Health Guidelines

Updated 6/28: Current masking guidance

At this time, masking outdoors and physical distancing are not required. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear face masks indoors, however, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are expected to wear face masks inside University buildings. Additionally, all individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation, in accordance with CDC guidance, and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

Individuals are expected to review campus policies and procedures and local municipal ordinances related to COVID-19 mitigation. Per CDC guidance, individual municipalities, businesses and other organizations may set their own masking and physical distancing expectations.

In addition to personal actions, Penn State has implemented thorough testing and contact tracing programs as part of its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at its campuses and neighboring local communities.

Coronavirus vaccine

Penn State is not currently a distribution point for the coronavirus vaccine. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has more information on where the public can obtain a vaccine shot locally. Visit the vaccine information page to learn more.

Masking, distancing and gatherings

Masking

At this time, masking outdoors and physical distancing are not required. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear face masks indoors, however, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are expected to wear face masks inside University buildings. Additionally, all individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation, in accordance with CDC guidance, and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

Mask types: Multi-layer cloth masks or procedure masks are the preferred type of face covering; all face coverings must cover the nose and chin. Though not required by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Penn State, the CDC notes that two masks may be worn: a disposable mask beneath a reusable cloth mask. Masks with valves are not acceptable, and there is evidence that single-layer face coverings, including many types of neck gaiters, are not as effective in stopping respiratory droplets as multi-layer face coverings.

Gatherings

All Penn Staters should continue to be vigilant in protecting the community from COVID-19. While the threat may feel distant with fewer restrictions and the ability for vaccinated individuals to freely gather together, it is not gone. Many of the variants, particularly the highly transmissible Delta variant, continue to pose a very serious threat to the unvaccinated in the United States, even to those of a younger age. It is important to be mindful of your activities and personal health when returning to campus life, including social activities. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should not engage in activities with others and seek proper health advice and care.

Individuals are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated for COVID-19. You can find a vaccine provider near you on Vaccines.gov. Having a significant portion of our campus community vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and to guard against the spread of COVID-19 on Penn State campuses in the fall.

Students, faculty and staff who are vaccinated but have not yet shared their vaccination status with the University are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Information on how to upload your vaccine status can be found on the Vaccine Information webpage.

What to do if you feel sick

Students

If you’re feeling ill or are worried you might have been exposed to COVID-19, we are here to support you. You are urged to get tested and follow these steps:

Step 1: If you feel sick, isolate yourself immediately.

Step 2: Contact University Health Services or your campus health care provider.

Step 3: If your provider recommends treatment, when traveling to the health care facility:


  • Avoid contact with other people as much as possible.

  • Do not use public transportation.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (do not use your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

  • Wear a mask at all times.

Step 4: Pack for quarantine/isolation. After your exam, you may be sent to quarantine/isolation for up to 10 days. You should pack what you need for your personal and academic needs, and bring them with you.

Step 5: Answer the call from contact tracing. Participate fully in contact tracing phone call — help to identify anyone else who may have been exposed.

Faculty and Staff

Any faculty and staff member who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and call their health care provider to arrange for a symptomatic test, or schedule an appointment at a publicly available COVID-19 testing site.

You also should contact your supervisor, who will contact Occupational Medicine on your behalf. Occupational Medicine will then contact you to determine if you have had close contact with others affiliated with the University.

For faculty and staff members who are concerned about exposure to the coronavirus and are working on campus, Penn State is offering voluntary asymptomatic testing.

Additional information for employees, including testing and screening, frequently asked questions and other resources can be found on the Penn State Human Resources COVID-19 page.

Health guidelines

​As of June 28, masks are optional inside University buildings for individuals who are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks indoors at all times. If you want someone to wear a mask when interacting with you in your private office, you can request they do so, but cannot require it. It is important to note that those who are visiting designated health care environments must continue to wear masks indoors and maintain physical distancing regardless of vaccination status.

In individual offices, staff members may post this sign if they wish to request that people entering wear a mask.

Yes, unvaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive or suspected of having COVID-19 must quarantine for 7 to 10 days. They must quarantine for 10 days without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, or after seven days with a negative test on or after day five of quarantine and if they have no symptoms.

No. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated individuals do not have to be tested or quarantine but should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms develop, employees should contact their personal health care provider.

Employees can find detailed information and guidance on the Health Guidelines, Contact Tracing, and Quarantine and Isolation pages.

At this time, masking outdoors and physical distancing are not required. Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear face masks indoors, however, individuals who are not fully vaccinated are expected to wear face masks inside University buildings. Additionally, all individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation, in accordance with CDC guidance, and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

Additional information about masking and physical distancing is available on the Health Guidelines page.

Learn more

Vaccine information

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Travel guidelines

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Students and families

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Faculty and staff

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