks, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and much more.

In addition, Daybridge, which is managed by Bright Horizons, on the University Park campus plans to reopen on Aug. 17 with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

For additional information about the reopening, read this story in Penn State News.

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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. The Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Center at University Park will open on Aug. 19. Daybridge, which is managed by Bright Horizons, on the University Park campus plans to reopen on Aug. 17. More information regarding Penn State child care centers will continue to be shared with families and employees.

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The University plans to report on a campus-by-campus basis information that includes the numbers of tests and positive and negative results, and a public-facing dashboard will soon be made available to all in the community. While it will not reveal individual or specific location data that could compromise privacy, the dashboard will share general community-level disease prevalence indicators. This information will play an important role in the community’s adherence to guidelines. Flat or falling cases will affirm our community is taking appropriate steps to minimize spread. If there is an uptick in cases, awareness of the increase is important so that the community can redouble its efforts in masking and social distancing, and evaluate additional needs. We will provide more details about our reporting plans in the near future.

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​The Internal Revenue Service recently allowed employers to offer workers flexibility with their health care plans and Flexible Spending Accounts, including health care and dependent care. Penn State is allowing employees to make some adjustments to their health care plans. More details can be found at https://news.psu.edu/story/626070/2020/07/22/administration/irs-allows-benefits-changes-response-covid-19.

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To help create a safer learning, living and working environment for all students, faculty and staff, new classroom policies will be in effect this fall across Penn State’s campuses in alignment with public health recommendations and Gov. Tom Wolf’s requirements for higher education institutions. Specific policy guidance has been posted to the Office of Student Conduct website.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required for all students and employees in all University buildings, including in classrooms, labs and offices, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible.

While high levels of compliance are expected based on feedback from recent student and employee University surveys, those who put others at risk by not following the University’s requirements will be held accountable in a manner consistent with how other violations of Penn State guidelines and policies are managed.

To learn more, read this Penn State News story.

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Governor’s Guidance

An order issued by Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine on July 15 prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 25 and outdoor gatherings of more than 250. (Note: The order prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 25 does not apply to classrooms, per the Pennsylvania Department of Education.)

The guidance below applies to any Penn State-sponsored event, either on or off campus.

Indoor meetings and events
Meetings and events of 10 or fewer participants are permitted with no prior permission required. All participants must wear masks and meeting/event organizers must take into account the maximum occupancy of the space that allows for at least six feet of distance between participants. Requests to hold indoor meetings and events of between 11 and 25 participants must be submitted for approval to unit executives (see “Approval Process” below). No indoor meetings or events of more than 25 participants are permitted.

Outdoor meetings and events
Outdoor meetings of 10 or fewer participants are permitted with no prior permission required, taking into account the maximum occupancy of the space that allows for at least six feet of distance between participants. Masks are required when six feet of distance between participants cannot be maintained. Requests for outdoor meetings of between 11 and 250 participants must be submitted for approval to unit executives (see “Approval Process” below. No outdoor meetings or events of more than 250 participants are permitted.

Approval Process
Meeting/event organizers requesting permission for an indoor meeting of between 11 and 25 participants, or an outdoor meeting or event of between 11 and 250 participants, must:

—Explain how the proposed event is in alignment with the mission of the university;
—Provide justification as to why the meeting or event cannot take place virtually or in a hybrid format (some participants in person and others virtually);
—Provide the total number of individuals attending the meeting or event, which must include the employees working the event;
—Include a plan that outlines how the organizers will meet the state of Pennsylvania’s regulations. Masks and other required PPE must be worn if the event is indoors and plans for abiding by social distancing guidelines must be included;
—Provide evidence that employees requesting to attend the meeting or event have been approved via the Return to Work process. A request must be made to return employees to the workplace at https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/;
—If the event is on campus, work with the Office of Physical Plant to determine the room capacity that allows for social distancing;
—Keep a list of all attendees, the ‘return to work’ approval status of employees, the locations from which non-employees are traveling, and their telephone numbers for contact purposes.

Events should be scheduled with the full understanding that if the county in which the campus is located moves to the Yellow or Red phase or if state guidance otherwise changes, the guidelines for the county must be followed and the event may need to be cancelled.

Campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red Phase
At campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red phase, no meetings or events of any kind with more than 10 attendees may be scheduled. For essential indoor events of between 11 and 25, or outdoor events of between 11 and 250, at campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red phase, approval to hold the event must be sought from Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones, at provost@psu.edu. All requests must include a description of how social distancing will be maintained at the event.

Attention to COVID rates in other areas
Meetings that require travel between campuses that are in the Yellow or Red phase, or where participants are from states where cases of COVID-19 are rising, should only be permitted if there are special circumstances and with unit executive approval. All Penn State employees must follow existing travel guidance.

Unit executives should elevate meeting/event requests to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs if there is uncertainty about whether the meeting/event should be approved.

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At this time, the University plans to utilize the Nittany Lion Inn on campus for additional classroom space and single-occupancy housing for on-campus resident students. The Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center is expected to reopen in July, following the latest guidance from government and public health authorities.

For questions about current reservations, please call 800-233-7505 or email reservations@psu.edu.

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The University is working with the Wolf Administration on its Back to State plans and has confirmed with the Pennsylvania Department of Education that the order limiting indoor gatherings to fewer than 25 people does not apply to classrooms. Other indoor gatherings, however, cannot exceed 25 individuals and must adhere to masking and social distancing requirements. The University will continue to work closely with the Wolf Administration on its return-to-campus plans and is prepared to shift quickly as the pandemic and resulting orders and guidelines evolve, all with a focus on the health and safety of Penn State campuses and surrounding communities

All schools in Pennsylvania, including universities, continue to be subject to guidance from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which are designed to aid in safely resuming in-person instruction. These guidelines allow for larger groups in classrooms as long as face masking and social distancing are in place. The University has committed to meeting and, where possible, exceeding the Wolf Administration’s guidelines.

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Beginning July 1, 2020, employees must seek permission for University-affiliated domestic travel, including air travel, from their unit executive (e.g., dean, chancellor). Employees are asked to limit travel where possible and consider virtual options that might replace or reduce the need to travel. College of Medicine faculty at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, both clinical and basic science, are expected to follow the shared guidelines issued together by Kevin Black, interim dean of the College of Medicine, and Penn State Health.

Employees wishing to travel should:

• Carefully review the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance.

• Research the restrictions imposed in the area(s) to which they are traveling and ensure that they can comply with the restrictions.

• Obtain permission to travel from their unit executive.

• Arrange any necessary air travel through Anthony Travel, Penn State’s preferred travel agency, when possible.

Once approved for travel, employees must comply with the following:

• Practice social distancing and hygiene recommendations before and during travel.

• Obtain masks, hand sanitizer, and any PPE that might be necessary in the course of their work while traveling. Masks should be worn at all times when interacting with others and as advised by the area(s) to which they are traveling.

• Travel one person per vehicle unless an exceptional circumstance dictates otherwise.

• Observe the following guidelines when returning home:

Domestic travel to/from other states, or to/from a yellow/red county:

Asymptomatic individuals who have been given permission for on-site work can continue to work following the “Health Monitoring and Temperature Screening” process in the COVID-19 Supervisors Instructions.
—For 14 days after returning home, employees must take their temperature at home within one hour before reporting to work and report “ok” status to supervisor or designee before arriving to work.
—Individuals who become ill/symptomatic must stay home and follow the COVID-19 reporting protocols.

Domestic travel between green counties within PA:
—No restrictions for asymptomatic individuals. Employees who become ill should stay home and follow COVID-19 reporting protocols.

Employees commuting to the workplace between counties within Pennsylvania or other states:

• All employees are working remotely until further notice; employees returning to the workplace at this time must have prior approval.

• Individuals should monitor their health; if they become ill/symptomatic, stay home and follow the COVID-19 reporting protocols.

• Individuals do not need to report health condition unless they become ill/symptomatic.

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Deans, chancellors and institute directors are responsible for faculty, staff and student compliance with each of their unit’s plans. If an individual is aware of any noncompliance, they should report it to the appropriate dean, chancellor or institute director. Alternatively, they can report the situation to their facility coordinator, who will then communicate with the appropriate unit leader. Persistent noncompliance, when confirmed, may result in removal of the individual’s approval for conducting research on campus or at other facilities.

Additional information regarding return-to-research plans can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/COVID_return_research.

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Penn State announced in May that employees who are unable to perform their work remotely or are receiving 50% of their salaries will receive a parking fee refund. Eligible employees will receive reimbursement for each pay period, beginning with May and for each pay period until they return to full pay. Reimbursement for May and June will be disbursed at the end of July for employees paid monthly and on July 17 for employees paid biweekly. If an employee received pay with one of the following earning types (between May and June 30 for monthly and May 1 and June 20 for biweekly) as noted on their pay slip, they are eligible for a refund:

• Emergency Pay Reduction 50%

• Other Emergency Paid Leave PB

• Emergency Pay Reduction 50% NRE

• Emergency Paid Leave 50% NRE

• Emergency Paid Leave PB NRE

• Emergency Paid Leave 50%

NOTE: PB stands for part-time, position based and NRE stands for not retirement eligible.

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Parking deductions are taken out of your paycheck as a pre-tax deduction. This is noted in the “Pre-Tax Deduction” section of your pay slip in Workday. The IRS considers this refund as “income,” so therefore the University must take the appropriate taxes before refunding any monies.

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Your total refund will be made minus the current pay period deduction (based on your per pay period cost and applies to both monthly and biweekly employees) if you currently have an active parking permit and deduction.

For example, if your current deduction is $17.08 per pay period and you were not working for four, full pay periods, your total refund will be $68.32, but you will see a refunded amount of $51.24 on your check.

Refund = Total parking costs for “x” pay periods – minus current pay period deduction

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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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If an exception to conduct a search is granted, academic units should use Zoom or other virtual tools for interviews whenever possible to prioritize the health of candidates and interview participants and their families. On-campus interviews with international candidates should be held virtually with campus visits postponed until Penn State permits international travel. Interviews should be as consistent as possible for each candidate and ensure that evaluation of all applicants is based on the extent to which applicants meet the criteria for the position.

Candidates for faculty positions must follow Penn State’s travel guidance. Employees arranging and/or attending in-person meetings or events related to a candidate’s on-campus visit must comply with meeting and event guidance. Non-employees who participate in meetings or events associated with a campus visit must be approved to attend by the sponsoring unit’s executive per the guidance pertaining to visitors.

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Existing Visiting Scholars
Those Visiting Scholars whose applications have been approved and have a visa stamp may come to Penn State as planned. Those who have not yet obtained a visa stamp are asked to reschedule their arrival until Feb. 1, 2021. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as State Department and other public health guidance evolves.

Moratorium on New Applications
Based on the recent U.S. Department of State Global Health Advisory and visa services suspension, Penn State is not accepting new Visiting Scholar applications until further notice. This moratorium applies to domestic and international visiting scholars. Applications currently in the system will not be approved. Requests for exceptions may be made to vpfa@psu.edu.

Extensions for Current Visiting Scholars
If a Visiting Scholar was scheduled to depart before July 1, 2020 but wants to stay at Penn State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an extension request must be submitted in DocFinity. Please work with the staff in the academic unit who submit Visiting Scholar requests. Questions from units regarding extensions and required documentation should be directed the dean or chancellor designee in each unit. If assistance is needed from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, contact Mindy Kowalski at msk22@psu.edu.

Paid J-1 Scholars

Per guidance from the U.S. Department of State,post-docs who are foreign nationals who have not yet obtained a visa stamp are asked to reschedule their arrival until February 1, 2021. Unit executives should send exception requests to vpfa@psu.edu and include a description of why the appointment is essential. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as State Department and other public health guidance evolves.

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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all employees during the transition back to in-person work functions. These plans include enhanced disinfecting protocols, required mask-wearing, and alterations to classroom and office environments to allow for proper social distancing. Even with these measures, Penn State recognizes that employees who are part of a vulnerable population, such as those who are immunocompromised, or those who live with individuals who are part of a vulnerable group, may have concerns about returning to the workplace.

Staff members, including technical service employees, who are in this situation and have concerns about returning to on-site work should make specific requests to their manager to continue to work remotely, if feasible for unit operations, or to alter the nature of their work or their work schedule. Unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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, which includes specific information for staff and technical service employees, as well as this Penn State News article.

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Faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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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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 required 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 flexible mix of remote, in-person, or a hybrid of both modes, mixing remote and in-person, 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. Following University guidance, campuses and academic units will determine how to deliver smaller classes, which may need to be offered remotely due to health and safety considerations for faculty and students, restrictions that physical distancing places on class size and room availability, and the status of virus spread in local communities.

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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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 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, and to stay home as well.

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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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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 Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) announced operational plans for the fall 2020 semester on July 24 that will impact both campus and community transit service beginning Saturday, Aug. 22.

Service changes that will be in effect throughout the fall semester include:

—No Blue Loop or White Loop campus transit service.

—No Sunday transit services.

—All CATA services will begin at 6 a.m. and end no later than 12:30 a.m. each day, with reduced service between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

While Blue Loop and White Loop campus service will not be available, CATA will continue to operate the Red Link and Green Link campus routes, with additional service to be added to the Green Link. Penn State Transportation Services will also continue to operate its two Campus Shuttle routes, though with reduced capacity.

In the interest of health and safety, Penn State and CATA made a joint decision not to run the Blue and White Loops this fall. The Blue Loop and White Loop are University-contracted services, and Penn State instead made those buses and drivers available to CATA for other service routes in the community that transport students, faculty and staff to and from campus. By redirecting these resources to peak demand periods for these routes, CATA expects to reduce the average number of riders per vehicle to help mitigate COVID-19 risk associated with longer wait periods in densely populated areas and confined spaces.

CATA’s passenger protocols

CATA, however, will not be specifically restricting the number of riders on each vehicle but will require all passengers to wear a face covering while waiting for or riding on CATA services, and to practice social distancing when and where possible, as part of its fall 2020 passenger protocols. CATA has also implemented a daily schedule of disinfecting all vehicles through rigorous industrial electrostatic cleaning and sanitation. Individuals will need to determine if use of CATA services during the COVID-19 pandemic is right for them, but it is strongly encouraged that use be limited to essential trips. Students, faculty and staff living closer to campus are encouraged to walk or bike where possible.

To provide the best opportunity for a more socially distanced riding experience, riders are encouraged to plan trips in advance and to ride during off-peak times. Real-time bus locations and arrival predictions are available through the MyStop, TransLoc or Penn State Go mobile apps.

Full details on CATA’s fall 2020 operational plans and passenger protocols can be found at the CATA website. For questions related to CATA service, call 814-238-2282 or email cata@catabus.com. CATA is a joint municipal authority that serves the six Centre Region municipalities, as well as Bellefonte Borough and Spring and Benner townships.

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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, social distancing will be required 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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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 have received 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 are strongly encouraged to self-monitor their temperature and complete the COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app daily before coming to campus for work. Anyone who has a fever or feels sick should stay home and consult their health care provider. Additional protocols to uphold employee health include social distancing and masking requirements in the workplace. 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/.

As a reminder, unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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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.

Face shields are not considered an adequate substitute for masks, but should be worn in combination with a cloth or procedure mask in certain circumstances outlined in the “PPE and Instruction Recommendations per Learning Environment” section of the Universal Masking and PPE Recommendations document. Additional information related to PPE and the use of face shields also is available on the University’s Keep Teaching 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, and processes and protocols are being put in place to help support safe working environments across the campuses.

The University does not expect faculty who are immunocompromised, live with someone who may be, or have other special circumstances to teach in a physical classroom. Faculty who have concerns about teaching in person should work with their unit executive (dean, chancellor or a designee) to request work adjustments and discuss available options. Units are being advised that faculty requests to work remotely due to such concerns should be allowed if feasible.

Faculty members are urged to consider a variety of available instructional modalities that may give them the flexibility to fulfill their teaching duties. In addition, faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with their supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Units are encouraged to remain flexible and think creatively about work adjustments while continuing to meet their educational goals.

Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Staff members, including technical service employees, who have concerns about returning to on-site work, including those who are immunocompromised, live with someone who may be, or have other special circumstances, should make specific requests to their manager to continue to work remotely, if feasible for unit operations, or to alter the nature of their work or their work schedule. Unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

For more information, visit the Return to Work website, which includes specific information for faculty, staff and technical service employees, as well as this Penn State News article.

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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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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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The U.S. Department of State has issued a worldwide Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory and is advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends avoiding all nonessential international travel. Penn State is extending the same guidance to all students, faculty and staff.

Penn State is urging faculty, staff and students to be vigilant and to continue to exercise good judgment to stay as safe as possible. We have placed restrictions on University-affiliated travel, and though we cannot dictate decision-making pertaining to other professional and personal travel, such travel is strongly discouraged. In addition to the risk to their personal health, travelers should be aware of the elevated risk to other members of the community — including individuals with compromised immune systems and the elderly — should they become infected.

Travelers should consult the CDC’s website for the latest travel health notices, and research the restrictions imposed in the country they plan to visit, as well as any U.S. government restrictions that could impact their return to the United States, as the global travel situation is changing frequently. With widespread, ongoing transmission of novel coronavirus worldwide, if you have traveled internationally in the past 14 days, stay home and monitor your health.

The CDC recommends that individuals stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if they are at higher risk of severe illness. If you must travel for personal reasons, follow any state and local travel restrictions currently in place.

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Yes, an employee seeking assistance may submit an application as outlined in Policy HR100 - Employee Assistance Fund.

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Limiting the density of our on-campus population reduces the chances of incidental contact that spreads illness. To further reduce the chances of exposure, we are developing protocols to limit public access to campus buildings. Units are strongly encouraged to continue to engage with visitors remotely whenever possible.

Individuals wishing to have a non-employee visit campus for any period of time must make a request to their unit executive. These individuals may not meet the definition of a Visiting Scholar (guidance about Visiting Scholars is available here). Examples of visitors include, but are not limited to, those wishing to audit a class, those wishing to participate in a meeting in person, invited speakers, guest lecturers/speakers in a class, or research collaborators making a short-term visit.

The request to the unit executive should include where the visitor is traveling from, why the interaction cannot take place virtually, and the length of the proposed visit. When reviewing requests, unit executives should give attention to the locations from which visitors are traveling and the COVID-19 rates in those locations.

Visitors must comply with all COVID health and safety guidelines during travel and while on campus.

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For support addressing accessibility concerns that students with disabilities may encounter in the remote learning environment, faculty can schedule one-on-one consultations by filling out the Accessibility Consultation Form. The Accessibility Team can offer assistance with accessible digital course materials, lecture technology, Canvas, captioning, or any other accessibility questions.

Accessibility Training for Instructors webinar sessions are also available via Zoom for faculty to learn how to develop and transition summer courses to a remote environment. Log in with your Penn State Access Account on the Learning Resource Network website to register for these sessions.

Additional information and resources for faculty members are available at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/.

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In light of Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased reopening plan for Pennsylvania, which calls for telework to continue when feasible even where other activities are set to resume, Penn State faculty and staff at all campuses who are currently working remotely should plan on continuing to do so until further notice, unless otherwise advised by their supervisor or unit leadership.

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Penn State joins a multitude of other universities and colleges facing similar serious fiscal situations and critical choices to avoid impacting their core missions of teaching, research and service, as they contend with the unprecedented financial challenges caused by the global pandemic. Our economy has been crippled by the need to enact social distancing, and no enterprise is immune, including Penn State.

At this time, as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, some of our employees do not have work they can perform. In order to support these employees despite the lack of work at this time, the University will continue to pay them 50% of their salary until July 31, as announced by President Eric Barron during a June 22 virtual town hall for faculty and staff. These employees will continue to receive their benefits based on the adjusted salary received. This includes our Teamsters Local Union No. 8 employees. Penn State anticipates that most furloughed employees will return to work in August.

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The Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is currently operating its HM (Nittany Mall/Toftrees), K (Cato Park), N (Martin St./Aaron Dr.), P (Tussey Mountain), R (Waupelani Drive), V (Vairo Blvd.), W (Valley Vista), XB (Bellefonte), and XG (Pleasant Gap) Community Routes, and the Blue Loop and Red Link, with service beginning at 6 a.m. daily and extended to include Saturdays. Beginning, June 22, additional Red Link buses were added to accommodate return of employees and students to campus. The White Loop and Green Link do not operate during the summer. Updated schedules may be found at the CATA website. Beginning July 6, Blue Loop and Red Link service will begin at 4:45 a.m. weekdays.

Beginning July 6, the Campus Shuttle will resume regular summer service, with the via College Avenue route serving stops every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is no Campus Shuttle via Beaver Avenue service during the summer.

The Hershey Shuttle will not operate until further notice.

Please note that buses and shuttles will be operating with significantly reduced capacity and will be unable to meet normal ridership demand. Until further notice, it is strongly encouraged that transit services be used for essential trips only, including trips by those with mobility disabilities. Students, faculty and staff who are able are urged to walk or bike.

On July 24, CATA announced service changes for the fall, which will go into effect on Saturday, Aug. 22, and remain in place through the end of the fall 2020 semester.

Service changes that will be in effect throughout the fall semester include:

—No Blue Loop or White Loop campus transit service.

—No Sunday transit services.

—All CATA services will begin at 6 a.m. and end no later than 12:30 a.m. each day, with reduced service between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

While Blue Loop and White Loop campus service will not be available, CATA will continue to operate the Red Link and Green Link campus routes this fall, with additional service to be added to the Green Link. Penn State Transportation Services will also continue to operate its two Campus Shuttle routes, though with reduced capacity.

Full details on CATA’s fall 2020 operational plans and passenger protocols can be found at the CATA website, as well as in this Penn State News article.

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All University-sponsored international travel involving students, faculty and staff is suspended until further notice. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as State Department and other public health guidance evolves.

If travel is essential, requests should be screened by and submitted through unit executives to Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones at provost@psu.edu and include a description of why the travel is mission critical. For the Applied Research Laboratory, essential travel will be reviewed by Senior Vice President for Research Lora G. Weiss at OSVPRTravel@psu.edu. For the College of Medicine, essential travel will be reviewed by Interim Dean of the College of Medicine Kevin Black at dean@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. After this review, all travel requests will be sent to the Global Safety Office for review by the International Restricted Travel Committee prior to final approval.

Employees wishing to travel internationally must request approval at least one month prior to the expected date of departure. Requestors must must receive approval prior to purchasing airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc. Once approved, all international travel must be registered with the Travel Safety Network at least three business days prior to departure. All travel arrangements MUST be made through Penn State’s travel provider, Anthony Travel. The Global Safety Office (TSN@psu.edu) will continue to assist approved international travelers and be a resource for any questions about health and safety at your destination(s).

Requests must contain the following elements:

1. Identify why the travel is critical.
2. Provide a proposed travel itinerary with the expected dates of travel and country or countries to be visited.
3. Review health and safety information for the country or countries you plan to visit, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

—Please describe the prevalent risks currently present in the country or countries where you are proposing to travel. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for the country you are traveling to as well as United Healthcare Global WorldWatch report to research current risks associated with your travel.
—For the risks you have identified, please explain how you would prepare for and mitigate those risks and respond to possible emergencies.
—Please indicate any previous travel experience and/or language skills that may be relevant to the country in which you plan to travel.

4. Carefully review the PA Dept of Health Travel guidance.
5. Review the Penn State COVID-19 site.
6. Please research the restrictions imposed in the area(s) to which you are traveling and ensure that you can comply with the restrictions.
7. Provide documentation that the institution/organization you will be visiting has provided you with permission, if applicable.
8. Your unit executive should submit this request on your behalf and indicate their approval and indicate their approval and affirmation that the research being conducted is essential.

Please note the following:

1. All requests to travel must be submitted at least one month prior to the date of departure.
2. All international travel must be registered with the Travel Safety Network at least three business days prior to departure. All travel arrangements MUST be made through Penn State’s travel provider, Anthony Travel.
3. Practice social distancing and hygiene recommendations before and during travel.
4. Obtain masks, hand sanitizer, and any PPE that might be necessary in the course of your work while traveling. Masks should be worn at all times when interacting with others and as advised by the area(s) to which you are traveling.
5. A quarantine of 14 days should still be required upon arrival at their destination and a similar instruction to remain at home and monitor health for 14 days will apply should they return to the United States under current guidelines.
6. Policy TR01, International Travel Requirements, applies to all international travel.

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On March 20, the University announced that, in acknowledgement of the COVID-19 crisis and its extraordinary impacts on our faculty, Penn State is extending the provisional tenure period starting with the 2020-2021 academic year for all faculty in their pre-tenure probationary period, as defined in University policy AC23. ALL tenure-line faculty in their probationary period during spring 2020 are eligible. By completing the online form titled “Confirmation of Extension of the Probationary Period Due to COVID-19,” the faculty member’s probationary period will be extended by one year. Confirmation of the extension may be submitted at any time up until April 1 of the penultimate year of the probationary period (April 30 for those whose sixth-year tenure review is scheduled for fall 2020). Email questions about the extension of the probationary period due to COVID-19 to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at vpfa@psu.edu. Comprehensive FAQs pertaining to this guidance are provided online.

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For employees needing support, the Penn State Employee Assistance Program (EAP), through the EAP+Work/Life program, offers short-term counseling from licensed EAP professionals, by phone, email or in person to help employees better cope with personal, family and work issues. EAP also offers access to Personal Health Advocates, who can help navigate healthcare and insurance systems, efficiently and dependably. More information is available at https://hr.psu.edu/health-matters/employee-assistance-program.

For a full list of resources available to students and other members of the Penn State community, visit https://virusinfo.psu.edu/resources.

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Penn State Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), in coordination with University Health Services and Human Resources, has developed new protocols related to COVID-19 to help protect the health of employees who are continuing to perform mission-critical functions on campus.

These processes include instructions for supervisors who are responding to reported COVID-19 cases, the University’s cloth mask requirement, cleaning procedures, and guidance for employees working on campus. In addition, they include direction for employees to contact Penn State Absence Management at absence@psu.edu or 814-865-1782 if they are self-quarantining, exposed to or develop symptoms of the virus.

Additional information is available on Penn State News and at https://ehs.psu.edu/covid19.

For additional health and safety FAQs for employees working on campus, visit https://ehs.psu.edu/sites/ehs/files/employee_working_on_campus_questions.pdf.

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The health of the Penn State community is our highest priority, and we must all do our part in preventing the possible spread of coronavirus. Penn State faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home if they feel sick, particularly if they have a fever. We are asking faculty and employee supervisors to be flexible with work and class absences.

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See HRG11 Family and Medical Leave.

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If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms at work, please leave work immediately. If an employee develops symptoms while away from work, please stay home and notify your supervisor in either case.

Managers should review the COVID-19 Instructions for Supervisors – Assessment and Reporting and reach out to Absence Management directly at absence@psu.edu or 814-865-1782.

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Additional details are available at https://hr.psu.edu/covid-19-coronavirus.

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To give University employees appropriate time to complete their 2019-20 performance management cycle, Penn State Human Resources is extending the time needed to complete the final step of the process (end-of-year review) to Friday, May 1, through Friday, July 31.

Previously, this step was to begin on Wednesday, April 1, with completion by Sunday, May 31. However, due to the current coronavirus pandemic, Human Resources, in agreement with University leadership, believed it was in the best interest of our employees to extend the time frame.

Additional details are available on Penn State News.

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For members of our research community who work at the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), please continue to follow ARL-specific guidelines, which ensure critical national security needs are maintained while also maximizing social distancing and adopting remote working protocols.

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Penn State Information Technology has created a website to answer your questions and provide links to resources that faculty and staff may need while working remotely.

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Yes, a faculty member may do this, but must also securely store the recordings and destroy them at the end of the semester. If a faculty member intends to use the recordings after the end of the semester, any type of identifying information must be removed. In addition, a faculty member must inform students that they are being recorded by sharing the following language with them: “Video and audio recordings of class lectures will be part of the classroom activity. The video and audio recording is used for educational use/purposes and only may be made available to all students presently enrolled in the class. For purposes where the recordings will be used in future class session/lectures, any type of identifying information will be adequately removed.”

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Yes, however, to reduce the potential for person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak, the University Health Services Pharmacy at University Park will no longer allow walk-ins and instead will only provide prescriptions by mail or curbside pickup, available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice.

Additional details are available in this Penn State News story.

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Transportation Services has received University approval to resume on-campus operations beginning Monday, July 6.

The Transportation Services Office and Fleet Operations will each reopen on Monday, July 6, with new operating hours:

Transportation Services Office

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Fleet Operations

6 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday

Fleet vehicle return will remain available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers with vehicle pickup needs outside of the new hours should email fleet@psu.edu to discuss pickup options.

The reduced hours will provide additional time for cleaning of high-contact surfaces in both customer and employee areas.

Campus Parking

Normal campus parking regulations will resume for all campus parking areas and users (faculty, staff, students, visitors) beginning Monday, July 6.

With the return of normal regulations, faculty/staff and student permit holders parking on campus during weekday daytime hours (7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday) will only be permitted to park in their assigned parking areas. Students and employees performing mission-critical work that requires closer parking access should email parking@psu.edu to discuss available permit upgrade options.

Full details regarding campus parking, transit, available services and COVID-19 safety protocols are available on Penn State News.

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For specific information, contact your local LaunchBox. In keeping with statewide guidance to close all nonessential public spaces, Penn State’s physical LaunchBox locations are closed until further notice. Depending on programming at individual locations, some support services, accelerator programs and events/workshops will be held online. Others have been postponed or canceled.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology has announced a planned return to in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester. For the latest information from Penn College, visit https://www.pct.edu/campus-life/college-health-services/coronavirus.

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— Campus buildings are typically in weekend-mode access, meaning the exterior doors are locked. Buildings can be accessed by employees that have critical and essential work to do in those buildings through either swipe access or a physical key.

— For the limited number of students who remain in on-campus housing, the University is offering daily meals in one on-campus convenience story, Market Pollock. All other on-campus dining is closed.

Campus Recreation facilities, programs and services at University Park campus are closed.

University Libraries’ physical locations are closed. Virtual library services and resources remain open, and faculty and staff are available remotely to assist with Penn State academic and research needs. Information on returning borrowed items is available in this Penn State News article. For more information, visit https://libraries.psu.edu/covid19.

— University computer labs are closed.

— All retail eateries in the HUB-Robeson Center and the retail operation of the Penn State Bookstore have closed as of March 17. Public access to the HUB also is restricted as part of the closure.

— Penn State’s Berkey Creamery reopened July 20 with limited hours and new procedures.

— The Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and Eisenhower Chapel, which houses the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development, are closed.

— The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center and The Nittany Lion Inn are closed.

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No. The university has a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. Faculty are aware that some students may have special circumstances that preclude the use of a webcam. Whenever possible, students should use their webcam during the classes conducted via Zoom, and they should use the other features such as chat and raise hand to participate and engage in the class.

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No. Faculty should adopt a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. A camera-optional approach respects student issues such as access and equity (some may not have cameras on their devices), safety and security (some may be deployed military or in need of safety or privacy), and religious strictures. Faculty members who previously did not take attendance in their in-person classrooms should continue to respect that their students will attend remotely. Faculty who took attendance previously should explore manual and automatic options for taking attendance through Zoom. For help with these options, visit keepteaching.psu.edu/training. If a faculty member chooses to record a Zoom session, student participation during the session should not be required. Students should be provided the choice to opt-out from identification in the recording by muting their audio, disabling video, and not typing into the chat window. In these cases, students should still be considered in attendance and should not penalized in any way.

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Penn State IT and Teaching and Learning with Technology have developed a knowledge base article that provides step-by-step instructions for securing Zoom sessions from would-be hijackers. Additionally, if one of your courses is hijacked, report the incident to University Police.

Additional details are available on Penn State News.

The University also implemented new default security changes to Zoom on May 11.

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Are there penalties for faculty, staff and students who do not follow health guidance related to working, living and being on campus?

To help create a safer learning, living and working environment for all students, faculty and staff, new classroom policies will be in effect this fall across Penn State’s campuses in alignment with public health recommendations and Gov. Tom Wolf’s requirements for higher education institutions. Specific policy guidance has been posted to the Office of Student Conduct website.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required for all students and employees in all University buildings, including in classrooms, labs and offices, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible.

While high levels of compliance are expected based on feedback from recent student and employee University surveys, those who put others at risk by not following the University’s requirements will be held accountable in a manner consistent with how other violations of Penn State guidelines and policies are managed.

To learn more, read this Penn State News story.

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The University is working with the Wolf Administration on its Back to State plans and has confirmed with the Pennsylvania Department of Education that the order limiting indoor gatherings to fewer than 25 people does not apply to classrooms. Other indoor gatherings, however, cannot exceed 25 individuals and must adhere to masking and social distancing requirements. The University will continue to work closely with the Wolf Administration on its return-to-campus plans and is prepared to shift quickly as the pandemic and resulting orders and guidelines evolve, all with a focus on the health and safety of Penn State campuses and surrounding communities

All schools in Pennsylvania, including universities, continue to be subject to guidance from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which are designed to aid in safely resuming in-person instruction. These guidelines allow for larger groups in classrooms as long as face masking and social distancing are in place. The University has committed to meeting and, where possible, exceeding the Wolf Administration’s guidelines.

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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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Faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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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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 flexible mix of remote, in-person, or a hybrid of both modes, mixing remote and in-person, 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. Following University guidance, campuses and academic units will determine how to deliver smaller classes, which may need to be offered remotely due to health and safety considerations for faculty and students, restrictions that physical distancing places on class size and room availability, and the status of virus spread in local communities.

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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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, and to stay home as well.

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Yes, social distancing will be required 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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Yes, a faculty member may do this, but must also securely store the recordings and destroy them at the end of the semester. If a faculty member intends to use the recordings after the end of the semester, any type of identifying information must be removed. In addition, a faculty member must inform students that they are being recorded by sharing the following language with them: “Video and audio recordings of class lectures will be part of the classroom activity. The video and audio recording is used for educational use/purposes and only may be made available to all students presently enrolled in the class. For purposes where the recordings will be used in future class session/lectures, any type of identifying information will be adequately removed.”

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No. The university has a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. Faculty are aware that some students may have special circumstances that preclude the use of a webcam. Whenever possible, students should use their webcam during the classes conducted via Zoom, and they should use the other features such as chat and raise hand to participate and engage in the class.

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No. Faculty should adopt a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. A camera-optional approach respects student issues such as access and equity (some may not have cameras on their devices), safety and security (some may be deployed military or in need of safety or privacy), and religious strictures. Faculty members who previously did not take attendance in their in-person classrooms should continue to respect that their students will attend remotely. Faculty who took attendance previously should explore manual and automatic options for taking attendance through Zoom. For help with these options, visit keepteaching.psu.edu/training. If a faculty member chooses to record a Zoom session, student participation during the session should not be required. Students should be provided the choice to opt-out from identification in the recording by muting their audio, disabling video, and not typing into the chat window. In these cases, students should still be considered in attendance and should not penalized in any way.

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Penn State IT and Teaching and Learning with Technology have developed a knowledge base article that provides step-by-step instructions for securing Zoom sessions from would-be hijackers. Additionally, if one of your courses is hijacked, report the incident to University Police.

Additional details are available on Penn State News.

The University also implemented new default security changes to Zoom on May 11.

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What is the status of faculty and staff domestic travel?

Beginning July 1, 2020, employees must seek permission for University-affiliated domestic travel, including air travel, from their unit executive (e.g., dean, chancellor). Employees are asked to limit travel where possible and consider virtual options that might replace or reduce the need to travel. College of Medicine faculty at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, both clinical and basic science, are expected to follow the shared guidelines issued together by Kevin Black, interim dean of the College of Medicine, and Penn State Health.

Employees wishing to travel should:

• Carefully review the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance.

• Research the restrictions imposed in the area(s) to which they are traveling and ensure that they can comply with the restrictions.

• Obtain permission to travel from their unit executive.

• Arrange any necessary air travel through Anthony Travel, Penn State’s preferred travel agency, when possible.

Once approved for travel, employees must comply with the following:

• Practice social distancing and hygiene recommendations before and during travel.

• Obtain masks, hand sanitizer, and any PPE that might be necessary in the course of their work while traveling. Masks should be worn at all times when interacting with others and as advised by the area(s) to which they are traveling.

• Travel one person per vehicle unless an exceptional circumstance dictates otherwise.

• Observe the following guidelines when returning home:

Domestic travel to/from other states, or to/from a yellow/red county:

Asymptomatic individuals who have been given permission for on-site work can continue to work following the “Health Monitoring and Temperature Screening” process in the COVID-19 Supervisors Instructions.
—For 14 days after returning home, employees must take their temperature at home within one hour before reporting to work and report “ok” status to supervisor or designee before arriving to work.
—Individuals who become ill/symptomatic must stay home and follow the COVID-19 reporting protocols.

Domestic travel between green counties within PA:
—No restrictions for asymptomatic individuals. Employees who become ill should stay home and follow COVID-19 reporting protocols.

Employees commuting to the workplace between counties within Pennsylvania or other states:

• All employees are working remotely until further notice; employees returning to the workplace at this time must have prior approval.

• Individuals should monitor their health; if they become ill/symptomatic, stay home and follow the COVID-19 reporting protocols.

• Individuals do not need to report health condition unless they become ill/symptomatic.

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The U.S. Department of State has issued a worldwide Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory and is advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends avoiding all nonessential international travel. Penn State is extending the same guidance to all students, faculty and staff.

Penn State is urging faculty, staff and students to be vigilant and to continue to exercise good judgment to stay as safe as possible. We have placed restrictions on University-affiliated travel, and though we cannot dictate decision-making pertaining to other professional and personal travel, such travel is strongly discouraged. In addition to the risk to their personal health, travelers should be aware of the elevated risk to other members of the community — including individuals with compromised immune systems and the elderly — should they become infected.

Travelers should consult the CDC’s website for the latest travel health notices, and research the restrictions imposed in the country they plan to visit, as well as any U.S. government restrictions that could impact their return to the United States, as the global travel situation is changing frequently. With widespread, ongoing transmission of novel coronavirus worldwide, if you have traveled internationally in the past 14 days, stay home and monitor your health.

The CDC recommends that individuals stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if they are at higher risk of severe illness. If you must travel for personal reasons, follow any state and local travel restrictions currently in place.

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All University-sponsored international travel involving students, faculty and staff is suspended until further notice. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as State Department and other public health guidance evolves.

If travel is essential, requests should be screened by and submitted through unit executives to Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones at provost@psu.edu and include a description of why the travel is mission critical. For the Applied Research Laboratory, essential travel will be reviewed by Senior Vice President for Research Lora G. Weiss at OSVPRTravel@psu.edu. For the College of Medicine, essential travel will be reviewed by Interim Dean of the College of Medicine Kevin Black at dean@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. After this review, all travel requests will be sent to the Global Safety Office for review by the International Restricted Travel Committee prior to final approval.

Employees wishing to travel internationally must request approval at least one month prior to the expected date of departure. Requestors must must receive approval prior to purchasing airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc. Once approved, all international travel must be registered with the Travel Safety Network at least three business days prior to departure. All travel arrangements MUST be made through Penn State’s travel provider, Anthony Travel. The Global Safety Office (TSN@psu.edu) will continue to assist approved international travelers and be a resource for any questions about health and safety at your destination(s).

Requests must contain the following elements:

1. Identify why the travel is critical.
2. Provide a proposed travel itinerary with the expected dates of travel and country or countries to be visited.
3. Review health and safety information for the country or countries you plan to visit, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

—Please describe the prevalent risks currently present in the country or countries where you are proposing to travel. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for the country you are traveling to as well as United Healthcare Global WorldWatch report to research current risks associated with your travel.
—For the risks you have identified, please explain how you would prepare for and mitigate those risks and respond to possible emergencies.
—Please indicate any previous travel experience and/or language skills that may be relevant to the country in which you plan to travel.

4. Carefully review the PA Dept of Health Travel guidance.
5. Review the Penn State COVID-19 site.
6. Please research the restrictions imposed in the area(s) to which you are traveling and ensure that you can comply with the restrictions.
7. Provide documentation that the institution/organization you will be visiting has provided you with permission, if applicable.
8. Your unit executive should submit this request on your behalf and indicate their approval and indicate their approval and affirmation that the research being conducted is essential.

Please note the following:

1. All requests to travel must be submitted at least one month prior to the date of departure.
2. All international travel must be registered with the Travel Safety Network at least three business days prior to departure. All travel arrangements MUST be made through Penn State’s travel provider, Anthony Travel.
3. Practice social distancing and hygiene recommendations before and during travel.
4. Obtain masks, hand sanitizer, and any PPE that might be necessary in the course of your work while traveling. Masks should be worn at all times when interacting with others and as advised by the area(s) to which you are traveling.
5. A quarantine of 14 days should still be required upon arrival at their destination and a similar instruction to remain at home and monitor health for 14 days will apply should they return to the United States under current guidelines.
6. Policy TR01, International Travel Requirements, applies to all international travel.

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What is the “mask up or pack up” campaign?

Penn State has launched an integrated effort to remind faculty, staff and students at all campuses and in adjacent communities of the importance of doing their part to limit the spread of COVID-19. “Mask Up or Pack Up” is a research-based campaign that is also launched in State College to create a seamless message for students and other members of the community. The creative execution, “Mask Up or Pack Up,” is grounded in insights from surveys and focus groups comprised of students, faculty, staff and the community, and is a direct expectation for everyone to take personal actions to help create a safer environment as students return to campuses across the commonwealth. Research revealed that the top two concerns from key stakeholders include being forced to return to a fully remote environment, as well as the critical need to protect those who are the most vulnerable in our community. The intent is to reinforce the Wolf Administration and University safety guidelines, shift attitudes and behaviors of the hard-to-persuade, and make essential preventative behaviors widely practiced.

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Students and employees should become familiar with guidelines and expectations for quarantine and isolation for this semester, as part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring in line with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While isolation and quarantine are both intended to limit the spread of disease, they have different meanings and different time requirements. Quarantine helps prevent people from spreading coronavirus before they know they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms, while isolation is reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, time requirements for quarantine and isolation depend on a variety of factors, including whether an individual has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, is showing symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19, and more.

The following provides a summary of quarantine and isolation time requirements for students and employees.

Pre-arrival self-quarantine:

— As part of the University’s Back to State plans, all faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, before moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. International students should also quarantine for at least 7 days after their arrival in the U.S. and prior to participating in on-campus activities and/or beginning classes. However, this may not be possible for every international student depending on their planned date of arrival in the U.S., which may mean they need to quarantine at their current location, take precautions (such as mask wearing and social distancing) during travel, and then continue their 7-day quarantine once they arrive in the U.S. Students should plan accordingly. The 7-day period is not an official quarantine (see below), as individuals being asked to partake in the 7-day process have not indicated exposure to the virus or have not been displaying symptoms. The 7-day period is another layer to encourage prudent behavior and diligence in avoiding risk prior to coming to campus. If necessary, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, employees and students returning to Pennsylvania from out of state should complete a 14-day quarantine after traveling from states with a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Quarantine:

— Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure, students and employees who believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and/or been identified during the University’s contact tracing process must quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the individual, in accordance with the CDC guidelines. The CDC provides guidance on when to start and end quarantine based on various scenarios.

— Faculty and staff should quarantine at home, students living on campus will quarantine in space identified on their campus, and case managers will evaluate quarantine needs for students living off campus as part of the contact tracing process. During quarantine, you may or may not develop symptoms of COVID-19. If you do experience symptoms, please contact your health care provider; students can contact University Health Services, their campus health center or their primary care provider.

Isolation:

— Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days. Students and employees who are experiencing symptoms and awaiting test results will need to isolate immediately. If the test result is negative, they no longer need to isolate. Faculty and staff should isolate at home, students living on campus will stay in isolation space on campus, and students living off campus will be accommodated with on-campus isolation space to the extent that the University is able. Individuals should not return to on-campus work or classes until cleared by a medical professional in accordance with CDC guidelines.

— According to CDC isolation guidance, individuals who tested positive and experience symptoms can be with others after at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared, after at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and after symptoms have improved. Individuals who tested positive but did not experience symptoms can be with others after 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test. For those who experienced severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days).

During the semester, students who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms should immediately contact University Health Services, their campus health center, or primary care provider. Faculty and staff who test positive will need to report their positive status to their supervisor, so their unit can begin the contact tracing process, and self-isolate off campus. For more information about the University’s testing and contact tracing plan, read this story in Penn State News.

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Masks with exhaust valves are not acceptable. This is because valves allow air and respiratory droplets to escape the mask, which results in less protection for others. Those who are wearing a mask with a valve do not meet Penn State’s mask wearing requirements. Guidelines surrounding the use of cloth masks are available on the EHS website and also on the University’s virus information website. Procedure masks are also acceptable. If you encounter someone wearing a mask with an exhaust valve in the instructional or work setting, respond to the person as though they forgot to wear a mask. Offer then an extra mask and remind the individual to not wear a mask with a valve in the future.

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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 physical distancing and wear face masks/coverings at all times in campus buildings; outdoors when they cannot be physically distant from others; and whenever state or local laws require.

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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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 has shared a comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy to support our student and employee populations across all campuses.

The University is in the process of finalizing contracts with a reputable COVID-19 testing company to conduct rapid turnaround testing for symptomatic students. Individuals who believe they are experiencing symptoms will need to make a telemedicine appointment with their campus health center for evaluation and directions for testing. University Health Services will share more information for the COVID-19 diagnostic process soon.

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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.

Penn State Absence Management will answer questions and assist employees with additional needs.

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When someone is identified as being positive for COVID-19, a nurse will reach out to collect information about that person’s close contacts, defined as individuals who have been within six feet of a positive case of COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes no more than 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or a positive test. This is in accordance with Pennsylvania state and CDC guidelines. A contact tracer will then reach out to those identified individuals with health precaution directions.

More detailed information about contact tracing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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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.

Penn State will be implementing a robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program that will consist of in-house and third-party contracted testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The plan includes testing for 30,000 students, faculty and staff from locations with a high prevalence of the disease before arrival on campus, as well as daily testing throughout the semester.

The University will conduct surveillance testing of faculty, staff and students on its campuses throughout the semester, testing about 1% of our campus populations (about 700 people) per day. The plan includes random and risk-stratified surveillance testing as well as asymptomatic testing for individuals who are identified in the contact-tracing process.

Penn State is in the process of signing contracts with COVID-19 testing companies, including Vault Health, for elements of the testing plan. Additionally, the University has set up on-campus testing capabilities using existing resources in a new Testing and Surveillance Center, which will be used for surveillance testing at University Park.

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.

More detailed information about symptomatic and asymptomatic testing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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

The Penn State contact tracing program will leverage and scale-up existing contact tracing protocols in place at the University. The spoke-and-hub modeled program will be run by the Office of Student Affairs, with representation from Commonwealth Campuses, and will include consistent oversight for all students, faculty and staff. The team of Student Affairs personnel, nurses and contact tracers will support the University community and enhance access to early health-care consultation and treatment. Contact-tracing supports virus case detection and is designed to help prevent future outbreaks.

More detailed information about contact tracing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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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.

As part of a layered approach, Penn State will be implementing a COVID-19 testing program that will consist of in-house and third-party contracted testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.The plan includes testing for 30,000 students, faculty and staff from locations with a high prevalence of the disease before arrival on campus, as well as daily testing throughout the semester.

In addition, the University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this semester. For example, all students must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. Those who are sick, think you have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, should continue to isolate and not return to campus until cleared by a medical professional.

Penn State also will encourage flu shots 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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As part of the University’s comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy, in August, Penn State will contact 30,000 students, faculty and staff who have been chosen for pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, based solely on the infection rates in the counties where they reside.

Individuals living in coronavirus “hot spots,” or areas with high or rising virus rates, will receive an email notification from the University with a unique test code and step-by-step instructions for an at-home COVID-19 saliva test, to be supervised by the vendor virtually, that will be sent through the mail overnight.

Students are required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Test results will be shared with the student and University Health Services.Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

All students, including those not selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing, must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

For more information about pre-arrival testing and other pre-arrival requirements for students, read this story in Penn State News.

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All students must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. In addition, those who are sick, think you have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, should continue to isolate and not return to campus until cleared by a medical professional. It is in everyone’s best interest that students arrive after taking precautionary steps, to reduce the likelihood of community exposure. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

Additional guidelines for everyone in the Penn State community include:

—If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive or is suspicious of COVID-19, do not return to your Penn State campus. See your health care provider and get a COVID-19 test. Only travel to campus after you have been cleared by your health care provider, following CDC guidelines.

—All faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

—Take every precaution in your travel to your Penn State campus to prevent introduction of COVID-19 to your campus community. If you are using any form of public transportation, follow all CDC guidelines regarding masking, physical distancing and hygiene practices.

—Individuals who have been recently tested as COVID positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared.

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The University plans to report on a campus-by-campus basis information that includes the numbers of tests and positive and negative results, and a public-facing dashboard will soon be made available to all in the community. While it will not reveal individual or specific location data that could compromise privacy, the dashboard will share general community-level disease prevalence indicators. This information will play an important role in the community’s adherence to guidelines. Flat or falling cases will affirm our community is taking appropriate steps to minimize spread. If there is an uptick in cases, awareness of the increase is important so that the community can redouble its efforts in masking and social distancing, and evaluate additional needs. We will provide more details about our reporting plans in the near future.

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​The Internal Revenue Service recently allowed employers to offer workers flexibility with their health care plans and Flexible Spending Accounts, including health care and dependent care. Penn State is allowing employees to make some adjustments to their health care plans. More details can be found at https://news.psu.edu/story/626070/2020/07/22/administration/irs-allows-benefits-changes-response-covid-19.

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Governor’s Guidance

An order issued by Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine on July 15 prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 25 and outdoor gatherings of more than 250. (Note: The order prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 25 does not apply to classrooms, per the Pennsylvania Department of Education.)

The guidance below applies to any Penn State-sponsored event, either on or off campus.

Indoor meetings and events
Meetings and events of 10 or fewer participants are permitted with no prior permission required. All participants must wear masks and meeting/event organizers must take into account the maximum occupancy of the space that allows for at least six feet of distance between participants. Requests to hold indoor meetings and events of between 11 and 25 participants must be submitted for approval to unit executives (see “Approval Process” below). No indoor meetings or events of more than 25 participants are permitted.

Outdoor meetings and events
Outdoor meetings of 10 or fewer participants are permitted with no prior permission required, taking into account the maximum occupancy of the space that allows for at least six feet of distance between participants. Masks are required when six feet of distance between participants cannot be maintained. Requests for outdoor meetings of between 11 and 250 participants must be submitted for approval to unit executives (see “Approval Process” below. No outdoor meetings or events of more than 250 participants are permitted.

Approval Process
Meeting/event organizers requesting permission for an indoor meeting of between 11 and 25 participants, or an outdoor meeting or event of between 11 and 250 participants, must:

—Explain how the proposed event is in alignment with the mission of the university;
—Provide justification as to why the meeting or event cannot take place virtually or in a hybrid format (some participants in person and others virtually);
—Provide the total number of individuals attending the meeting or event, which must include the employees working the event;
—Include a plan that outlines how the organizers will meet the state of Pennsylvania’s regulations. Masks and other required PPE must be worn if the event is indoors and plans for abiding by social distancing guidelines must be included;
—Provide evidence that employees requesting to attend the meeting or event have been approved via the Return to Work process. A request must be made to return employees to the workplace at https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/;
—If the event is on campus, work with the Office of Physical Plant to determine the room capacity that allows for social distancing;
—Keep a list of all attendees, the ‘return to work’ approval status of employees, the locations from which non-employees are traveling, and their telephone numbers for contact purposes.

Events should be scheduled with the full understanding that if the county in which the campus is located moves to the Yellow or Red phase or if state guidance otherwise changes, the guidelines for the county must be followed and the event may need to be cancelled.

Campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red Phase
At campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red phase, no meetings or events of any kind with more than 10 attendees may be scheduled. For essential indoor events of between 11 and 25, or outdoor events of between 11 and 250, at campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red phase, approval to hold the event must be sought from Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones, at provost@psu.edu. All requests must include a description of how social distancing will be maintained at the event.

Attention to COVID rates in other areas
Meetings that require travel between campuses that are in the Yellow or Red phase, or where participants are from states where cases of COVID-19 are rising, should only be permitted if there are special circumstances and with unit executive approval. All Penn State employees must follow existing travel guidance.

Unit executives should elevate meeting/event requests to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs if there is uncertainty about whether the meeting/event should be approved.

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The University is working with the Wolf Administration on its Back to State plans and has confirmed with the Pennsylvania Department of Education that the order limiting indoor gatherings to fewer than 25 people does not apply to classrooms. Other indoor gatherings, however, cannot exceed 25 individuals and must adhere to masking and social distancing requirements. The University will continue to work closely with the Wolf Administration on its return-to-campus plans and is prepared to shift quickly as the pandemic and resulting orders and guidelines evolve, all with a focus on the health and safety of Penn State campuses and surrounding communities

All schools in Pennsylvania, including universities, continue to be subject to guidance from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which are designed to aid in safely resuming in-person instruction. These guidelines allow for larger groups in classrooms as long as face masking and social distancing are in place. The University has committed to meeting and, where possible, exceeding the Wolf Administration’s guidelines.

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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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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all employees during the transition back to in-person work functions. These plans include enhanced disinfecting protocols, required mask-wearing, and alterations to classroom and office environments to allow for proper social distancing. Even with these measures, Penn State recognizes that employees who are part of a vulnerable population, such as those who are immunocompromised, or those who live with individuals who are part of a vulnerable group, may have concerns about returning to the workplace.

Staff members, including technical service employees, who are in this situation and have concerns about returning to on-site work should make specific requests to their manager to continue to work remotely, if feasible for unit operations, or to alter the nature of their work or their work schedule. Unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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, which includes specific information for staff and technical service employees, as well as this Penn State News article.

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Faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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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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 required 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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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, and to stay home as well.

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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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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 Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) announced operational plans for the fall 2020 semester on July 24 that will impact both campus and community transit service beginning Saturday, Aug. 22.

Service changes that will be in effect throughout the fall semester include:

—No Blue Loop or White Loop campus transit service.

—No Sunday transit services.

—All CATA services will begin at 6 a.m. and end no later than 12:30 a.m. each day, with reduced service between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

While Blue Loop and White Loop campus service will not be available, CATA will continue to operate the Red Link and Green Link campus routes, with additional service to be added to the Green Link. Penn State Transportation Services will also continue to operate its two Campus Shuttle routes, though with reduced capacity.

In the interest of health and safety, Penn State and CATA made a joint decision not to run the Blue and White Loops this fall. The Blue Loop and White Loop are University-contracted services, and Penn State instead made those buses and drivers available to CATA for other service routes in the community that transport students, faculty and staff to and from campus. By redirecting these resources to peak demand periods for these routes, CATA expects to reduce the average number of riders per vehicle to help mitigate COVID-19 risk associated with longer wait periods in densely populated areas and confined spaces.

CATA’s passenger protocols

CATA, however, will not be specifically restricting the number of riders on each vehicle but will require all passengers to wear a face covering while waiting for or riding on CATA services, and to practice social distancing when and where possible, as part of its fall 2020 passenger protocols. CATA has also implemented a daily schedule of disinfecting all vehicles through rigorous industrial electrostatic cleaning and sanitation. Individuals will need to determine if use of CATA services during the COVID-19 pandemic is right for them, but it is strongly encouraged that use be limited to essential trips. Students, faculty and staff living closer to campus are encouraged to walk or bike where possible.

To provide the best opportunity for a more socially distanced riding experience, riders are encouraged to plan trips in advance and to ride during off-peak times. Real-time bus locations and arrival predictions are available through the MyStop, TransLoc or Penn State Go mobile apps.

Full details on CATA’s fall 2020 operational plans and passenger protocols can be found at the CATA website. For questions related to CATA service, call 814-238-2282 or email cata@catabus.com. CATA is a joint municipal authority that serves the six Centre Region municipalities, as well as Bellefonte Borough and Spring and Benner townships.

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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, social distancing will be required 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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At this time employee temperature screening requirements will only apply in units with a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case. However, employees are strongly encouraged to self-monitor their temperature and complete the COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app daily before coming to campus for work. Anyone who has a fever or feels sick should stay home and consult their health care provider. Additional protocols to uphold employee health include social distancing and masking requirements in the workplace. 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/.

As a reminder, unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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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.

Face shields are not considered an adequate substitute for masks, but should be worn in combination with a cloth or procedure mask in certain circumstances outlined in the “PPE and Instruction Recommendations per Learning Environment” section of the Universal Masking and PPE Recommendations document. Additional information related to PPE and the use of face shields also is available on the University’s Keep Teaching 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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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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Penn State Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), in coordination with University Health Services and Human Resources, has developed new protocols related to COVID-19 to help protect the health of employees who are continuing to perform mission-critical functions on campus.

These processes include instructions for supervisors who are responding to reported COVID-19 cases, the University’s cloth mask requirement, cleaning procedures, and guidance for employees working on campus. In addition, they include direction for employees to contact Penn State Absence Management at absence@psu.edu or 814-865-1782 if they are self-quarantining, exposed to or develop symptoms of the virus.

Additional information is available on Penn State News and at https://ehs.psu.edu/covid19.

For additional health and safety FAQs for employees working on campus, visit https://ehs.psu.edu/sites/ehs/files/employee_working_on_campus_questions.pdf.

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The health of the Penn State community is our highest priority, and we must all do our part in preventing the possible spread of coronavirus. Penn State faculty and staff are encouraged to stay home if they feel sick, particularly if they have a fever. We are asking faculty and employee supervisors to be flexible with work and class absences.

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See HRG11 Family and Medical Leave.

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If an employee develops COVID-19 symptoms at work, please leave work immediately. If an employee develops symptoms while away from work, please stay home and notify your supervisor in either case.

Managers should review the COVID-19 Instructions for Supervisors – Assessment and Reporting and reach out to Absence Management directly at absence@psu.edu or 814-865-1782.

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Yes, however, to reduce the potential for person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak, the University Health Services Pharmacy at University Park will no longer allow walk-ins and instead will only provide prescriptions by mail or curbside pickup, available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice.

Additional details are available in this Penn State News story.

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What is the difference between isolation and quarantine and why are there different time requirements?

Students and employees should become familiar with guidelines and expectations for quarantine and isolation for this semester, as part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring in line with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While isolation and quarantine are both intended to limit the spread of disease, they have different meanings and different time requirements. Quarantine helps prevent people from spreading coronavirus before they know they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms, while isolation is reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, time requirements for quarantine and isolation depend on a variety of factors, including whether an individual has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, is showing symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19, and more.

The following provides a summary of quarantine and isolation time requirements for students and employees.

Pre-arrival self-quarantine:

— As part of the University’s Back to State plans, all faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, before moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. International students should also quarantine for at least 7 days after their arrival in the U.S. and prior to participating in on-campus activities and/or beginning classes. However, this may not be possible for every international student depending on their planned date of arrival in the U.S., which may mean they need to quarantine at their current location, take precautions (such as mask wearing and social distancing) during travel, and then continue their 7-day quarantine once they arrive in the U.S. Students should plan accordingly. The 7-day period is not an official quarantine (see below), as individuals being asked to partake in the 7-day process have not indicated exposure to the virus or have not been displaying symptoms. The 7-day period is another layer to encourage prudent behavior and diligence in avoiding risk prior to coming to campus. If necessary, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, employees and students returning to Pennsylvania from out of state should complete a 14-day quarantine after traveling from states with a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Quarantine:

— Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure, students and employees who believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and/or been identified during the University’s contact tracing process must quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the individual, in accordance with the CDC guidelines. The CDC provides guidance on when to start and end quarantine based on various scenarios.

— Faculty and staff should quarantine at home, students living on campus will quarantine in space identified on their campus, and case managers will evaluate quarantine needs for students living off campus as part of the contact tracing process. During quarantine, you may or may not develop symptoms of COVID-19. If you do experience symptoms, please contact your health care provider; students can contact University Health Services, their campus health center or their primary care provider.

Isolation:

— Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days. Students and employees who are experiencing symptoms and awaiting test results will need to isolate immediately. If the test result is negative, they no longer need to isolate. Faculty and staff should isolate at home, students living on campus will stay in isolation space on campus, and students living off campus will be accommodated with on-campus isolation space to the extent that the University is able. Individuals should not return to on-campus work or classes until cleared by a medical professional in accordance with CDC guidelines.

— According to CDC isolation guidance, individuals who tested positive and experience symptoms can be with others after at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared, after at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and after symptoms have improved. Individuals who tested positive but did not experience symptoms can be with others after 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test. For those who experienced severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days).

During the semester, students who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms should immediately contact University Health Services, their campus health center, or primary care provider. Faculty and staff who test positive will need to report their positive status to their supervisor, so their unit can begin the contact tracing process, and self-isolate off campus. For more information about the University’s testing and contact tracing plan, read this story in Penn State News.

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Masks with exhaust valves are not acceptable. This is because valves allow air and respiratory droplets to escape the mask, which results in less protection for others. Those who are wearing a mask with a valve do not meet Penn State’s mask wearing requirements. Guidelines surrounding the use of cloth masks are available on the EHS website and also on the University’s virus information website. Procedure masks are also acceptable. If you encounter someone wearing a mask with an exhaust valve in the instructional or work setting, respond to the person as though they forgot to wear a mask. Offer then an extra mask and remind the individual to not wear a mask with a valve in the future.

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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 physical distancing and wear face masks/coverings at all times in campus buildings; outdoors when they cannot be physically distant from others; and whenever state or local laws require.

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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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.

As part of a layered approach, Penn State will be implementing a COVID-19 testing program that will consist of in-house and third-party contracted testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.The plan includes testing for 30,000 students, faculty and staff from locations with a high prevalence of the disease before arrival on campus, as well as daily testing throughout the semester.

In addition, the University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this semester. For example, all students must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. Those who are sick, think you have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, should continue to isolate and not return to campus until cleared by a medical professional.

Penn State also will encourage flu shots 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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As part of the University’s comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy, in August, Penn State will contact 30,000 students, faculty and staff who have been chosen for pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, based solely on the infection rates in the counties where they reside.

Individuals living in coronavirus “hot spots,” or areas with high or rising virus rates, will receive an email notification from the University with a unique test code and step-by-step instructions for an at-home COVID-19 saliva test, to be supervised by the vendor virtually, that will be sent through the mail overnight.

Students are required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Test results will be shared with the student and University Health Services.Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

All students, including those not selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing, must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

For more information about pre-arrival testing and other pre-arrival requirements for students, read this story in Penn State News.

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All students must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. In addition, those who are sick, think you have been exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms, should continue to isolate and not return to campus until cleared by a medical professional. It is in everyone’s best interest that students arrive after taking precautionary steps, to reduce the likelihood of community exposure. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

Additional guidelines for everyone in the Penn State community include:

—If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive or is suspicious of COVID-19, do not return to your Penn State campus. See your health care provider and get a COVID-19 test. Only travel to campus after you have been cleared by your health care provider, following CDC guidelines.

—All faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

—Take every precaution in your travel to your Penn State campus to prevent introduction of COVID-19 to your campus community. If you are using any form of public transportation, follow all CDC guidelines regarding masking, physical distancing and hygiene practices.

—Individuals who have been recently tested as COVID positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared.

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To help create a safer learning, living and working environment for all students, faculty and staff, new classroom policies will be in effect this fall across Penn State’s campuses in alignment with public health recommendations and Gov. Tom Wolf’s requirements for higher education institutions. Specific policy guidance has been posted to the Office of Student Conduct website.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required for all students and employees in all University buildings, including in classrooms, labs and offices, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible.

While high levels of compliance are expected based on feedback from recent student and employee University surveys, those who put others at risk by not following the University’s requirements will be held accountable in a manner consistent with how other violations of Penn State guidelines and policies are managed.

To learn more, read this Penn State News story.

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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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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all employees during the transition back to in-person work functions. These plans include enhanced disinfecting protocols, required mask-wearing, and alterations to classroom and office environments to allow for proper social distancing. Even with these measures, Penn State recognizes that employees who are part of a vulnerable population, such as those who are immunocompromised, or those who live with individuals who are part of a vulnerable group, may have concerns about returning to the workplace.

Staff members, including technical service employees, who are in this situation and have concerns about returning to on-site work should make specific requests to their manager to continue to work remotely, if feasible for unit operations, or to alter the nature of their work or their work schedule. Unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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, which includes specific information for staff and technical service employees, as well as this Penn State News article.

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Faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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 required 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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Yes, social distancing will be required 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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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 have received 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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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 are strongly encouraged to self-monitor their temperature and complete the COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app daily before coming to campus for work. Anyone who has a fever or feels sick should stay home and consult their health care provider. Additional protocols to uphold employee health include social distancing and masking requirements in the workplace. To learn more, visit https://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.

Face shields are not considered an adequate substitute for masks, but should be worn in combination with a cloth or procedure mask in certain circumstances outlined in the “PPE and Instruction Recommendations per Learning Environment” section of the Universal Masking and PPE Recommendations document. Additional information related to PPE and the use of face shields also is available on the University’s Keep Teaching website.

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What is the difference between isolation and quarantine and why are there different time requirements?

Students and employees should become familiar with guidelines and expectations for quarantine and isolation for this semester, as part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring in line with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While isolation and quarantine are both intended to limit the spread of disease, they have different meanings and different time requirements. Quarantine helps prevent people from spreading coronavirus before they know they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms, while isolation is reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, time requirements for quarantine and isolation depend on a variety of factors, including whether an individual has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, is showing symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19, and more.

The following provides a summary of quarantine and isolation time requirements for students and employees.

Pre-arrival self-quarantine:

— As part of the University’s Back to State plans, all faculty, staff and students should self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, before moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus. International students should also quarantine for at least 7 days after their arrival in the U.S. and prior to participating in on-campus activities and/or beginning classes. However, this may not be possible for every international student depending on their planned date of arrival in the U.S., which may mean they need to quarantine at their current location, take precautions (such as mask wearing and social distancing) during travel, and then continue their 7-day quarantine once they arrive in the U.S. Students should plan accordingly. The 7-day period is not an official quarantine (see below), as individuals being asked to partake in the 7-day process have not indicated exposure to the virus or have not been displaying symptoms. The 7-day period is another layer to encourage prudent behavior and diligence in avoiding risk prior to coming to campus. If necessary, in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, employees and students returning to Pennsylvania from out of state should complete a 14-day quarantine after traveling from states with a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Quarantine:

— Since symptoms typically develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure, students and employees who believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and/or been identified during the University’s contact tracing process must quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the individual, in accordance with the CDC guidelines. The CDC provides guidance on when to start and end quarantine based on various scenarios.

— Faculty and staff should quarantine at home, students living on campus will quarantine in space identified on their campus, and case managers will evaluate quarantine needs for students living off campus as part of the contact tracing process. During quarantine, you may or may not develop symptoms of COVID-19. If you do experience symptoms, please contact your health care provider; students can contact University Health Services, their campus health center or their primary care provider.

Isolation:

— Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days. Students and employees who are experiencing symptoms and awaiting test results will need to isolate immediately. If the test result is negative, they no longer need to isolate. Faculty and staff should isolate at home, students living on campus will stay in isolation space on campus, and students living off campus will be accommodated with on-campus isolation space to the extent that the University is able. Individuals should not return to on-campus work or classes until cleared by a medical professional in accordance with CDC guidelines.

— According to CDC isolation guidance, individuals who tested positive and experience symptoms can be with others after at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared, after at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and after symptoms have improved. Individuals who tested positive but did not experience symptoms can be with others after 10 days have passed since the date of the positive test. For those who experienced severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days).

During the semester, students who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms should immediately contact University Health Services, their campus health center, or primary care provider. Faculty and staff who test positive will need to report their positive status to their supervisor, so their unit can begin the contact tracing process, and self-isolate off campus. For more information about the University’s testing and contact tracing plan, read this story in Penn State News.

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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 has shared a comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy to support our student and employee populations across all campuses.

The University is in the process of finalizing contracts with a reputable COVID-19 testing company to conduct rapid turnaround testing for symptomatic students. Individuals who believe they are experiencing symptoms will need to make a telemedicine appointment with their campus health center for evaluation and directions for testing. University Health Services will share more information for the COVID-19 diagnostic process soon.

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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.

Penn State Absence Management will answer questions and assist employees with additional needs.

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When someone is identified as being positive for COVID-19, a nurse will reach out to collect information about that person’s close contacts, defined as individuals who have been within six feet of a positive case of COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes no more than 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or a positive test. This is in accordance with Pennsylvania state and CDC guidelines. A contact tracer will then reach out to those identified individuals with health precaution directions.

More detailed information about contact tracing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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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.

Penn State will be implementing a robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program that will consist of in-house and third-party contracted testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The plan includes testing for 30,000 students, faculty and staff from locations with a high prevalence of the disease before arrival on campus, as well as daily testing throughout the semester.

The University will conduct surveillance testing of faculty, staff and students on its campuses throughout the semester, testing about 1% of our campus populations (about 700 people) per day. The plan includes random and risk-stratified surveillance testing as well as asymptomatic testing for individuals who are identified in the contact-tracing process.

Penn State is in the process of signing contracts with COVID-19 testing companies, including Vault Health, for elements of the testing plan. Additionally, the University has set up on-campus testing capabilities using existing resources in a new Testing and Surveillance Center, which will be used for surveillance testing at University Park.

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.

More detailed information about symptomatic and asymptomatic testing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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

The Penn State contact tracing program will leverage and scale-up existing contact tracing protocols in place at the University. The spoke-and-hub modeled program will be run by the Office of Student Affairs, with representation from Commonwealth Campuses, and will include consistent oversight for all students, faculty and staff. The team of Student Affairs personnel, nurses and contact tracers will support the University community and enhance access to early health-care consultation and treatment. Contact-tracing supports virus case detection and is designed to help prevent future outbreaks.

More detailed information about contact tracing may be found in this Penn State News story.

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As part of the University’s comprehensive pre-arrival, asymptomatic and symptomatic testing and contact tracing strategy, in August, Penn State will contact 30,000 students, faculty and staff who have been chosen for pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, based solely on the infection rates in the counties where they reside.

Individuals living in coronavirus “hot spots,” or areas with high or rising virus rates, will receive an email notification from the University with a unique test code and step-by-step instructions for an at-home COVID-19 saliva test, to be supervised by the vendor virtually, that will be sent through the mail overnight.

Students are required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Test results will be shared with the student and University Health Services.Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

All students, including those not selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing, must self-quarantine — even if you do not feel sick or have no symptoms — for at least 7 days immediately prior to your arrival on campus, prior to moving into off-campus housing, or prior to starting classes if you are already living off-campus.

For more information about pre-arrival testing and other pre-arrival requirements for students, read this story in Penn State News.

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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 are strongly encouraged to self-monitor their temperature and complete the COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app daily before coming to campus for work. Anyone who has a fever or feels sick should stay home and consult their health care provider. Additional protocols to uphold employee health include social distancing and masking requirements in the workplace. To learn more, visit https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/.

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How are Hort Woods and Bennet Center childcare centers planning for reopening?

As part of Penn State’s Back to State efforts, the University is planning to reopen the Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Center at University Park on Aug. 19. The University is developing plans in line with state, local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for safely reopening the two centers and will continue to provide additional details about these plans with parents and employees.

Given the unprecedented situation brought about by COVID-19, the University’s top priority for reopening is the health and well-being of the centers’ students, teachers and staff. Among the COVID-19 health and safety plans, which are currently being finalized by Penn State and center leadership in line with the University’s overall return-to-campus plans, are considerations for reduced class sizes and other social distancing measures, drop-off/pick-up processes, visitor policies, mask guidelines, daily temperature checks, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and much more.

In addition, Daybridge, which is managed by Bright Horizons, on the University Park campus plans to reopen on Aug. 17 with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

For additional information about the reopening, read this story in Penn State News.

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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. The Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Center at University Park will open on Aug. 19. Daybridge, which is managed by Bright Horizons, on the University Park campus plans to reopen on Aug. 17. More information regarding Penn State child care centers will continue to be shared with families and employees.

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At this time, the University plans to utilize the Nittany Lion Inn on campus for additional classroom space and single-occupancy housing for on-campus resident students. The Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center is expected to reopen in July, following the latest guidance from government and public health authorities.

For questions about current reservations, please call 800-233-7505 or email reservations@psu.edu.

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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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Yes, social distancing will be required 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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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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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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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/.

As a reminder, unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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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 Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is currently operating its HM (Nittany Mall/Toftrees), K (Cato Park), N (Martin St./Aaron Dr.), P (Tussey Mountain), R (Waupelani Drive), V (Vairo Blvd.), W (Valley Vista), XB (Bellefonte), and XG (Pleasant Gap) Community Routes, and the Blue Loop and Red Link, with service beginning at 6 a.m. daily and extended to include Saturdays. Beginning, June 22, additional Red Link buses were added to accommodate return of employees and students to campus. The White Loop and Green Link do not operate during the summer. Updated schedules may be found at the CATA website. Beginning July 6, Blue Loop and Red Link service will begin at 4:45 a.m. weekdays.

Beginning July 6, the Campus Shuttle will resume regular summer service, with the via College Avenue route serving stops every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is no Campus Shuttle via Beaver Avenue service during the summer.

The Hershey Shuttle will not operate until further notice.

Please note that buses and shuttles will be operating with significantly reduced capacity and will be unable to meet normal ridership demand. Until further notice, it is strongly encouraged that transit services be used for essential trips only, including trips by those with mobility disabilities. Students, faculty and staff who are able are urged to walk or bike.

On July 24, CATA announced service changes for the fall, which will go into effect on Saturday, Aug. 22, and remain in place through the end of the fall 2020 semester.

Service changes that will be in effect throughout the fall semester include:

—No Blue Loop or White Loop campus transit service.

—No Sunday transit services.

—All CATA services will begin at 6 a.m. and end no later than 12:30 a.m. each day, with reduced service between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

While Blue Loop and White Loop campus service will not be available, CATA will continue to operate the Red Link and Green Link campus routes this fall, with additional service to be added to the Green Link. Penn State Transportation Services will also continue to operate its two Campus Shuttle routes, though with reduced capacity.

Full details on CATA’s fall 2020 operational plans and passenger protocols can be found at the CATA website, as well as in this Penn State News article.

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Yes, however, to reduce the potential for person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak, the University Health Services Pharmacy at University Park will no longer allow walk-ins and instead will only provide prescriptions by mail or curbside pickup, available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, until further notice.

Additional details are available in this Penn State News story.

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Transportation Services has received University approval to resume on-campus operations beginning Monday, July 6.

The Transportation Services Office and Fleet Operations will each reopen on Monday, July 6, with new operating hours:

Transportation Services Office

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Fleet Operations

6 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday

Fleet vehicle return will remain available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers with vehicle pickup needs outside of the new hours should email fleet@psu.edu to discuss pickup options.

The reduced hours will provide additional time for cleaning of high-contact surfaces in both customer and employee areas.

Campus Parking

Normal campus parking regulations will resume for all campus parking areas and users (faculty, staff, students, visitors) beginning Monday, July 6.

With the return of normal regulations, faculty/staff and student permit holders parking on campus during weekday daytime hours (7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday) will only be permitted to park in their assigned parking areas. Students and employees performing mission-critical work that requires closer parking access should email parking@psu.edu to discuss available permit upgrade options.

Full details regarding campus parking, transit, available services and COVID-19 safety protocols are available on Penn State News.

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For specific information, contact your local LaunchBox. In keeping with statewide guidance to close all nonessential public spaces, Penn State’s physical LaunchBox locations are closed until further notice. Depending on programming at individual locations, some support services, accelerator programs and events/workshops will be held online. Others have been postponed or canceled.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology has announced a planned return to in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester. For the latest information from Penn College, visit https://www.pct.edu/campus-life/college-health-services/coronavirus.

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— Campus buildings are typically in weekend-mode access, meaning the exterior doors are locked. Buildings can be accessed by employees that have critical and essential work to do in those buildings through either swipe access or a physical key.

— For the limited number of students who remain in on-campus housing, the University is offering daily meals in one on-campus convenience story, Market Pollock. All other on-campus dining is closed.

Campus Recreation facilities, programs and services at University Park campus are closed.

University Libraries’ physical locations are closed. Virtual library services and resources remain open, and faculty and staff are available remotely to assist with Penn State academic and research needs. Information on returning borrowed items is available in this Penn State News article. For more information, visit https://libraries.psu.edu/covid19.

— University computer labs are closed.

— All retail eateries in the HUB-Robeson Center and the retail operation of the Penn State Bookstore have closed as of March 17. Public access to the HUB also is restricted as part of the closure.

— Penn State’s Berkey Creamery reopened July 20 with limited hours and new procedures.

— The Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and Eisenhower Chapel, which houses the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development, are closed.

— The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center and The Nittany Lion Inn are closed.

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What are the University’s plans with respect to football this year, as well as other fall sports? 

On Aug. 11, the Big Ten Conference, which includes Penn State, announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Governor’s Guidance

An order issued by Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine on July 15 prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 25 and outdoor gatherings of more than 250. (Note: The order prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 25 does not apply to classrooms, per the Pennsylvania Department of Education.)

The guidance below applies to any Penn State-sponsored event, either on or off campus.

Indoor meetings and events
Meetings and events of 10 or fewer participants are permitted with no prior permission required. All participants must wear masks and meeting/event organizers must take into account the maximum occupancy of the space that allows for at least six feet of distance between participants. Requests to hold indoor meetings and events of between 11 and 25 participants must be submitted for approval to unit executives (see “Approval Process” below). No indoor meetings or events of more than 25 participants are permitted.

Outdoor meetings and events
Outdoor meetings of 10 or fewer participants are permitted with no prior permission required, taking into account the maximum occupancy of the space that allows for at least six feet of distance between participants. Masks are required when six feet of distance between participants cannot be maintained. Requests for outdoor meetings of between 11 and 250 participants must be submitted for approval to unit executives (see “Approval Process” below. No outdoor meetings or events of more than 250 participants are permitted.

Approval Process
Meeting/event organizers requesting permission for an indoor meeting of between 11 and 25 participants, or an outdoor meeting or event of between 11 and 250 participants, must:

—Explain how the proposed event is in alignment with the mission of the university;
—Provide justification as to why the meeting or event cannot take place virtually or in a hybrid format (some participants in person and others virtually);
—Provide the total number of individuals attending the meeting or event, which must include the employees working the event;
—Include a plan that outlines how the organizers will meet the state of Pennsylvania’s regulations. Masks and other required PPE must be worn if the event is indoors and plans for abiding by social distancing guidelines must be included;
—Provide evidence that employees requesting to attend the meeting or event have been approved via the Return to Work process. A request must be made to return employees to the workplace at https://sites.psu.edu/returntowork/;
—If the event is on campus, work with the Office of Physical Plant to determine the room capacity that allows for social distancing;
—Keep a list of all attendees, the ‘return to work’ approval status of employees, the locations from which non-employees are traveling, and their telephone numbers for contact purposes.

Events should be scheduled with the full understanding that if the county in which the campus is located moves to the Yellow or Red phase or if state guidance otherwise changes, the guidelines for the county must be followed and the event may need to be cancelled.

Campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red Phase
At campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red phase, no meetings or events of any kind with more than 10 attendees may be scheduled. For essential indoor events of between 11 and 25, or outdoor events of between 11 and 250, at campuses whose counties are in the Yellow or Red phase, approval to hold the event must be sought from Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones, at provost@psu.edu. All requests must include a description of how social distancing will be maintained at the event.

Attention to COVID rates in other areas
Meetings that require travel between campuses that are in the Yellow or Red phase, or where participants are from states where cases of COVID-19 are rising, should only be permitted if there are special circumstances and with unit executive approval. All Penn State employees must follow existing travel guidance.

Unit executives should elevate meeting/event requests to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs if there is uncertainty about whether the meeting/event should be approved.

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How are Hort Woods and Bennet Center childcare centers planning for reopening?

As part of Penn State’s Back to State efforts, the University is planning to reopen the Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Center at University Park on Aug. 19. The University is developing plans in line with state, local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for safely reopening the two centers and will continue to provide additional details about these plans with parents and employees.

Given the unprecedented situation brought about by COVID-19, the University’s top priority for reopening is the health and well-being of the centers’ students, teachers and staff. Among the COVID-19 health and safety plans, which are currently being finalized by Penn State and center leadership in line with the University’s overall return-to-campus plans, are considerations for reduced class sizes and other social distancing measures, drop-off/pick-up processes, visitor policies, mask guidelines, daily temperature checks, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and much more.

In addition, Daybridge, which is managed by Bright Horizons, on the University Park campus plans to reopen on Aug. 17 with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

For additional information about the reopening, read this story in Penn State News.

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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. The Child Care Center at Hort Woods and the Bennett Family Center at University Park will open on Aug. 19. Daybridge, which is managed by Bright Horizons, on the University Park campus plans to reopen on Aug. 17. More information regarding Penn State child care centers will continue to be shared with families and employees.

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​The Internal Revenue Service recently allowed employers to offer workers flexibility with their health care plans and Flexible Spending Accounts, including health care and dependent care. Penn State is allowing employees to make some adjustments to their health care plans. More details can be found at https://news.psu.edu/story/626070/2020/07/22/administration/irs-allows-benefits-changes-response-covid-19.

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To help create a safer learning, living and working environment for all students, faculty and staff, new classroom policies will be in effect this fall across Penn State’s campuses in alignment with public health recommendations and Gov. Tom Wolf’s requirements for higher education institutions. Specific policy guidance has been posted to the Office of Student Conduct website.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required for all students and employees in all University buildings, including in classrooms, labs and offices, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible.

While high levels of compliance are expected based on feedback from recent student and employee University surveys, those who put others at risk by not following the University’s requirements will be held accountable in a manner consistent with how other violations of Penn State guidelines and policies are managed.

To learn more, read this Penn State News story.

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Penn State announced in May that employees who are unable to perform their work remotely or are receiving 50% of their salaries will receive a parking fee refund. Eligible employees will receive reimbursement for each pay period, beginning with May and for each pay period until they return to full pay. Reimbursement for May and June will be disbursed at the end of July for employees paid monthly and on July 17 for employees paid biweekly. If an employee received pay with one of the following earning types (between May and June 30 for monthly and May 1 and June 20 for biweekly) as noted on their pay slip, they are eligible for a refund:

• Emergency Pay Reduction 50%

• Other Emergency Paid Leave PB

• Emergency Pay Reduction 50% NRE

• Emergency Paid Leave 50% NRE

• Emergency Paid Leave PB NRE

• Emergency Paid Leave 50%

NOTE: PB stands for part-time, position based and NRE stands for not retirement eligible.

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Parking deductions are taken out of your paycheck as a pre-tax deduction. This is noted in the “Pre-Tax Deduction” section of your pay slip in Workday. The IRS considers this refund as “income,” so therefore the University must take the appropriate taxes before refunding any monies.

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Your total refund will be made minus the current pay period deduction (based on your per pay period cost and applies to both monthly and biweekly employees) if you currently have an active parking permit and deduction.

For example, if your current deduction is $17.08 per pay period and you were not working for four, full pay periods, your total refund will be $68.32, but you will see a refunded amount of $51.24 on your check.

Refund = Total parking costs for “x” pay periods – minus current pay period deduction

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The University is developing plans to support the health and safety of all employees during the transition back to in-person work functions. These plans include enhanced disinfecting protocols, required mask-wearing, and alterations to classroom and office environments to allow for proper social distancing. Even with these measures, Penn State recognizes that employees who are part of a vulnerable population, such as those who are immunocompromised, or those who live with individuals who are part of a vulnerable group, may have concerns about returning to the workplace.

Staff members, including technical service employees, who are in this situation and have concerns about returning to on-site work should make specific requests to their manager to continue to work remotely, if feasible for unit operations, or to alter the nature of their work or their work schedule. Unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

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, which includes specific information for staff and technical service employees, as well as this Penn State News article.

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Faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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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The health of faculty and staff members remains the University’s top priority as part of a phased return, and processes and protocols are being put in place to help support safe working environments across the campuses.

The University does not expect faculty who are immunocompromised, live with someone who may be, or have other special circumstances to teach in a physical classroom. Faculty who have concerns about teaching in person should work with their unit executive (dean, chancellor or a designee) to request work adjustments and discuss available options. Units are being advised that faculty requests to work remotely due to such concerns should be allowed if feasible.

Faculty members are urged to consider a variety of available instructional modalities that may give them the flexibility to fulfill their teaching duties. In addition, faculty who are part of a vulnerable population or who have other challenges with providing in-person instruction at any point during the semester should work with their supervisors to determine how adjustments can be made. Units are encouraged to remain flexible and think creatively about work adjustments while continuing to meet their educational goals.

Additional information and guidance is available and regularly updated at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/fall-2020/. Instructors should also directly review “Instructional Issues for Return to Resident Instruction,” and Return to Work resources for faculty.

Staff members, including technical service employees, who have concerns about returning to on-site work, including those who are immunocompromised, live with someone who may be, or have other special circumstances, should make specific requests to their manager to continue to work remotely, if feasible for unit operations, or to alter the nature of their work or their work schedule. Unless otherwise informed by their supervisor, employees who are currently working from home should continue to do so until further notice.

For more information, visit the Return to Work website, which includes specific information for faculty, staff and technical service employees, as well as this Penn State News article.

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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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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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In light of Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased reopening plan for Pennsylvania, which calls for telework to continue when feasible even where other activities are set to resume, Penn State faculty and staff at all campuses who are currently working remotely should plan on continuing to do so until further notice, unless otherwise advised by their supervisor or unit leadership.

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Penn State joins a multitude of other universities and colleges facing similar serious fiscal situations and critical choices to avoid impacting their core missions of teaching, research and service, as they contend with the unprecedented financial challenges caused by the global pandemic. Our economy has been crippled by the need to enact social distancing, and no enterprise is immune, including Penn State.

At this time, as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, some of our employees do not have work they can perform. In order to support these employees despite the lack of work at this time, the University will continue to pay them 50% of their salary until July 31, as announced by President Eric Barron during a June 22 virtual town hall for faculty and staff. These employees will continue to receive their benefits based on the adjusted salary received. This includes our Teamsters Local Union No. 8 employees. Penn State anticipates that most furloughed employees will return to work in August.

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On March 20, the University announced that, in acknowledgement of the COVID-19 crisis and its extraordinary impacts on our faculty, Penn State is extending the provisional tenure period starting with the 2020-2021 academic year for all faculty in their pre-tenure probationary period, as defined in University policy AC23. ALL tenure-line faculty in their probationary period during spring 2020 are eligible. By completing the online form titled “Confirmation of Extension of the Probationary Period Due to COVID-19,” the faculty member’s probationary period will be extended by one year. Confirmation of the extension may be submitted at any time up until April 1 of the penultimate year of the probationary period (April 30 for those whose sixth-year tenure review is scheduled for fall 2020). Email questions about the extension of the probationary period due to COVID-19 to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at vpfa@psu.edu. Comprehensive FAQs pertaining to this guidance are provided online.

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Penn State Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), in coordination with University Health Services and Human Resources, has developed new protocols related to COVID-19 to help protect the health of employees who are continuing to perform mission-critical functions on campus.

These processes include instructions for supervisors who are responding to reported COVID-19 cases, the University’s cloth mask requirement, cleaning procedures, and guidance for employees working on campus. In addition, they include direction for employees to contact Penn State Absence Management at absence@psu.edu or 814-865-1782 if they are self-quarantining, exposed to or develop symptoms of the virus.

Additional information is available on Penn State News and at https://ehs.psu.edu/covid19.

For additional health and safety FAQs for employees working on campus, visit https://ehs.psu.edu/sites/ehs/files/employee_working_on_campus_questions.pdf.

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See HRG11 Family and Medical Leave.

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Additional details are available at https://hr.psu.edu/covid-19-coronavirus.

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To give University employees appropriate time to complete their 2019-20 performance management cycle, Penn State Human Resources is extending the time needed to complete the final step of the process (end-of-year review) to Friday, May 1, through Friday, July 31.

Previously, this step was to begin on Wednesday, April 1, with completion by Sunday, May 31. However, due to the current coronavirus pandemic, Human Resources, in agreement with University leadership, believed it was in the best interest of our employees to extend the time frame.

Additional details are available on Penn State News.

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For members of our research community who work at the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), please continue to follow ARL-specific guidelines, which ensure critical national security needs are maintained while also maximizing social distancing and adopting remote working protocols.

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Penn State Information Technology has created a website to answer your questions and provide links to resources that faculty and staff may need while working remotely.

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We are currently interviewing candidates for faculty positions. How should we handle the upcoming interviews? (UPDATED 7/3)

If an exception to conduct a search is granted, academic units should use Zoom or other virtual tools for interviews whenever possible to prioritize the health of candidates and interview participants and their families. On-campus interviews with international candidates should be held virtually with campus visits postponed until Penn State permits international travel. Interviews should be as consistent as possible for each candidate and ensure that evaluation of all applicants is based on the extent to which applicants meet the criteria for the position.

Candidates for faculty positions must follow Penn State’s travel guidance. Employees arranging and/or attending in-person meetings or events related to a candidate’s on-campus visit must comply with meeting and event guidance. Non-employees who participate in meetings or events associated with a campus visit must be approved to attend by the sponsoring unit’s executive per the guidance pertaining to visitors.

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Existing Visiting Scholars
Those Visiting Scholars whose applications have been approved and have a visa stamp may come to Penn State as planned. Those who have not yet obtained a visa stamp are asked to reschedule their arrival until Feb. 1, 2021. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as State Department and other public health guidance evolves.

Moratorium on New Applications
Based on the recent U.S. Department of State Global Health Advisory and visa services suspension, Penn State is not accepting new Visiting Scholar applications until further notice. This moratorium applies to domestic and international visiting scholars. Applications currently in the system will not be approved. Requests for exceptions may be made to vpfa@psu.edu.

Extensions for Current Visiting Scholars
If a Visiting Scholar was scheduled to depart before July 1, 2020 but wants to stay at Penn State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an extension request must be submitted in DocFinity. Please work with the staff in the academic unit who submit Visiting Scholar requests. Questions from units regarding extensions and required documentation should be directed the dean or chancellor designee in each unit. If assistance is needed from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, contact Mindy Kowalski at msk22@psu.edu.

Paid J-1 Scholars

Per guidance from the U.S. Department of State,post-docs who are foreign nationals who have not yet obtained a visa stamp are asked to reschedule their arrival until February 1, 2021. Unit executives should send exception requests to vpfa@psu.edu and include a description of why the appointment is essential. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as State Department and other public health guidance evolves.

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Limiting the density of our on-campus population reduces the chances of incidental contact that spreads illness. To further reduce the chances of exposure, we are developing protocols to limit public access to campus buildings. Units are strongly encouraged to continue to engage with visitors remotely whenever possible.

Individuals wishing to have a non-employee visit campus for any period of time must make a request to their unit executive. These individuals may not meet the definition of a Visiting Scholar (guidance about Visiting Scholars is available here). Examples of visitors include, but are not limited to, those wishing to audit a class, those wishing to participate in a meeting in person, invited speakers, guest lecturers/speakers in a class, or research collaborators making a short-term visit.

The request to the unit executive should include where the visitor is traveling from, why the interaction cannot take place virtually, and the length of the proposed visit. When reviewing requests, unit executives should give attention to the locations from which visitors are traveling and the COVID-19 rates in those locations.

Visitors must comply with all COVID health and safety guidelines during travel and while on campus.

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On March 20, the University announced that, in acknowledgement of the COVID-19 crisis and its extraordinary impacts on our faculty, Penn State is extending the provisional tenure period starting with the 2020-2021 academic year for all faculty in their pre-tenure probationary period, as defined in University policy AC23. ALL tenure-line faculty in their probationary period during spring 2020 are eligible. By completing the online form titled “Confirmation of Extension of the Probationary Period Due to COVID-19,” the faculty member’s probationary period will be extended by one year. Confirmation of the extension may be submitted at any time up until April 1 of the penultimate year of the probationary period (April 30 for those whose sixth-year tenure review is scheduled for fall 2020). Email questions about the extension of the probationary period due to COVID-19 to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at vpfa@psu.edu. Comprehensive FAQs pertaining to this guidance are provided online.

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What should I do if I am struggling with the transition back to campus or someone I know seems to be in distress?

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, an employee seeking assistance may submit an application as outlined in Policy HR100 - Employee Assistance Fund.

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For support addressing accessibility concerns that students with disabilities may encounter in the remote learning environment, faculty can schedule one-on-one consultations by filling out the Accessibility Consultation Form. The Accessibility Team can offer assistance with accessible digital course materials, lecture technology, Canvas, captioning, or any other accessibility questions.

Accessibility Training for Instructors webinar sessions are also available via Zoom for faculty to learn how to develop and transition summer courses to a remote environment. Log in with your Penn State Access Account on the Learning Resource Network website to register for these sessions.

Additional information and resources for faculty members are available at https://keepteaching.psu.edu/.

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For employees needing support, the Penn State Employee Assistance Program (EAP), through the EAP+Work/Life program, offers short-term counseling from licensed EAP professionals, by phone, email or in person to help employees better cope with personal, family and work issues. EAP also offers access to Personal Health Advocates, who can help navigate healthcare and insurance systems, efficiently and dependably. More information is available at https://hr.psu.edu/health-matters/employee-assistance-program.

For a full list of resources available to students and other members of the Penn State community, visit https://virusinfo.psu.edu/resources.

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Colleges, institutes and Commonwealth Campuses have developed plans that allow for gradually increasing on-campus research activities. What happens when someone does not follow the plans?

Deans, chancellors and institute directors are responsible for faculty, staff and student compliance with each of their unit’s plans. If an individual is aware of any noncompliance, they should report it to the appropriate dean, chancellor or institute director. Alternatively, they can report the situation to their facility coordinator, who will then communicate with the appropriate unit leader. Persistent noncompliance, when confirmed, may result in removal of the individual’s approval for conducting research on campus or at other facilities.

Additional information regarding return-to-research plans can be found at https://www.research.psu.edu/COVID_return_research.

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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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