Frequently Asked Questions

Students and families

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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The University has approximately 45 designated Remote Learning Rooms at University Park for students to use to view their remote classes individually or together in small groups, while social distancing and wearing masks, this fall. These spaces are smaller general purpose classrooms that have not been scheduled for classes because social distancing (due to COVID-19) did not permit for the necessary occupancy. So these rooms are free for this use. In addition to regular student spaces on campus that have had seating adjusted for social distancing, these rooms are open for use during normal building hours and have clear signage indicating that they are intended for access for remote classes. Students will need to bring their own devices. Room locations and capacity are available by selecting the “Remote Learning Rooms” option on the campus map a map.psu.edu.

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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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As part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring announced in a July 30 town hall, students selected for the required pre-arrival COVID-19 testing will receive an email to their @psu.edu address no later than Wednesday, Aug. 5, with an individualized registration link at Vault Health’s testing website for students residing in the United States, instructions on ordering a test kit, and directions about the testing process.

Students should order their test kit immediately upon receiving those instructions to allow enough time to receive results before coming to campus. The entire testing process will take at least seven to 10 days from the time students order their test kit. Once the test is taken, results can be expected generally within 48-72 hours after the sample kit arrives at the lab for processing.

After receiving the testing kit in the mail, a telehealth visit can begin. The test is performed through a secure video visit supervised by a Vault Health practitioner, eliminating the potential risk of exposure to others involved with in-person sample collection.

Test results will be sent to the students via a Vault Health email. A copy of the test result also will be sent to Penn State.

Frequently asked questions with detailed information are available on the Student Affairs website. Students who are selected for testing will receive a phone number to call for additional questions specific to the pre-arrival Vault Health testing process.

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

The University has launched a COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app as another resource in which all members of the University community are strongly encouraged to check symptoms they may be having and receive instructions for how to proceed. The app also will contain updated information about CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health resources and helpful information, such as dining arrangements.

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Any student who feels sick or who has symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19, should stay home and seek the advice of a medical professional as appropriate. Students who test positive for the virus are expected to isolate for 14 days, and if a student was not tested on campus, they should notify University Health Services or the local campus health professional about the results. Individuals who test positive will be interviewed to identify people with whom they had close contact (less than six feet of distance for 10 minutes or longer within two to four days before the onset of symptoms). These close contacts will be alerted, asked to quarantine for 14 days, and asked to be tested immediately.

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

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

Penn State will contact approximately 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. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back. Tests results will be shared with the student and University Health Services. Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they self-isolate for 14 days and are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

In addition, 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 travel to campus until cleared by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

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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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The University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this fall semester. Before returning to Penn State, all undergraduate and graduate students at every campus location must:

—Read and sign the new required “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” that outlines expectations for the semester.

—Complete mandatory pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, if notified. Select students living in counties across the United States with high infection rates will be contacted by the University on an individual basis in August to complete mandatory testing.

—Self-quarantine for at least 7 days immediately prior to arrival. 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.

—Review Penn State and local requirements for masking and social distancing.

Students who are already living on campus or have moved in to off-campus housing should also complete these steps before the start of classes.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, students, employees and visitors are required to practice social physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, 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.

For more information about these pre-arrival requirements, read this story in Penn State News.

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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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Students selected for pre-arrival testing will be required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back.

Students who do not submit the pre-arrival test will not be permitted to return to campus. Students who do not comply with this requirement and return to campus anyway will be subject to the student conduct process.

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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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Yes. All 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. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

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. If you test positive at a location away from campus, including in a different state, you should immediately contact University Health Services.

For more information about self-quarantine 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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In preparation for the semester, students will be required to read and sign the “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” in LionPATH to acknowledge their responsibility and to agree to follow the rules outlined in the compact, as well as other directives from the University, to protect campus and local communities from the risks posed by COVID-19.

The agreement covers a variety of critical topics and health and safety expectations and requirements, including agreeing to participate in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing throughout the semester, isolate or quarantine if needed, wear face masks and social distance on campus, adhere to travel policies, get a flu vaccination when available, and more. The compact also covers the potential consequences for failing to abide by the compact in ways that risk others’ health and safety, such as through the student conduct process. Students who are not able to sustain these commitments throughout the semester may forfeit their ability to continue with on-campus activities, classes and living.

For more information about the compact, additional FAQs are available on the Student Affairs website.

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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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Although in-person dining will be available, it will be limited throughout the fall semester, with tables physically distanced and chairs removed in order to promote a safer eating environment for diners and workers in accordance with federal, state and local health and safety guidelines. Residential Dining has put in place enhanced protocols including — but not limited to — the use of masks by all guests and staff; increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and restrooms using an EPA-approved disinfectant; additional hand sanitizer stations; installation of Plexiglas in key areas; elimination of self-service options (such as beverages, condiments, etc.); and self-swipe card payments. All items will be served in disposable containers with pre-packaged silverware, condiments and beverages.

Students will actually see more choices and more service styles available than have been offered in previous years. This includes a new mobile ordering and pickup option, and Scan N’ Go convenience store shopping and payment at select locations.

Penn State will also be offering additional seating outdoors at University Park campus and other campuses.

Additional information on Residential Dining’s plans for fall can be found here.

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Penn State is in the midst of finalizing housing assignments and the move-in schedule, and plans to reach out to students and families soon to provide specifics. In an effort to promote the health and safety of the campus and local communities, the University plans to stagger move-in dates, as it normally does. However, it will be over a longer time period to provide more physical distancing.

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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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Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has frozen tuition rates for all students, including in-state and out-of-state students, University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year. This marks the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students. You can learn more in this Penn State News article.

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Penn State computer labs will be reopening for the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place in accordance with CDC recommendations. It may be necessary to reduce computer availability and adjust hours of operation to accommodate social distancing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting procedures. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

Students and faculty may also access University computer lab software remotely via WebLabs. Students with unmet technology needs should contact Penn State IT at 814-865-HELP (4357) or ITservicedesk@psu.edu for individual arrangements.

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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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Yes, room and board charges will be adjusted for the time period in late November and early December when students will be completing the fall semester remotely. More information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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 expects to have most decisions about the mode of delivery for fall 2020 courses finalized by approximately mid-July in order to provide students with an opportunity to review their schedules and make any changes as needed. Students will have the chance to modify their schedules, subject to course availability, based on their unique needs, the requirements of their program, and preferences for in-person or remote instructional offerings.

Despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, Penn State anticipates that about half of its classes across all campuses will have an in-person component this fall structured in a way that allows for social distancing in classes. Adjusting classroom capacities to allow for distancing has significantly reduced the ability to offer in-person classes and other educational experiences, however, about 19% of courses are currently scheduled to be delivered entirely in person and an additional 28% of courses will have an in-person component combined with remote instruction. The University is continuing to explore options to expand its capacity for holding additional in-person and mixed-mode classes, including using other indoor spaces on campus that will allow for social distancing.

Students are encouraged to check LionPATH for updated information about the instructional mode, meeting day and time, and meeting location for each of their classes. Students desiring to make changes to their course schedule can do so directly in LionPATH. However, students should work with their adviser to make any possible adjustments to their schedule to accommodate their personal circumstances, with the possibility of enrolling in courses with an in-person component or changing to an entirely remote course load. Depending on their mix of courses and the requirements of their program, it may or may not be possible to adjust their schedule to include more in-person courses.

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

Students are able to make changes to their course schedules now through the regular drop/add deadlines on Aug. 29 and 30. Students experiencing difficulty getting into specific courses are encouraged to utilize the wait list feature in LionPATH and to check regularly for available classes as other students also finalize their fall course selections. Students also can consult their adviser regarding available courses at a different Penn State campus via a temporary change of campus location or a multi-campus registration.

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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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Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has frozen in-state and out-of-state tuition rates University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year, marking the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The summer commencement ceremony will be held virtually at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. Additional details are available in this Penn State News article.

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With the health and safety of participants and the community in mind, the summer commencement ceremony will be held virtually on Aug. 15 at https://summer2020.commencement.psu.edu/.

Additional details are available in this Penn State News article.

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Although Pennsylvania’s counties, including Centre County, are in the “green phase,” the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office has restricted indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to less than 250 people. As the health and safety of our community is our main priority, Penn State is following the guidance of the Department of Education, as well as health care experts and epidemiologists who recommend not congregating in large groups and social distancing as some of the best protocols for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Between the number of graduates and guests, summer commencement, even divided into multiple ceremonies, would far exceed these limits.

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The virtual ceremony will include elements of a traditional ceremony, including leadership remarks, conferral of degrees, and induction into the Penn State Alumni Association. Following the virtual ceremony, graduates, friends and families may explore additional digital content created for each college and the Commonwealth Campuses. The content on these pages is tailored more specifically to those communities of learning, including individual student recognition with shareable digital slides. 

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Penn State partners with a vendor to create the digital slides that will include each student’s name, degree, major and a professional voice talent recording of the student’s name. Students will not be responsible for creating their own slide. Summer graduates received an email in June from graduation@psu.edu via our vendor, MarchingOrder, with more details on the digital slides.

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Included within the email to be sent to students on June 24 will be instructions for those who do not wish to have a slide included.

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No, providing information for the digital slide and viewing the virtual ceremony does not preclude a student from participating in a later, in-person celebration on campus to recognize the Class of 2020.

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While we certainly hope members of the Class of 2020 and their families and friends tune in to the virtual ceremony, there is no requirement to do so. Penn State remains committed to inviting the Class of 2020 back to campus for in-person celebrations when public health guidelines permit this to occur.

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This recognition, in the form of digital slides, will include the student’s name, degree and major, with voice talent reading the student’s name aloud.

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Students, families and friends will be viewing the virtual ceremony online from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. It is not required that students wear a cap and gown while they watch the virtual ceremony. As a gift in recognition of achieving this milestone, Penn State will be sending graduates a cap and tassel. More information on this gift will be sent to graduates via email during the week of June 29.

We encourage graduates to post pictures of their in-home celebrations to social media platforms with the hashtag #PSUgrad.

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You may contact graduation@psu.edu.

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After all degree requirements are met, your diploma will be mailed to the diploma address (if applicable) or permanent address set in LionPATH. Additional diploma questions may be sent to registrar@psu.edu.

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The virtual ceremony provides an opportunity for all Penn State students — undergraduate and graduate, at all campus locations — who have filed intent to graduate in the summer of 2020, the opportunity to gather virtually as a University community for a timely celebration of their academic achievements.

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Although the venue is outside, we are still required to adhere to the public health guidelines, which currently limit large gatherings to 250 people or fewer. The number of graduates and their guests would far exceed this limit.

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Penn State is committed to holding in-person celebrations for the Class of 2020 when health guidelines permit, and the well-being of students and families is no longer in jeopardy due to COVID-19. We are exploring potential dates, logistics and activities for recognitions of the spring and summer graduates in the Class of 2020. We will continue to plan, with contingencies in place, given the uncertain nature of the pandemic.

Commencement marks a milestone in the life of students, and it is certainly a time for joy and celebration. We would not want to miss this moment in time to celebrate as a community.

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The virtual ceremony on Aug. 15 is a way, during this time of social distancing, to more immediately recognize the completion of our students’ academic experience and to mark this significant milestone in their lives. We view the virtual commencement as the first step in recognizing the Class of 2020. A virtual commencement also will allow those graduates who are unable to travel back to campus due to other circumstances, (e.g. employment, cost, family obligations) to take part and be recognized by our community.

The Class of 2020 deserves a just reward for the hard-earned academic accomplishments of its members. When social restrictions are lifted and medical experts determine we can move forward with an in-person event, Penn State will set a date for those who are interested and who have the ability to come back together in celebration.

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As part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased re-opening plan for Pennsylvania, counties in the “green phase” (including Centre County, where University Park is located) are required to limit indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to less than 250 people. Between graduates and their guests, the summer commencement ceremony would exceed these limits. While move-in weekend will attract a large number of students and families to campus, the logistics are being considered with all of the measures of public health and safety guidelines in mind, to limit the number of people congregating in a single area at one time.

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There will be in-person commencement celebrations, as this is as much a priority for us as we know it is for our students. The date, however, has not yet been determined. The ongoing pandemic is a fluid situation, and we need to continue to monitor public health guidelines. Once a date is set, that will be communicated via email, Penn State News, and Penn State’s social media channels.

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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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At this time, even in the “green phase” of Gov. Tom Wolf’s re-opening plan for Pennsylvania, indoor gatherings are restricted to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to less than 250 people. The caution we are taking in returning to campus is based on guidance from the commonwealth, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health care experts. Normal fall commencement activities generally involve around 11,000 students and their families. There are far too many unknowns about the potential path of the COVID-19 pandemic to plan at this time for such an on-campus event.

As we continue to monitor public health guidelines and recommendations for large gatherings into the fall, we will make a determination on the format for the fall commencement ceremony in the months ahead, all based on the health and well-being of our community.

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

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

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

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

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

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Throughout the pandemic, Penn State has been working with local community leaders and stakeholders, both in the State College area and in neighboring communities across the commonwealth, to partner on strategies to limit the local impacts of COVID-19 through collaborative efforts informed by health and science. To allow in-residence instruction and activities to continue and to uphold the health and safety of campus and local communities, students will be urged to take personal responsibility and follow health guidelines, including wearing masks, adhering to physical distancing practices, washing hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition to providing education and support directly to students, fraternities and other student organizations, Penn State will coordinate with local government officials, landlords and local employers to share resources and to encourage students to follow expectations for off-campus behavior. In addition, University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community as healthy as possible. Based on the governor’s guidelines advising against large gatherings, and out of respect for the risks to the broader University community, large gatherings are discouraged. Indoor gatherings cannot exceed 25 individuals, and must adhere to masking and social distancing requirements.

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

For additional information and answers to frequently asked questions for international students, please visit https://global.psu.edu/covidintlfaq#.

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

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

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The health of the Penn State community is our top priority, and we must all do our part in preventing the possible spread of coronavirus. Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation of class attendance policies. Sick students are expected to stay home and call their health care provider. In-residence courses will be delivered in a flexible format to allow students who miss class due to quarantine or illness to continue to make critical academic progress. University Park students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should begin the screening process for coronavirus over the phone by calling the UHS Advice Nurse at 814-863-4463. Students at Commonwealth Campuses should contact their on-campus health services office or a local physician’s office. Penn State urges faculty and staff to contact their health care provider if they have a cough, respiratory symptoms, a fever or have concerns related to COVID-19, 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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To help limit prolonged person-to-person contact, this fall, no residence hall room or space may be occupied by more than two residents. To the extent possible, single rooms will be provided to immunocompromised or at-risk students, or a student requesting one, although immunocompromised or at-risk students will receive priority consideration. Roommate requests also will be honored.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yes, social distancing will be 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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The University purchased 500,000 reusable masks to be distributed across all campuses. Cloth face masks will be provided to students as needed at the beginning of the semester and employees will receive face masks prior to returning to work. To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required in all University buildings, including in classrooms and labs, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible. Students and employees also should practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wear face masks within their local communities, in line with local and state requirements.

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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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Penn State was allotted nearly $55 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law on March 27. Half of Penn State’s allocation – or approximately $27.5 million – is designated by law to be disbursed as emergency cash grants to students impacted by disruptions to campus operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Penn State is distributing these grants via two rounds of funding. In the first round, the University awarded grants up to $1,000 to more than 25,000 students, based on family income and other data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University recently announced a second round of funding that will utilize an application process to award grants to students with qualifying expenses who were not identified to receive funding during the first round.

For answers to more frequently asked questions about the emergency grants, visit https://virusinfo.psu.edu/faq/topic/federal-funding.

To view Penn State’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund reporting information, visit https://opair.psu.edu/cares-act-information/.

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Penn State Global Programs has announced the cancellation of all fall 2020 semester-long study abroad programming, a decision based heavily on safety considerations, among other factors.

The current uncertainty about how the global coronavirus pandemic will evolve makes it difficult to predict exactly when study-abroad programming will resume. However, in the long term and at its core, Penn State is a global institution and we are committed to providing study-abroad experiences for our students. We realize the current situation has created an enormous disruption in our study-abroad programs, but we look forward to a time when we will once again have students benefiting from educational experiences across the globe.

The Education Abroad staff, as well as faculty collaborators, continue to assess and plan for study abroad opportunities in the future when these programs can be offered with certainty.

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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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Students receiving grants during the first round of funding were notified of their award via their Penn State email account in May and had until June 30, 2020, to accept or decline the aid.

Students with qualifying expenses who were not identified to receive funding during the first round can now apply for a CARES Act emergency grant via a recently announced second round of funding.

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Students receiving aid in the first round of funding were required to certify in LionPATH that the funds will be used to cover eligible expenses they incurred as a result of disruptions to campus operations due to COVID-19. For the second round of funding, submission of an application serves as affirmation that a student has incurred qualifying expenses. As determined by Congress, eligible expenses include course materials, technology, food, housing, health care and child care.

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During the first round of funding, Penn State awarded cash grants of up to $1,000 based on family income and other information from the FAFSA, and recipients received a message in their Penn State email account notifying them of their award and how to accept it.

Penn State announced a second round of funding for students who were not identified to receive a grant in the initial round, subject to eligibility to receive federal student aid. Penn State has reserved approximately $2 million for this second round of funding, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

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Penn State has awarded grants to more than 25,000 students during the first round of funding, representing approximately 23,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate, law and medical students from all physical Penn State campus locations. Additional students will receive aid during an application-based second round of funding that opened on June 15.

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The funds will be awarded to undergraduate, graduate, law and medical students at all Penn State campus locations, with the exception of World Campus. In accordance with federal requirements, students enrolled exclusively in online programs during the spring 2020 semester are not eligible for the emergency aid.

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The U.S. Department of Education and the CARES Act have provided higher education institutions with discretion on how to award the emergency assistance to students. In a letter to college and university presidents, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encouraged institutions to prioritize funding for those students with the greatest need, while also distributing grants as widely as possible for maximum impact.

Penn State prioritized lower-income students utilizing data from their 2019-20 FAFSA for the initial round of grants. To make as wide of an impact as possible, students with lower family incomes, including our Pell Grant-eligible students, will receive up to $1,000 each. This allotment allows Penn State to quickly provide meaningful financial relief to students with the greatest need, while also reaching a significant number of students – more than 25,000 in all across every physical campus.

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All students, including graduating seniors, who were enrolled in on-campus classes on or after March 27 when the CARES Act was signed into law, and who meet eligibility criteria for federal student aid, will be considered for these funds.

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By signing the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, the University agreed to the Department of Education’s requirement that institutions promptly make these emergency financial aid grant funds available to students for their eligible expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. These limited funds are provided to students enrolled during the spring 2020 semester who have already incurred expenses.

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As determined by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education, some students are ineligible to receive the emergency federal aid. This includes students enrolled exclusively in online programs, such as Penn State World Campus students. Students who do not meet the criteria to receive Title IV federal student aid, such as international students, also are not eligible to receive Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants.

Other students may not have received a grant in the first round of funding because they did not complete a 2019-20 FAFSA, preventing the University from being able to determine their eligibility, or they did not meet the criteria for greatest financial need. Penn State recently announce a second round of funding for students who were not identified to receive a grant in the initial round, subject to eligibility to receive federal student aid. Penn State has reserved approximately $2 million for this second round of funding, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

Recognizing that students who are not eligible for CARES Act funds may have experienced financial or personal hardships as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and that families’ financial pictures may have been altered by the pandemic, the University is encouraging any student with concerns related to COVID-19 to explore the resources provided by the Office of Student Care and Advocacy for assistance.

In addition, Complete Penn State provides resources such as financial aid for students who are within one or two semesters of completing their first associate or bachelor’s degree and experience a situation that negatively impacts their ability to complete their degree. Since the University began remote course delivery in mid-March, Complete Penn State has approved more than $470,000 in financial support for students. Eligible students in need of aid are invited to apply at success.psu.edu/complete. Complete Penn State is available to students at all Penn State campuses, including World Campus, and to domestic and international students.

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As determined by Congress, the emergency funds must be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

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No. The emergency grants are not considered federal student aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act and will not affect a student’s other 2019-20 financial aid. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education encourages colleges and universities to exclude these grants from the calculation of a student’s financial need for future years.

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According to the IRS, CARES Act emergency financial aid grants are qualified disaster relief payments under the Internal Revenue Code and not considered taxable income.

The University encourages students to seek tax advice from a third-party provider regarding their individual tax situation.

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No. The emergency grants do not have to be paid back.

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The other half of Penn State’s allocation under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, approximately $27.5 million, will be used to help pay employees with a connection to the educational mission of the University per the guidance that funds should be used to address costs related to the “significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”

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University Libraries’ COVID-19 information page details the options for returns of various types of library materials across the University. Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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Current students

Students who are in need of course accommodations are encouraged to contact Student Disability Resources by calling 814-863-1807 or emailing edaccessibility@psu.edu. Staff are available for virtual appointments and can explore accommodation needs specific to the remote environment.

New students

Student Disability Resources welcomes contact from incoming students who are interested in registering for services. Staff are available for virtual appointments and can answer any questions about the registration process.

Incoming students are encouraged to complete their registration over the summer prior to the start of the fall semester. Students can learn more about registering for services by calling 814-863-1807, emailing edaccessibility@psu.edu, or reviewing information at http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/applying-for-services.

Penn State has a disability services office at every Penn State campus that provides accommodations and services for students with disabilities. Incoming students should contact the disability coordinator at the campus where they will be enrolled.

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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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We are working to help people through this process, as we understand the significant distress our future Penn State students and their families may be experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

We have discussions daily on these topics. For now, students can still apply to Penn State. Applications continue to be processed as usual on a rolling basis.

While we encourage students to accept their offers of admission and to begin their transition activities, including taking the ALEKS math assessment test and completing New Student Orientation, we recognize that there is some concern regarding the start of the fall semester at Penn State. Students, parents and school counselors should continue to monitor https://admissions.psu.edu/coronavirus/ for the latest information.

We encourage applicants to reach out to us to discuss their unique circumstances. Students and/or their school counselors can send an email to admissions@psu.edu or call 1-814-865-5471.

In addition, out of an abundance of caution in protecting all members of the Penn State community, we announced that all activities relating to admitted student programs, prospective student events, and campus visitation are suspended through Aug. 31. In lieu of on-campus events, visit admissions.psu.edu/experience for virtual events and resources so students can experience Penn State right from their home.

For additional information, visit https://admissions.psu.edu/coronavirus/.

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Penn State, like nearly every other higher education institution across the country, has been allocated emergency funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27.

Penn State has been allocated about $55 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, half of which – or approximately $27.5 million – is directed by law to be distributed as emergency cash grants directly to students in need, which Penn State has begun awarding to certain students to pay for expenses incurred related to COVID-19 disruptions, including course materials and technology, food, housing, health care and child care. The other half, approximately $27.5 million, will be used to help pay employees with a connection to the educational mission of the University, per the guidance that funds should be used to address costs related to the “significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”

It’s important to note that this funding, which comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, is completely separate from the small business Paycheck Protection Plan, though both were established by the CARES Act. None of the funding allocated to colleges and universities was intended by Congress or the president to go to small businesses.

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund allocations are based on the number of Pell Grant recipients and full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollment at each educational institution. Penn State has more than 19,000 Pell students and an FTE on-campus enrollment of more than 76,000 across our 24 campuses. Both of those numbers are among the highest in the country.

Penn State leadership appointed a task group that included Student Affairs, the Office of Student Aid, the Bursar, the Graduate School, our Commonwealth Campuses, general counsel, and additional broad representation to develop a plan for the distribution of these federal funds.

The University is grateful that the Department of Education prioritized this funding to support students who have the most need, which is supplementing our ongoing efforts to provide financial relief for our students who need it the most. Over the past decade, Penn State has prioritized access and affordability for our students, knowing that one-third of them are first-generation college students. Since the pandemic began, Penn State has received hundreds of applications from students for grants from our existing institutional emergency financial relief fund, and these additional funds have greatly expanded our efforts.

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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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Are there any on-campus spaces available at University Park for students to use for remote class sessions?

The University has approximately 45 designated Remote Learning Rooms at University Park for students to use to view their remote classes individually or together in small groups, while social distancing and wearing masks, this fall. These spaces are smaller general purpose classrooms that have not been scheduled for classes because social distancing (due to COVID-19) did not permit for the necessary occupancy. So these rooms are free for this use. In addition to regular student spaces on campus that have had seating adjusted for social distancing, these rooms are open for use during normal building hours and have clear signage indicating that they are intended for access for remote classes. Students will need to bring their own devices. Room locations and capacity are available by selecting the “Remote Learning Rooms” option on the campus map a map.psu.edu.

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

The University has launched a COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app as another resource in which all members of the University community are strongly encouraged to check symptoms they may be having and receive instructions for how to proceed. The app also will contain updated information about CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health resources and helpful information, such as dining arrangements.

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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 computer labs will be reopening for the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place in accordance with CDC recommendations. It may be necessary to reduce computer availability and adjust hours of operation to accommodate social distancing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting procedures. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

Students and faculty may also access University computer lab software remotely via WebLabs. Students with unmet technology needs should contact Penn State IT at 814-865-HELP (4357) or ITservicedesk@psu.edu for individual arrangements.

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The University expects to have most decisions about the mode of delivery for fall 2020 courses finalized by approximately mid-July in order to provide students with an opportunity to review their schedules and make any changes as needed. Students will have the chance to modify their schedules, subject to course availability, based on their unique needs, the requirements of their program, and preferences for in-person or remote instructional offerings.

Despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, Penn State anticipates that about half of its classes across all campuses will have an in-person component this fall structured in a way that allows for social distancing in classes. Adjusting classroom capacities to allow for distancing has significantly reduced the ability to offer in-person classes and other educational experiences, however, about 19% of courses are currently scheduled to be delivered entirely in person and an additional 28% of courses will have an in-person component combined with remote instruction. The University is continuing to explore options to expand its capacity for holding additional in-person and mixed-mode classes, including using other indoor spaces on campus that will allow for social distancing.

Students are encouraged to check LionPATH for updated information about the instructional mode, meeting day and time, and meeting location for each of their classes. Students desiring to make changes to their course schedule can do so directly in LionPATH. However, students should work with their adviser to make any possible adjustments to their schedule to accommodate their personal circumstances, with the possibility of enrolling in courses with an in-person component or changing to an entirely remote course load. Depending on their mix of courses and the requirements of their program, it may or may not be possible to adjust their schedule to include more in-person courses.

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

Students are able to make changes to their course schedules now through the regular drop/add deadlines on Aug. 29 and 30. Students experiencing difficulty getting into specific courses are encouraged to utilize the wait list feature in LionPATH and to check regularly for available classes as other students also finalize their fall course selections. Students also can consult their adviser regarding available courses at a different Penn State campus via a temporary change of campus location or a multi-campus registration.

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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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Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has frozen in-state and out-of-state tuition rates University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year, marking the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For additional information and answers to frequently asked questions for international students, please visit https://global.psu.edu/covidintlfaq#.

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

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

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

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Yes, social distancing will be 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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The University purchased 500,000 reusable masks to be distributed across all campuses. Cloth face masks will be provided to students as needed at the beginning of the semester and employees will receive face masks prior to returning to work. To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required in all University buildings, including in classrooms and labs, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible. Students and employees also should practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wear face masks within their local communities, in line with local and state requirements.

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University Libraries’ COVID-19 information page details the options for returns of various types of library materials across the University. Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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The optional alternative grading system was put into place for the spring 2020 semester to help students minimize the impact of suddenly moving to a remote learning environment in the middle of a semester, on top of many having to move back to their permanent residence. With the University announcing that the summer session will be delivered virtually well in advance of classes beginning, it is appropriate to revert to traditional grading methodology.

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During remote learning delivery periods, experiential education (including credit-bearing internships, clinical assignments, or noncredit experiences that are required for degree completion) must be virtual. This includes any internship experiences offered through Penn State that you may wish or need to take advantage of. In addition, internal Penn State internships must follow Penn State guidelines regarding hiring and funding. This decision reinforces the University’s primary goal to maintain health and safety for all involved and to recognize that different and rapidly changing situations are emerging across the nation and world.

If an internship is required for you to graduate, your college and academic program should communicate an alternative plan to you. Learn more about your options related to experiential education during remote learning delivery.

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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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All Zoom recordings are automatically uploaded to Kaltura, which provides unlimited storage. Your instructor can edit, embed, and share Zoom recordings within Kaltura. Detailed instructions for accessing Zoom recordings in Kaltura are available.

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Yes. Penn State’s WebApps provides remote access to the most-used, specialized software that you would typically access in a Penn State lab. Currently available applications include:

  • Microsoft Office suite (Access, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word)
  • Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
  • Esri ArcGIS Desktop
  • Esri ArcGIS Pro
  • Mathsoft MATLAB
  • Minitab, Inc. Minitab
  • Minitab, Inc. Minitab Express
  • SAS JMP Pro
  • SAS
  • Wolfram Mathematica

The following applications have limited connections and are available by request only:

  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Visio

  • To request a connection for applications with limited connections or to to see if your application can be added, submit a request to Device Management.

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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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Will every Penn State student be tested in the fall before moving into residence halls?

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

Penn State will contact approximately 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. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back. Tests results will be shared with the student and University Health Services. Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they self-isolate for 14 days and are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

In addition, 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 travel to campus until cleared by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

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Although in-person dining will be available, it will be limited throughout the fall semester, with tables physically distanced and chairs removed in order to promote a safer eating environment for diners and workers in accordance with federal, state and local health and safety guidelines. Residential Dining has put in place enhanced protocols including — but not limited to — the use of masks by all guests and staff; increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and restrooms using an EPA-approved disinfectant; additional hand sanitizer stations; installation of Plexiglas in key areas; elimination of self-service options (such as beverages, condiments, etc.); and self-swipe card payments. All items will be served in disposable containers with pre-packaged silverware, condiments and beverages.

Students will actually see more choices and more service styles available than have been offered in previous years. This includes a new mobile ordering and pickup option, and Scan N’ Go convenience store shopping and payment at select locations.

Penn State will also be offering additional seating outdoors at University Park campus and other campuses.

Additional information on Residential Dining’s plans for fall can be found here.

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Penn State is in the midst of finalizing housing assignments and the move-in schedule, and plans to reach out to students and families soon to provide specifics. In an effort to promote the health and safety of the campus and local communities, the University plans to stagger move-in dates, as it normally does. However, it will be over a longer time period to provide more physical distancing.

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Yes, room and board charges will be adjusted for the time period in late November and early December when students will be completing the fall semester remotely. More information is available in this Penn State News article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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— 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 is the status of study abroad for fall 2020? When will study-abroad programming resume? (UPDATED 6/8)

Penn State Global Programs has announced the cancellation of all fall 2020 semester-long study abroad programming, a decision based heavily on safety considerations, among other factors.

The current uncertainty about how the global coronavirus pandemic will evolve makes it difficult to predict exactly when study-abroad programming will resume. However, in the long term and at its core, Penn State is a global institution and we are committed to providing study-abroad experiences for our students. We realize the current situation has created an enormous disruption in our study-abroad programs, but we look forward to a time when we will once again have students benefiting from educational experiences across the globe.

The Education Abroad staff, as well as faculty collaborators, continue to assess and plan for study abroad opportunities in the future when these programs can be offered with certainty.

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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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Has Penn State adjusted its undergraduate admissions process in response to the coronavirus?

We are working to help people through this process, as we understand the significant distress our future Penn State students and their families may be experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

We have discussions daily on these topics. For now, students can still apply to Penn State. Applications continue to be processed as usual on a rolling basis.

While we encourage students to accept their offers of admission and to begin their transition activities, including taking the ALEKS math assessment test and completing New Student Orientation, we recognize that there is some concern regarding the start of the fall semester at Penn State. Students, parents and school counselors should continue to monitor https://admissions.psu.edu/coronavirus/ for the latest information.

We encourage applicants to reach out to us to discuss their unique circumstances. Students and/or their school counselors can send an email to admissions@psu.edu or call 1-814-865-5471.

In addition, out of an abundance of caution in protecting all members of the Penn State community, we announced that all activities relating to admitted student programs, prospective student events, and campus visitation are suspended through Aug. 31. In lieu of on-campus events, visit admissions.psu.edu/experience for virtual events and resources so students can experience Penn State right from their home.

For additional information, visit https://admissions.psu.edu/coronavirus/.

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The Graduate School at Penn State is continuously monitoring developments related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, and doing everything possible to support applicants who may be affected. We understand that many testing services have suspended operations, and graduate programs at Penn State have been encouraged to extend their deadlines for applicants who may have been impacted by the suspension of testing services and other restrictions caused by the outbreak. Graduate Enrollment Services is taking this and other extenuating circumstances into consideration as we review applications and work with our admitted students. For applicants who have been admitted and are impacted by the outbreak, we encourage you to contact your graduate program regarding your specific situation.

For additional information and updates, visit http://gradschool.psu.edu/.

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Penn State’s student aid office is processing student aid applications and communicating to prospective students and families on a continual basis. Students and their families can visit studentaid.psu.edu/future-students for current information.

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Penn State values the diversity of its international population and welcomes students from across the globe. We will continue to monitor any international travel restrictions and must adhere to the decisions made by the U.S. government. The higher education organizations to which Penn State belongs have all been in contact with the federal government seeking guidance, clarification and information on the status of our international students and scholars.

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Our goal is to be available, given our resources located across the commonwealth to support individual students and their needs. Our campuses will exercise as much flexibility as possible for students with unique challenges, and families should reach out to individual campuses directly for any specific requests. Many prospective students have already experienced disappointment of a truncated senior year of high school and now face an uncertain start of college. We are working to assist in any way we can.

In addition, Penn State admissions counselors are available to meet with students one-on-one by phone. We recognize that the closure of high schools inhibits Penn State’s ability to make high school visits and the closures may delay communication with high school counselors. All of this change has reduced the opportunities for students to discuss and finalize their college decisions. Penn State admissions counselors are available by phone to answer questions about the academic and social opportunities at Penn State and to support individual students as they finalize their admissions decisions. We encourage applicants to reach out to us to discuss their unique circumstances. Students and/or their school counselors can send an email to admissions@psu.edu or call 814-865-5471.

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All of higher education is considering this very question – and most enrollment managers aren’t going to have any way to project with accuracy where enrollment will land. Just like all businesses and any operation in the U.S., or world, right now – the immediate future is unknown, but we are doing our best to reach and assist prospective students in ways that we can.

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The Undergraduate Admissions Office continues to operate, just differently through phones, live chats, email, Zoom appointments, and a growing number of scheduled live events online. Applications are being processed, mail is being opened, and notifications of admission decisions are being sent.

While we can’t invite prospective students to visit our campuses at this time, our staff are available to answer questions in any other format – visit admissions.psu.edu/experience to connect with us.

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Penn State wants to help support our future students impacted by the outbreak. We understand that fulfilling all parts of the application process may be difficult at this time, so we will remain flexible and work with students during the current admission cycle on a case-by-case basis. We continue to encourage students to submit complete applications and supporting documentation whenever possible. Please contact us at admissions@psu.edu with the Subject Line: Application Concerns if you are unable to provide a final high school transcript, official SAT or ACT scores, or other application materials.

UPDATE (6/8/20): For summer or fall 2021 admission, Penn State is making SAT/ACT score submissions optional for prospective students to help ease the anxiety that many future students and families are experiencing as a result of test-taking disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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As a result of University efforts to engage in social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all on-campus and off-campus visit programs are canceled through Aug. 31. Guests who have registered for events prior to Aug. 31 have been or will be notified by email of their cancellation.

Prospective students can engage with Penn State through virtual visits, watching presentations, taking virtual tours, and connecting with your campus of interest, and more. Information is available at admissions.psu.edu/experience.

Individual questions about the admissions process can be directed to admissions@psu.edu or 1-814-865-5471. For additional information, visit https://admissions.psu.edu/coronavirus/.

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How is Penn State awarding student emergency grants from its federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund allocation?

Penn State was allotted nearly $55 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law on March 27. Half of Penn State’s allocation – or approximately $27.5 million – is designated by law to be disbursed as emergency cash grants to students impacted by disruptions to campus operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Penn State is distributing these grants via two rounds of funding. In the first round, the University awarded grants up to $1,000 to more than 25,000 students, based on family income and other data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University recently announced a second round of funding that will utilize an application process to award grants to students with qualifying expenses who were not identified to receive funding during the first round.

For answers to more frequently asked questions about the emergency grants, visit https://virusinfo.psu.edu/faq/topic/federal-funding.

To view Penn State’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund reporting information, visit https://opair.psu.edu/cares-act-information/.

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Students receiving grants during the first round of funding were notified of their award via their Penn State email account in May and had until June 30, 2020, to accept or decline the aid.

Students with qualifying expenses who were not identified to receive funding during the first round can now apply for a CARES Act emergency grant via a recently announced second round of funding.

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Students receiving aid in the first round of funding were required to certify in LionPATH that the funds will be used to cover eligible expenses they incurred as a result of disruptions to campus operations due to COVID-19. For the second round of funding, submission of an application serves as affirmation that a student has incurred qualifying expenses. As determined by Congress, eligible expenses include course materials, technology, food, housing, health care and child care.

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During the first round of funding, Penn State awarded cash grants of up to $1,000 based on family income and other information from the FAFSA, and recipients received a message in their Penn State email account notifying them of their award and how to accept it.

Penn State announced a second round of funding for students who were not identified to receive a grant in the initial round, subject to eligibility to receive federal student aid. Penn State has reserved approximately $2 million for this second round of funding, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

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Penn State has awarded grants to more than 25,000 students during the first round of funding, representing approximately 23,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate, law and medical students from all physical Penn State campus locations. Additional students will receive aid during an application-based second round of funding that opened on June 15.

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The funds will be awarded to undergraduate, graduate, law and medical students at all Penn State campus locations, with the exception of World Campus. In accordance with federal requirements, students enrolled exclusively in online programs during the spring 2020 semester are not eligible for the emergency aid.

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The U.S. Department of Education and the CARES Act have provided higher education institutions with discretion on how to award the emergency assistance to students. In a letter to college and university presidents, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encouraged institutions to prioritize funding for those students with the greatest need, while also distributing grants as widely as possible for maximum impact.

Penn State prioritized lower-income students utilizing data from their 2019-20 FAFSA for the initial round of grants. To make as wide of an impact as possible, students with lower family incomes, including our Pell Grant-eligible students, will receive up to $1,000 each. This allotment allows Penn State to quickly provide meaningful financial relief to students with the greatest need, while also reaching a significant number of students – more than 25,000 in all across every physical campus.

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All students, including graduating seniors, who were enrolled in on-campus classes on or after March 27 when the CARES Act was signed into law, and who meet eligibility criteria for federal student aid, will be considered for these funds.

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By signing the Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students, the University agreed to the Department of Education’s requirement that institutions promptly make these emergency financial aid grant funds available to students for their eligible expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. These limited funds are provided to students enrolled during the spring 2020 semester who have already incurred expenses.

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As determined by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education, some students are ineligible to receive the emergency federal aid. This includes students enrolled exclusively in online programs, such as Penn State World Campus students. Students who do not meet the criteria to receive Title IV federal student aid, such as international students, also are not eligible to receive Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants.

Other students may not have received a grant in the first round of funding because they did not complete a 2019-20 FAFSA, preventing the University from being able to determine their eligibility, or they did not meet the criteria for greatest financial need. Penn State recently announce a second round of funding for students who were not identified to receive a grant in the initial round, subject to eligibility to receive federal student aid. Penn State has reserved approximately $2 million for this second round of funding, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

Recognizing that students who are not eligible for CARES Act funds may have experienced financial or personal hardships as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and that families’ financial pictures may have been altered by the pandemic, the University is encouraging any student with concerns related to COVID-19 to explore the resources provided by the Office of Student Care and Advocacy for assistance.

In addition, Complete Penn State provides resources such as financial aid for students who are within one or two semesters of completing their first associate or bachelor’s degree and experience a situation that negatively impacts their ability to complete their degree. Since the University began remote course delivery in mid-March, Complete Penn State has approved more than $470,000 in financial support for students. Eligible students in need of aid are invited to apply at success.psu.edu/complete. Complete Penn State is available to students at all Penn State campuses, including World Campus, and to domestic and international students.

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As determined by Congress, the emergency funds must be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

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No. The emergency grants are not considered federal student aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act and will not affect a student’s other 2019-20 financial aid. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education encourages colleges and universities to exclude these grants from the calculation of a student’s financial need for future years.

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According to the IRS, CARES Act emergency financial aid grants are qualified disaster relief payments under the Internal Revenue Code and not considered taxable income.

The University encourages students to seek tax advice from a third-party provider regarding their individual tax situation.

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No. The emergency grants do not have to be paid back.

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The other half of Penn State’s allocation under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, approximately $27.5 million, will be used to help pay employees with a connection to the educational mission of the University per the guidance that funds should be used to address costs related to the “significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”

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Penn State, like nearly every other higher education institution across the country, has been allocated emergency funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27.

Penn State has been allocated about $55 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, half of which – or approximately $27.5 million – is directed by law to be distributed as emergency cash grants directly to students in need, which Penn State has begun awarding to certain students to pay for expenses incurred related to COVID-19 disruptions, including course materials and technology, food, housing, health care and child care. The other half, approximately $27.5 million, will be used to help pay employees with a connection to the educational mission of the University, per the guidance that funds should be used to address costs related to the “significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.”

It’s important to note that this funding, which comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, is completely separate from the small business Paycheck Protection Plan, though both were established by the CARES Act. None of the funding allocated to colleges and universities was intended by Congress or the president to go to small businesses.

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund allocations are based on the number of Pell Grant recipients and full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollment at each educational institution. Penn State has more than 19,000 Pell students and an FTE on-campus enrollment of more than 76,000 across our 24 campuses. Both of those numbers are among the highest in the country.

Penn State leadership appointed a task group that included Student Affairs, the Office of Student Aid, the Bursar, the Graduate School, our Commonwealth Campuses, general counsel, and additional broad representation to develop a plan for the distribution of these federal funds.

The University is grateful that the Department of Education prioritized this funding to support students who have the most need, which is supplementing our ongoing efforts to provide financial relief for our students who need it the most. Over the past decade, Penn State has prioritized access and affordability for our students, knowing that one-third of them are first-generation college students. Since the pandemic began, Penn State has received hundreds of applications from students for grants from our existing institutional emergency financial relief fund, and these additional funds have greatly expanded our efforts.

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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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As part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring announced in a July 30 town hall, students selected for the required pre-arrival COVID-19 testing will receive an email to their @psu.edu address no later than Wednesday, Aug. 5, with an individualized registration link at Vault Health’s testing website for students residing in the United States, instructions on ordering a test kit, and directions about the testing process.

Students should order their test kit immediately upon receiving those instructions to allow enough time to receive results before coming to campus. The entire testing process will take at least seven to 10 days from the time students order their test kit. Once the test is taken, results can be expected generally within 48-72 hours after the sample kit arrives at the lab for processing.

After receiving the testing kit in the mail, a telehealth visit can begin. The test is performed through a secure video visit supervised by a Vault Health practitioner, eliminating the potential risk of exposure to others involved with in-person sample collection.

Test results will be sent to the students via a Vault Health email. A copy of the test result also will be sent to Penn State.

Frequently asked questions with detailed information are available on the Student Affairs website. Students who are selected for testing will receive a phone number to call for additional questions specific to the pre-arrival Vault Health testing process.

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

The University has launched a COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app as another resource in which all members of the University community are strongly encouraged to check symptoms they may be having and receive instructions for how to proceed. The app also will contain updated information about CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health resources and helpful information, such as dining arrangements.

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Any student who feels sick or who has symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19, should stay home and seek the advice of a medical professional as appropriate. Students who test positive for the virus are expected to isolate for 14 days, and if a student was not tested on campus, they should notify University Health Services or the local campus health professional about the results. Individuals who test positive will be interviewed to identify people with whom they had close contact (less than six feet of distance for 10 minutes or longer within two to four days before the onset of symptoms). These close contacts will be alerted, asked to quarantine for 14 days, and asked to be tested immediately.

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

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

Penn State will contact approximately 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. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back. Tests results will be shared with the student and University Health Services. Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they self-isolate for 14 days and are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

In addition, 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 travel to campus until cleared by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

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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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The University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this fall semester. Before returning to Penn State, all undergraduate and graduate students at every campus location must:

—Read and sign the new required “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” that outlines expectations for the semester.

—Complete mandatory pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, if notified. Select students living in counties across the United States with high infection rates will be contacted by the University on an individual basis in August to complete mandatory testing.

—Self-quarantine for at least 7 days immediately prior to arrival. 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.

—Review Penn State and local requirements for masking and social distancing.

Students who are already living on campus or have moved in to off-campus housing should also complete these steps before the start of classes.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, students, employees and visitors are required to practice social physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, 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.

For more information about these pre-arrival requirements, read this story in Penn State News.

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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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Students selected for pre-arrival testing will be required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back.

Students who do not submit the pre-arrival test will not be permitted to return to campus. Students who do not comply with this requirement and return to campus anyway will be subject to the student conduct process.

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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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Yes. All 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. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

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. If you test positive at a location away from campus, including in a different state, you should immediately contact University Health Services.

For more information about self-quarantine 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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In preparation for the semester, students will be required to read and sign the “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” in LionPATH to acknowledge their responsibility and to agree to follow the rules outlined in the compact, as well as other directives from the University, to protect campus and local communities from the risks posed by COVID-19.

The agreement covers a variety of critical topics and health and safety expectations and requirements, including agreeing to participate in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing throughout the semester, isolate or quarantine if needed, wear face masks and social distance on campus, adhere to travel policies, get a flu vaccination when available, and more. The compact also covers the potential consequences for failing to abide by the compact in ways that risk others’ health and safety, such as through the student conduct process. Students who are not able to sustain these commitments throughout the semester may forfeit their ability to continue with on-campus activities, classes and living.

For more information about the compact, additional FAQs are available on the Student Affairs website.

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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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Although in-person dining will be available, it will be limited throughout the fall semester, with tables physically distanced and chairs removed in order to promote a safer eating environment for diners and workers in accordance with federal, state and local health and safety guidelines. Residential Dining has put in place enhanced protocols including — but not limited to — the use of masks by all guests and staff; increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and restrooms using an EPA-approved disinfectant; additional hand sanitizer stations; installation of Plexiglas in key areas; elimination of self-service options (such as beverages, condiments, etc.); and self-swipe card payments. All items will be served in disposable containers with pre-packaged silverware, condiments and beverages.

Students will actually see more choices and more service styles available than have been offered in previous years. This includes a new mobile ordering and pickup option, and Scan N’ Go convenience store shopping and payment at select locations.

Penn State will also be offering additional seating outdoors at University Park campus and other campuses.

Additional information on Residential Dining’s plans for fall can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Throughout the pandemic, Penn State has been working with local community leaders and stakeholders, both in the State College area and in neighboring communities across the commonwealth, to partner on strategies to limit the local impacts of COVID-19 through collaborative efforts informed by health and science. To allow in-residence instruction and activities to continue and to uphold the health and safety of campus and local communities, students will be urged to take personal responsibility and follow health guidelines, including wearing masks, adhering to physical distancing practices, washing hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. In addition to providing education and support directly to students, fraternities and other student organizations, Penn State will coordinate with local government officials, landlords and local employers to share resources and to encourage students to follow expectations for off-campus behavior. In addition, University policies are under review due to these new circumstances, where we must rely on everyone to fulfill their social obligation to keep the community as healthy as possible. Based on the governor’s guidelines advising against large gatherings, and out of respect for the risks to the broader University community, large gatherings are discouraged. Indoor gatherings cannot exceed 25 individuals, and must adhere to masking and social distancing requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yes, social distancing will be 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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The University purchased 500,000 reusable masks to be distributed across all campuses. Cloth face masks will be provided to students as needed at the beginning of the semester and employees will receive face masks prior to returning to work. To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required in all University buildings, including in classrooms and labs, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible. Students and employees also should practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wear face masks within their local communities, in line with local and state requirements.

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University Health Services (UHS) is open and available to students. UHS is prescreening patients over the phone and only seeing patients with scheduled appointments.

Walk-ins are not currently being accepted. Students who are experiencing upper respiratory infection or flu-like illness should call the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463 prior to having an appointment scheduled. Patients who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be given scheduled appointment times and provided with further instructions.

For students who are unable to schedule an in-person appointment, UHS is offering telemedicine services via video or phone, when allowed by applicable state laws. For more information, call 814-863-0774 or contact the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463.

In addition, to reduce the potential for person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak, the UHS 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.

For additional information about available medical services, visit https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services.

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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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University Health Services has procedures in place for a variety of scenarios related to the coronavirus, including an outbreak on campus.

As is normal protocol, students who visit the Student Health Center are required to wear a mask, have their temperature taken, and asked about symptoms of illness prior to entering the Student Health Center. University Health Services screen all students over the phone who are seeking care for respiratory symptoms and fever so that patient appointments are scheduled for COVID-19 testing in accordance with CDC guidelines.

University Health Services will only see patients with a scheduled appointment and will not be accepting walk-ins. If you are experiencing upper respiratory infection or flu-like illness, you will need to call the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463 prior to having an appointment scheduled.

All other individuals with medical concerns can call the UHS appointment line at 814-863-0774.

As needed, Penn State clinicians also are wearing personal protective equipment, including masks, eye protection and gloves, to guard against any potential exposure.

Penn State is following CDC guidance on any suspected cases for specific evaluation and testing. Penn State will report any such confirmed cases to the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately.

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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 local physician’s office. Penn State urges faculty and staff to contact their health care provider if they have respiratory symptoms with a fever or have concerns related to COVID-19.

University Health Services provides telemedicine and in-person visits. All patients with medical concerns must be scheduled for an appointment either online or through the appointment phone line at 814-863-0774. If you are experiencing upper respiratory infection or flu-like illness, you will need to call the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463 prior to having an appointment scheduled. UHS will not be accommodating walk-ins.

According to the CDC:

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Everyone should wash their hands often.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact.

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker.
  • Continue to keep about six feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

Monitor Your Health

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

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The Student Health Center at University Park is equipped with negative-pressure rooms for patients who may present with COVID-19 symptoms and has a contingency plan to accommodate higher numbers of students who meet criteria for COVID-19. Penn State is following CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance on any suspected cases for specific evaluation and testing. Penn State will report any such cases to the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately.

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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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As part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring announced in a July 30 town hall, students selected for the required pre-arrival COVID-19 testing will receive an email to their @psu.edu address no later than Wednesday, Aug. 5, with an individualized registration link at Vault Health’s testing website for students residing in the United States, instructions on ordering a test kit, and directions about the testing process.

Students should order their test kit immediately upon receiving those instructions to allow enough time to receive results before coming to campus. The entire testing process will take at least seven to 10 days from the time students order their test kit. Once the test is taken, results can be expected generally within 48-72 hours after the sample kit arrives at the lab for processing.

After receiving the testing kit in the mail, a telehealth visit can begin. The test is performed through a secure video visit supervised by a Vault Health practitioner, eliminating the potential risk of exposure to others involved with in-person sample collection.

Test results will be sent to the students via a Vault Health email. A copy of the test result also will be sent to Penn State.

Frequently asked questions with detailed information are available on the Student Affairs website. Students who are selected for testing will receive a phone number to call for additional questions specific to the pre-arrival Vault Health testing process.

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

The University has launched a COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app as another resource in which all members of the University community are strongly encouraged to check symptoms they may be having and receive instructions for how to proceed. The app also will contain updated information about CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health resources and helpful information, such as dining arrangements.

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Any student who feels sick or who has symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19, should stay home and seek the advice of a medical professional as appropriate. Students who test positive for the virus are expected to isolate for 14 days, and if a student was not tested on campus, they should notify University Health Services or the local campus health professional about the results. Individuals who test positive will be interviewed to identify people with whom they had close contact (less than six feet of distance for 10 minutes or longer within two to four days before the onset of symptoms). These close contacts will be alerted, asked to quarantine for 14 days, and asked to be tested immediately.

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

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

Penn State will contact approximately 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. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back. Tests results will be shared with the student and University Health Services. Those who test positive should not travel to campus until they self-isolate for 14 days and are cleared to come to campus by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

In addition, 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 travel to campus until cleared by a health care provider in accordance with CDC guidance.

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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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The University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this fall semester. Before returning to Penn State, all undergraduate and graduate students at every campus location must:

—Read and sign the new required “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” that outlines expectations for the semester.

—Complete mandatory pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, if notified. Select students living in counties across the United States with high infection rates will be contacted by the University on an individual basis in August to complete mandatory testing.

—Self-quarantine for at least 7 days immediately prior to arrival. 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.

—Review Penn State and local requirements for masking and social distancing.

Students who are already living on campus or have moved in to off-campus housing should also complete these steps before the start of classes.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, students, employees and visitors are required to practice social physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, 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.

For more information about these pre-arrival requirements, read this story in Penn State News.

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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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Students selected for pre-arrival testing will be required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back.

Students who do not submit the pre-arrival test will not be permitted to return to campus. Students who do not comply with this requirement and return to campus anyway will be subject to the student conduct process.

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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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In preparation for the semester, students will be required to read and sign the “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” in LionPATH to acknowledge their responsibility and to agree to follow the rules outlined in the compact, as well as other directives from the University, to protect campus and local communities from the risks posed by COVID-19.

The agreement covers a variety of critical topics and health and safety expectations and requirements, including agreeing to participate in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing throughout the semester, isolate or quarantine if needed, wear face masks and social distance on campus, adhere to travel policies, get a flu vaccination when available, and more. The compact also covers the potential consequences for failing to abide by the compact in ways that risk others’ health and safety, such as through the student conduct process. Students who are not able to sustain these commitments throughout the semester may forfeit their ability to continue with on-campus activities, classes and living.

For more information about the compact, additional FAQs are available on the Student Affairs 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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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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As part of the University’s comprehensive multi-layered approach to testing, contact tracing and monitoring announced in a July 30 town hall, students selected for the required pre-arrival COVID-19 testing will receive an email to their @psu.edu address no later than Wednesday, Aug. 5, with an individualized registration link at Vault Health’s testing website for students residing in the United States, instructions on ordering a test kit, and directions about the testing process.

Students should order their test kit immediately upon receiving those instructions to allow enough time to receive results before coming to campus. The entire testing process will take at least seven to 10 days from the time students order their test kit. Once the test is taken, results can be expected generally within 48-72 hours after the sample kit arrives at the lab for processing.

After receiving the testing kit in the mail, a telehealth visit can begin. The test is performed through a secure video visit supervised by a Vault Health practitioner, eliminating the potential risk of exposure to others involved with in-person sample collection.

Test results will be sent to the students via a Vault Health email. A copy of the test result also will be sent to Penn State.

Frequently asked questions with detailed information are available on the Student Affairs website. Students who are selected for testing will receive a phone number to call for additional questions specific to the pre-arrival Vault Health testing process.

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The University has developed requirements for students to meet prior to returning to campus and local communities this fall semester. Before returning to Penn State, all undergraduate and graduate students at every campus location must:

—Read and sign the new required “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” that outlines expectations for the semester.

—Complete mandatory pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, if notified. Select students living in counties across the United States with high infection rates will be contacted by the University on an individual basis in August to complete mandatory testing.

—Self-quarantine for at least 7 days immediately prior to arrival. 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.

—Review Penn State and local requirements for masking and social distancing.

Students who are already living on campus or have moved in to off-campus housing should also complete these steps before the start of classes.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, students, employees and visitors are required to practice social physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, 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.

For more information about these pre-arrival requirements, read this story in Penn State News.

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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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Students selected for pre-arrival testing will be required to complete the test before returning to campus, moving into on-campus residence halls or beginning classes. Students selected for mandatory pre-arrival testing will be contacted by email in August with instructions regarding how to register for testing. They will then be mailed a kit with instructions for taking and mailing the test back.

Students who do not submit the pre-arrival test will not be permitted to return to campus. Students who do not comply with this requirement and return to campus anyway will be subject to the student conduct process.

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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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Yes. All 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. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health.

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. If you test positive at a location away from campus, including in a different state, you should immediately contact University Health Services.

For more information about self-quarantine 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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In preparation for the semester, students will be required to read and sign the “Penn State Coronavirus Compact” in LionPATH to acknowledge their responsibility and to agree to follow the rules outlined in the compact, as well as other directives from the University, to protect campus and local communities from the risks posed by COVID-19.

The agreement covers a variety of critical topics and health and safety expectations and requirements, including agreeing to participate in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing throughout the semester, isolate or quarantine if needed, wear face masks and social distance on campus, adhere to travel policies, get a flu vaccination when available, and more. The compact also covers the potential consequences for failing to abide by the compact in ways that risk others’ health and safety, such as through the student conduct process. Students who are not able to sustain these commitments throughout the semester may forfeit their ability to continue with on-campus activities, classes and living.

For more information about the compact, additional FAQs are available on the Student Affairs website.

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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 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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The University purchased 500,000 reusable masks to be distributed across all campuses. Cloth face masks will be provided to students as needed at the beginning of the semester and employees will receive face masks prior to returning to work. To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and social distancing will be required in all University buildings, including in classrooms and labs, as well as outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible. Students and employees also should practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings and wear face masks within their local communities, in line with local and state requirements.

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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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What are Penn State’s plans for tuition in the 2020-21 academic year? (UPDATED 7/17)

Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has frozen tuition rates for all students, including in-state and out-of-state students, University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year. This marks the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students. You can learn more in this Penn State News article.

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Because of the economic hardships facing Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has frozen in-state and out-of-state tuition rates University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year, marking the third consecutive year that Penn State has held tuition rates flat for Pennsylvania resident students.

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

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

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

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

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

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As Pennsylvania’s land-grant institution, the University recognizes the sustained financial hardship the global pandemic is putting on Pennsylvania families, and families everywhere, and is adjusting summer tuition in an effort to lessen that impact on our students. Students will receive the same, high-quality Penn State education they have come to expect, delivered virtually, and will continue to make progress toward their desired Penn State credential. Additional details are available on Penn State News.

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The University is adjusting in-state and out-of-state tuition for the summer sessions in light of the persistent financial strain the pandemic is causing across Pennsylvania and the country. As Pennsylvania’s land-grant institution, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania continues to subsidize the true cost of tuition for Pennsylvania residents.

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

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Are there any on-campus spaces available at University Park for students to use for remote class sessions?

The University has approximately 45 designated Remote Learning Rooms at University Park for students to use to view their remote classes individually or together in small groups, while social distancing and wearing masks, this fall. These spaces are smaller general purpose classrooms that have not been scheduled for classes because social distancing (due to COVID-19) did not permit for the necessary occupancy. So these rooms are free for this use. In addition to regular student spaces on campus that have had seating adjusted for social distancing, these rooms are open for use during normal building hours and have clear signage indicating that they are intended for access for remote classes. Students will need to bring their own devices. Room locations and capacity are available by selecting the “Remote Learning Rooms” option on the campus map a map.psu.edu.

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Penn State computer labs will be reopening for the fall 2020 semester. Social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place in accordance with CDC recommendations. It may be necessary to reduce computer availability and adjust hours of operation to accommodate social distancing and the necessary cleaning and disinfecting procedures. The University will monitor and evaluate cleaning protocols for these areas and adjust as needed.

Students and faculty may also access University computer lab software remotely via WebLabs. Students with unmet technology needs should contact Penn State IT at 814-865-HELP (4357) or ITservicedesk@psu.edu for individual arrangements.

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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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University Libraries’ COVID-19 information page details the options for returns of various types of library materials across the University. Additional information is available in this Penn State News article.

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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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University Health Services (UHS) is open and available to students. UHS is prescreening patients over the phone and only seeing patients with scheduled appointments.

Walk-ins are not currently being accepted. Students who are experiencing upper respiratory infection or flu-like illness should call the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463 prior to having an appointment scheduled. Patients who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be given scheduled appointment times and provided with further instructions.

For students who are unable to schedule an in-person appointment, UHS is offering telemedicine services via video or phone, when allowed by applicable state laws. For more information, call 814-863-0774 or contact the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463.

In addition, to reduce the potential for person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak, the UHS 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.

For additional information about available medical services, visit https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services.

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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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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 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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Current students

Students who are in need of course accommodations are encouraged to contact Student Disability Resources by calling 814-863-1807 or emailing edaccessibility@psu.edu. Staff are available for virtual appointments and can explore accommodation needs specific to the remote environment.

New students

Student Disability Resources welcomes contact from incoming students who are interested in registering for services. Staff are available for virtual appointments and can answer any questions about the registration process.

Incoming students are encouraged to complete their registration over the summer prior to the start of the fall semester. Students can learn more about registering for services by calling 814-863-1807, emailing edaccessibility@psu.edu, or reviewing information at http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/applying-for-services.

Penn State has a disability services office at every Penn State campus that provides accommodations and services for students with disabilities. Incoming students should contact the disability coordinator at the campus where they will be enrolled.

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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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University Health Services (UHS) is open and available to students. UHS is prescreening patients over the phone and only seeing patients with scheduled appointments.

Walk-ins are not currently being accepted. Students who are experiencing upper respiratory infection or flu-like illness should call the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463 prior to having an appointment scheduled. Patients who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be given scheduled appointment times and provided with further instructions.

For students who are unable to schedule an in-person appointment, UHS is offering telemedicine services via video or phone, when allowed by applicable state laws. For more information, call 814-863-0774 or contact the UHS Advice Nurse line at 814-863-4463.

In addition, to reduce the potential for person-to-person contact during the coronavirus outbreak, the UHS 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.

For additional information about available medical services, visit https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/health-wellness/medical-services.

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We know there are many students who are experiencing financial stress. The University has worked to adjust the pre-existing Student Emergency Fund to meet the growing needs of our student community during this pandemic crisis by making this a deliberate part of the University’s fundraising efforts. Students who are in need should reach out to the Student Care and Advocacy Office, which has increased its staffing to meet the influx of applications and help evaluate and assist students in the most dire situations. Additional resources for students, as well as faculty and staff, are listed at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/resources.

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The Office of Student Care and Advocacy and Counseling & Psychological Services are two resources that stand ready to support any student requiring attention to immediate financial or academic issues or counseling needs arising from the many changes and uncertainties caused by the global coronavirus outbreak.

Student Care and Advocacy
studentaffairs.psu.edu/studentcare
814-863-2020
StudentCare@psu.edu


Counseling & Psychological Services
studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling
814-863-0395
24-hour Crisis Line: 1-877-229-6400
Commonwealth Campus Counseling Services

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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Yes. To provide support to students from a distance during this critical time, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) remains open and is continuing to offer a range of services, including same-day phone support, individual counseling sessions, a new You@PSU self-help portal, and daily virtual LifeHacks sessions for students.

CAPS is providing telephone-based services to all students, as well as offering video-based counseling for students who reside in states that permit tele-counseling over state lines.

To get support, University Park students can call CAPS at 814-863-0395 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and students at Commonwealth Campuses can contact the CAPS office at their campus location. In addition, 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 all students who are in crisis or need support.

While the logistics of providing counseling and therapy to students have changed during the response to this global pandemic, CAPS is a phone call away regardless of where a student is located, and CAPS continues to work through state-by-state regulations for providing services.

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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Will LEAP and New Student Orientation (NSO) programming continue remotely?

Yes. LEAP and NSO are critically important to our new first-year and transfer students’ transition to Penn State. With the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and in the interest of your health and safety, Penn State has announced that new student orientation and LEAP will be held virtually for summer 2020.

For orientation, students can begin making reservations the week of April 20 and will be able to select a date to begin their virtual orientation experience based upon their starting semester, campus of enrollment, and college of enrollment. Summer Orientation will take place in June and July for first-year, transfer and international students, and will involve a mix of real-time and self-paced learning. Students will have the opportunity to meet with an academic adviser to discuss their academic plans; register for courses; gain access to critical Penn State systems, including LionPATH; and begin to make connections with fellow students.

Read this story for additional information and resources related to orientation.

Penn State’s LEAP program, designed to help first-year students at University Park to get a head start in the summer before their first fall semester, will be offered virtually, with both asynchronous online and synchronous remote course offerings. The virtual LEAP program will replicate the residential model with two small, cohort-based courses as well as out-of-class programming and peer-mentoring to help students successfully transition to Penn State. The course portfolio for incoming students will consist primarily of general education courses, as these are open to students in all majors and allows all students to begin progress toward their degrees.

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What does this mean for international students, immunocompromised or at-risk students, or others who are unable to be on campus this fall?

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

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

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

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

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

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

For additional information and answers to frequently asked questions for international students, please visit https://global.psu.edu/covidintlfaq#.

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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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Penn State values the diversity of its international population and welcomes students from across the globe. We will continue to monitor any international travel restrictions and must adhere to the decisions made by the U.S. government. The higher education organizations to which Penn State belongs have all been in contact with the federal government seeking guidance, clarification and information on the status of our international students and scholars.

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When is summer commencement? 

The summer commencement ceremony will be held virtually at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15. Additional details are available in this Penn State News article.

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With the health and safety of participants and the community in mind, the summer commencement ceremony will be held virtually on Aug. 15 at https://summer2020.commencement.psu.edu/.

Additional details are available in this Penn State News article.

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Although Pennsylvania’s counties, including Centre County, are in the “green phase,” the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office has restricted indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to less than 250 people. As the health and safety of our community is our main priority, Penn State is following the guidance of the Department of Education, as well as health care experts and epidemiologists who recommend not congregating in large groups and social distancing as some of the best protocols for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Between the number of graduates and guests, summer commencement, even divided into multiple ceremonies, would far exceed these limits.

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The virtual ceremony will include elements of a traditional ceremony, including leadership remarks, conferral of degrees, and induction into the Penn State Alumni Association. Following the virtual ceremony, graduates, friends and families may explore additional digital content created for each college and the Commonwealth Campuses. The content on these pages is tailored more specifically to those communities of learning, including individual student recognition with shareable digital slides. 

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Penn State partners with a vendor to create the digital slides that will include each student’s name, degree, major and a professional voice talent recording of the student’s name. Students will not be responsible for creating their own slide. Summer graduates received an email in June from graduation@psu.edu via our vendor, MarchingOrder, with more details on the digital slides.

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Included within the email to be sent to students on June 24 will be instructions for those who do not wish to have a slide included.

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No, providing information for the digital slide and viewing the virtual ceremony does not preclude a student from participating in a later, in-person celebration on campus to recognize the Class of 2020.

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While we certainly hope members of the Class of 2020 and their families and friends tune in to the virtual ceremony, there is no requirement to do so. Penn State remains committed to inviting the Class of 2020 back to campus for in-person celebrations when public health guidelines permit this to occur.

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This recognition, in the form of digital slides, will include the student’s name, degree and major, with voice talent reading the student’s name aloud.

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Students, families and friends will be viewing the virtual ceremony online from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. It is not required that students wear a cap and gown while they watch the virtual ceremony. As a gift in recognition of achieving this milestone, Penn State will be sending graduates a cap and tassel. More information on this gift will be sent to graduates via email during the week of June 29.

We encourage graduates to post pictures of their in-home celebrations to social media platforms with the hashtag #PSUgrad.

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You may contact graduation@psu.edu.

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After all degree requirements are met, your diploma will be mailed to the diploma address (if applicable) or permanent address set in LionPATH. Additional diploma questions may be sent to registrar@psu.edu.

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The virtual ceremony provides an opportunity for all Penn State students — undergraduate and graduate, at all campus locations — who have filed intent to graduate in the summer of 2020, the opportunity to gather virtually as a University community for a timely celebration of their academic achievements.

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Although the venue is outside, we are still required to adhere to the public health guidelines, which currently limit large gatherings to 250 people or fewer. The number of graduates and their guests would far exceed this limit.

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Penn State is committed to holding in-person celebrations for the Class of 2020 when health guidelines permit, and the well-being of students and families is no longer in jeopardy due to COVID-19. We are exploring potential dates, logistics and activities for recognitions of the spring and summer graduates in the Class of 2020. We will continue to plan, with contingencies in place, given the uncertain nature of the pandemic.

Commencement marks a milestone in the life of students, and it is certainly a time for joy and celebration. We would not want to miss this moment in time to celebrate as a community.

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The virtual ceremony on Aug. 15 is a way, during this time of social distancing, to more immediately recognize the completion of our students’ academic experience and to mark this significant milestone in their lives. We view the virtual commencement as the first step in recognizing the Class of 2020. A virtual commencement also will allow those graduates who are unable to travel back to campus due to other circumstances, (e.g. employment, cost, family obligations) to take part and be recognized by our community.

The Class of 2020 deserves a just reward for the hard-earned academic accomplishments of its members. When social restrictions are lifted and medical experts determine we can move forward with an in-person event, Penn State will set a date for those who are interested and who have the ability to come back together in celebration.

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As part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s phased re-opening plan for Pennsylvania, counties in the “green phase” (including Centre County, where University Park is located) are required to limit indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to less than 250 people. Between graduates and their guests, the summer commencement ceremony would exceed these limits. While move-in weekend will attract a large number of students and families to campus, the logistics are being considered with all of the measures of public health and safety guidelines in mind, to limit the number of people congregating in a single area at one time.

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There will be in-person commencement celebrations, as this is as much a priority for us as we know it is for our students. The date, however, has not yet been determined. The ongoing pandemic is a fluid situation, and we need to continue to monitor public health guidelines. Once a date is set, that will be communicated via email, Penn State News, and Penn State’s social media channels.

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At this time, even in the “green phase” of Gov. Tom Wolf’s re-opening plan for Pennsylvania, indoor gatherings are restricted to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to less than 250 people. The caution we are taking in returning to campus is based on guidance from the commonwealth, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health care experts. Normal fall commencement activities generally involve around 11,000 students and their families. There are far too many unknowns about the potential path of the COVID-19 pandemic to plan at this time for such an on-campus event.

As we continue to monitor public health guidelines and recommendations for large gatherings into the fall, we will make a determination on the format for the fall commencement ceremony in the months ahead, all based on the health and well-being of our community.

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