Housing and Dining

Housing and Dining

After arriving and within the first two weeks of in-person learning (Feb. 15 to Feb. 26), all students are required to undergo a second round of COVID testing. This second round is in addition to the required initial test students took before returning to campus. More about the second round of tests can be found on this page about Required Universal Re-Testing.

Hybrid learning, including in-person instruction, has resumed at Penn State for the spring 2021 semester. The University will continue to update this page with important information related to housing and dining University-wide. Visit Penn State’s Housing, Food Services and Residence Life website for links to related information and resources for all campuses.

Arrival specifics and move-in dates for the upcoming summer and fall 2021 academic semesters will be communicated directly to students closer to the start of the semesters.

Health and Safety

While on campus, students are reminded that they must wear face masks at all times, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings in order to mitigate the potential spread of the coronavirus. Review Penn State's health guidelines to learn more.

Penn State’s ongoing its health and safety measures for students, staff, faculty and visitors include extensive, daily cleaning of high-touch surface areas, classrooms, labs, offices, restrooms and other common spaces across the University.

Seating has been substantially reduced in common areas and lounges to accommodate physical distancing. Occupancy in elevators is limited with individuals encouraged to use the stairs.

Guest Policy

Students are reminded that, due to COVID safety rules, guests from other residence halls are not permitted, and they may not visit other residence halls. In addition, visitors from other areas, universities, regions, etc. also are not permitted in any residence hall. This includes parents and family members. Violations of these expectations will be considered a serious violation.

Billing

Penn State announced in early January adjusted room and board rates for the spring 2021 semester, reflecting the University’s decision to delay the start of in-person classes until Feb. 15. The revised billing reflects the adjustment to the original spring rates approved in February 2020. Learn more about room and board rates.

Dining

The University continues to make on-campus dining as safe and convenient as possible and is offering mobile ordering through the Penn State Eats app and carryout options. To enhance safety, dining commons are offering limited self-serve options, and menu selections have been streamlined to increase speed of service.

Capacity in campus dining facilities is limited, with seating and tables removed to promote physical distancing, in accordance with governmental mandates and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Masking and physical distancing guidelines must be observed, along with posted occupancy restrictions. Eating is only permitted in posted designated areas in dining commons buildings, residence halls and in a student’s residence hall room.

Residence Life

Throughout the pandemic, Penn State Residence Life remains committed to providing on-campus students a safe, comfortable, secure and nurturing environment to live and learn in as students pursue their academic studies and personal growth.

Residence Life has significantly modified its programming and interactions with students to minimize risks associated with transmission of the virus. Mask wearing and physical distancing requirements in residence halls will be strictly enforced.

Residence Life student and professional staff members continue to live in the community and are available 24/7 to provide information and resources, offer help and support, plan social and educational activities, and address residents’ concerns. Residence Life is dedicated to fostering communities that are inclusive, engaging and caring.

Housing and dining

The University will continue to follow all virus mitigation guidelines from local, state and federal government and public health authorities. During the summer semester, residence hall occupancy will continue to be limited to two occupants per room, and to the extent possible, single rooms will be provided to students who are immunocompromised or at higher health risk. Information on residence halls and the arrival schedule for the fall semester will be communicated closer to the fall semester.

To help keep students and employees healthy, the Office of Physical Plant is taking a multi-pronged approach to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in classrooms, labs, offices, restrooms, residence halls and other indoor spaces. This includes increased cleaning and disinfecting of buildings and high-touch surfaces. All desks, podiums, doorknobs, elevators, restrooms and other high-touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected daily with EPA-approved disinfectants.

OPP also has placed additional hand-sanitizing stations at building entrances and other common areas, installed plexiglass shields where warranted in areas of close personal contact, increased signage and reminders of health and safety requirements, and reduced occupancy limits for 1,700 instructional spaces.

In addition, units have 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. 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.

From a building systems perspective, OPP has carefully evaluated all building mechanical and life safety systems to determine that they are fully functional and ready for occupancy, meeting or exceeding all of the building systems requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and undertaking intensive corrective and preventive maintenance for every building at every campus.

Violations of the University’s expectations for students or local or state laws related to COVID-19 will typically result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). Specific policy guidance has been posted to the Office of Student Conduct website.

For violations in the residence halls, OSC will enact its conduct process, and students who are determined to be responsible for a violation will be subject to sanctions up to and including loss of housing or separation from the University. It is important to note that any gathering exceeding residence hall restrictions (typically only two guests allowed per room) will be considered to be a serious violation and will likely result in a loss of housing, at minimum. Students should also be aware that guests from other residence halls are not permitted, and they may not visit other residence halls. In addition, as stated previously, visitors from other areas, universities, regions, etc. also are not permitted in the residence halls. This includes parents and family members. Violations of these expectations will be considered a serious violation.

For violations on or off campus, OSC will enact its conduct process, and students who are determined to be responsible for a violation will be subject to sanctions, up to and including separation from the University. It is important to note that any large gathering in violation of local ordinances will be considered a serious violation and will likely result in a suspension.

We are dedicated to supporting students who are immunocompromised or at-risk and helping them to identify and develop appropriate accommodations, for both on-campus housing and academic needs. Students in need of housing assistance can contact their campus’ Housing and Food Services. 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, there are flexible options for semester planning so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.

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 is limited, with seating and tables removed to promote physical distancing, in accordance with governmental mandates and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Masking and physical distancing guidelines must be observed, along with posted occupancy restrictions. Eating is only permitted in posted, designated areas in dining commons buildings, residence halls and in a student’s residence hall room.

b. Mobile ordering and carryout options have been expanded to reduce patron wait times.

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

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

Additional resources

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