Return Home

Now that departure testing has concluded and students are returning home to finish the fall 2020 semester remotely, Penn State is sharing the following resources and guidance to help with this transition and keep community members safe, connected and informed, no matter where they are.


A male student sits working at a laptop computer.

Remote learning

The remote learning portion of the fall 2020 semester begins following Thanksgiving break on Nov. 30 and continues through the last day of classes on Dec. 11. Finals week also will be held remotely from Dec. 14-18.

For students: Resources are available to help students with the transition to remote learning at keeplearning.psu.edu, including information on academic support, housing, technology, financial, wellness and more. Information also available on how students can engage with Penn State services remotely.

For faculty: Resources and tools are available at keepteaching.psu.edu to help faculty with the transition to remote instruction.

International students with questions or who need support can contact Global Programs by emailing DISSA-Adviser@psu.edu; visiting “iStart” and using the “submit a question” link; or by calling the Directorate of International Student & Scholar Advising at 814-865-6348 (option No. 2) and leaving your name, email and phone number.


A COVID-19 test kit from Vault Health sits on a table.

Virus testing

Mandatory weekly testing for all students remaining in residence halls: From Nov. 30 to Jan. 18, students who continue living in campus residence halls are required to have weekly COVID-19 testing. At University Park, the testing location will be at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. The testing locations at Altoona, Behrend and Harrisburg will be communicated directly to students. For students living on campus at other Penn State locations, the mandatory testing will be conducted through a Vault Health mail-in kit. All students living on Penn State campuses will receive a weekly email reminding them of this required testing.

University Park walk-up testing: Walk-up testing will be available at the Hintz Family Alumni Center for all students — living either on or off campus — and for employees listed in the University’s Return to Work database from noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Nov. 30 through Jan. 18. Regular use of the walk-up testing site is strongly encouraged for any student living off campus. There will be some exceptions to this availability when the dates fall on or near an actual holiday date. Prior to Nov. 30, employees in the Return to Work database at University Park can opt to receive a Vault Health mail-in kit for asymptomatic testing.

Walk-up testing at other Penn State campuses: At Penn State Altoona, Behrend and Harrisburg, walk-up testing will be available to all students, living on or off campus, from Nov. 30 to Jan. 18. Walk-up testing will be available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with hours varying by campus. Testing locations will be communicated directly to campus students. Voluntary opt-in testing via a Vault Health mail-in kit will be available for students living on and off campus at all other Penn State campuses, and for all employees listed in the Return to Work database.

Symptomatic on-demand testing: University Park students living on campus or in the local community who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to schedule testing appointments with University Health Services (UHS) via myUHS. UHS’s hours of operation after Nov. 20 are available here. Students living on or near other Penn State campuses should seek symptomatic testing via their campus’ health services or a local provider.

Surveillance testing: There will be no random surveillance testing for students and employees at all Penn State locations, except Hershey – due to their clinical rotations, after Nov. 20 through Jan. 18.

Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms while at home during the remote learning period should consult a local health care provider. If positive, students should self-isolate in accordance with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.


The entrance to Pollock Commons on Penn State's University Park campus.

Housing and food

Market Pollock at Pollock Commons will be open during the remote learning period from Nov. 23 through Dec. 19 to accommodate students remaining on campus at University Park. Hours of operation for Market Pollock Kitchen and the Market can be found online. Penn State Go mobile ordering will be active for Market Pollock convenience store orders only.

HUB Dining will be operating with reduced hours and menu availability.

Other Penn State locations will communicate directly with their on-campus students about dining hours and availability. Contact information for Housing and Food Services is available by campus.


Calendar

Nov. 20: In-person instruction ends

Nov. 21-29: Thanksgiving holiday break (no classes)

Nov. 30-Dec. 18: Remainder of semester, including finals, delivered remotely/online

Dec. 18: Last day of finals; semester ends

Dec. 19: Fall commencement (virtual format)

Jan. 19: First day of spring 2021 classes


A person holds a cellphone displaying the Penn State Facebook homepage.

Stay informed

Follow Penn State on social media: Keep up with the University on its official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and follow the social media channels for your college, campus or unit.

Penn State News and Penn State Today: Penn State’s official news website will continue to be updated regularly, and Penn State Today will continue to be sent to all students, faculty and staff members. Community members also can sign up to receive any of Penn State’s Headlines issues via email.

Virusinfo.psu.edu: The University’s dedicated coronavirus website contains the latest information on Penn State’s efforts to mitigate the pandemic.

Continue to check your Penn State email account and Canvas every day for important messages from faculty members and the University.

The COVID-19 Response Center continues to be available at 814-865-2121 for COVID-19-related questions. The call center’s hours during Thanksgiving break are as follows: Nov. 21: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Nov. 22: closed; Nov. 23-25: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 26: closed; Nov. 27-28: noon to 2 p.m.; and Nov. 29: closed.

Stay up to date with the latest state and federal COVID-19 guidelines. This includes an order issued by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levin effective Nov. 20 that requires individuals entering the commonwealth from another state or international location to have a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours old or to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania. Travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should also be heeded.


A person holds a cellphone displaying the Penn State Facebook homepage.

Stay connected

Socialize with peers through group messaging: Chat with classmates or study groups through Canvas or via group chat.

Join a student group: Penn State offers more than 1,000 student organizations that offer opportunities to meet new people and discover new passions.

Virtual get togethers: While health and safety guidance from local, state and federal officials advise limiting contact, students can continue to keep in touch via virtual hangouts.

Check out virtual events: Although courses have transitioned to remote learning, Penn State will continue to offer a number of virtual events, including performances, lectures, activities and museum exhibitions, all of which are publicized on Penn State News and Penn State Today.


Weights showing the Penn State logo line a rack in the IM Building.

Stay physically and mentally healthy

University Health Services at University Park will continue to be available to students living on campus or in the local community. UHS will be operating on a modified schedule during the week of Thanksgiving, and the 24/7 nurse advice line at 814-863-4463 will continue to operate as normal. The advice nurse line is available to students at all Penn State campuses. Students living on or near other Penn State campuses should seek care at their campus’ health services or a local provider.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): CAPS at University Park will continue to operate via normal business hours through Nov. 25, with limited coverage Nov. 26-29. To get started, call CAPS at 814-863-0395 to schedule a conversation or contact your campus’ counseling services. The Penn State Crisis Line remains available 24/7 to students at all campus at 877-229-6400 or by texting “LIONS” to 741741. CAPS also offers free virtual wellness resources that are available to all students.

Fitness and wellness: Discover the latest virtual fitness offerings offered through Campus Recreation, including fitness classes streamed live via Zoom and an extensive list of fitness videos on YouTube. Health Promotion and Wellness offers a variety of virtual health and wellness events, as well as free access to a dietitian for healthy eating strategies.

Holiday health: Continue to avoid large gatherings and follow all public health guidelines for masking and social distancing over the holidays. Follow all CDC guidance for holiday celebrations.


Pattee Library and Paterno Library East Entrance.

What’s open on campus

For those students who were unable to return home for the remote learning period, general purpose classrooms in Boucke, Hammond, Osmond, Thomas and Willard buildings will be open for access beginning Nov. 30 through the end of final exams. Students that remain on campus are welcome to use these classrooms to attend online classes, study and attend exams as needed. Social distancing and masking protocols must be followed. The schedule will be as follows:

  • Monday, Nov. 30, to Friday, Dec. 4: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 7, to Friday, Dec. 11: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, to Friday, Dec. 18: 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

All other Education and General Buildings will be locked/secured during this period of time, except for those individuals with card or key access. Faculty members who wish to continue teaching from a classroom after Nov. 20 must make arrangements in advance. Information on classroom use by faculty members during the remote learning period is available in this FAQ. Buildings that remain in use will continue to be cleaned in accordance with all Environmental Health and Safety guidelines.

At the Commonwealth Campuses, each campus will manage and communicate classroom availability directly to students and faculty.

HUB-Robeson Center: The HUB will remain open 24/7, with the exception of Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 23 through Jan. 4, when the facility will be closed for Thanksgiving and the winter break. HUB Dining will be operating with reduced hours and menu availability.

University Libraries: Penn State University Libraries will be offering adjusted availability and hours after Nov. 20.

Campus Recreation: The following University Park recreation facilities will remain open, except as noted below:

  • IM Building: closed Nov. 21, 26-27, and Dec. 12-TBD
  • Hepper Fitness Center: closed Nov. 22-TBD
  • McCoy Natatorium: closed Nov. 21, 26-27, and Dec. 12-TBD
  • Tennis Center: closed Nov. 21, Nov. 25-28, and Dec. 12-TBD
  • The schedules and availability of recreational facilities at the Commonwealth Campuses will be managed at the campus level.

Penn State Berkey Creamery: The Creamery is open from noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Nov. 27. Limited curbside pickup also available.

Campus transit:

  • Blue and White Loops, Green and Red Links: CATA Loop and Link service will be operating on a reduced service schedule beginning Nov. 23 with only Blue Loop and Red Link service. There will be no White Loop or Green Link service. Full service will resume on Jan. 16.
  • Campus shuttles: Campus shuttle service via College Avenue will operate with normal service Nov. 23-25, Nov. 30-Dec. 23 and Jan. 4-18. There will be no campus shuttle service via Beaver Avenue from Nov. 23 through Jan. 18. Full service for both routes will resume on Jan. 19.

Parking and parking decks: Normal parking regulations remain in effect and all parking decks remain accessible. Transportation Services has announced adjustments to some parking regulations at University Park campus, effective Nov. 23.

Latest FAQs

Read answers to our community’s most frequently asked questions.

The following provides information about the availability of campus and local transportation offerings. To support social distancing is strongly encouraged that transit services be used for essential trips only. Students, faculty and staff who are able are urged to walk or bike.

Blue and White Loops, Green and Red Links: CATA Loop and Link service will be operating on a reduced service schedule beginning Nov. 23 with only Blue Loop and Red Link service. There will be no White Loop or Green Link service. Full service will resume on Jan. 16.

Campus shuttles: Campus shuttle service via College Avenue will operate with normal service Nov. 23-25, Nov. 30-Dec. 23 and Jan. 4-18. There will be no campus shuttle service via Beaver Avenue from Nov. 23 through Jan. 18. Full service for both routes will resume on Jan. 19.

Full details about CATA service can be found on its website

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Campus buildings and classrooms: For those students who were unable to return home for the remote learning period, general purpose classrooms in Boucke, Hammond, Osmond, Thomas and Willard buildings will be open for access beginning Nov. 30 through the end of final exams. Students that remain on campus are welcome to use these classrooms to attend online classes, study and attend exams as needed. Social distancing and masking protocols must be followed. The schedule will be as follows:

Monday, Nov. 30, to Friday, Dec. 4: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 7, to Friday, Dec. 11: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 12, to Friday, Dec. 18: 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

All other Education and General Buildings will be locked/secured during this period of time, except for those individuals with card or key access. Faculty members who wish to continue teaching from a classroom after Nov. 20 must make arrangements in advance. Information on classroom use by faculty members during the remote learning period is available in this FAQ. Buildings that remain in use will continue to be cleaned in accordance with all Environmental Health and Safety guidelines.

At the Commonwealth Campuses, each campus will manage and communicate classroom availability directly to students and faculty.

Housing and Food Services: Market Pollock at Pollock Commons will be open during the remote learning period from Nov. 23 through Dec. 19 to accommodate students remaining on campus at University Park. Hours of operation for Market Pollock Kitchen and the Market can be found online. Penn State Go mobile ordering will be active for Market Pollock convenience store orders only. Other Penn State locations will communicate directly with their on-campus students about dining hours and availability. Contact information for Housing and Food Services is available by campus.

HUB-Robeson Center: The HUB will remain open 24/7, with the exception of Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 23 through Jan. 4, when the facility will be closed for Thanksgiving and the winter break. HUB Dining will be operating with reduced hours and menu availability.

University Libraries: Penn State University Libraries will be offering adjusted availability and hours after Nov. 20.

Libraries hours and locations at University Park

Libraries hours and locations at Commonwealth Campuses

University Health Services at University Park will continue to be available to students living on campus or in the local community. Use myUHS online to schedule an appointment. UHS will be operating on a modified schedule during the week of Thanksgiving, and the 24/7 nurse advice line at 814-863-4463 will continue to operate as normal. The advice nurse line is available to students at all Penn State campuses. Students living on or near other Penn State campuses should seek care at their campus’ health services or a local provider.

Campus Recreation: The following University Park recreation facilities will remain open, except as noted below:

IM Building: closed Nov. 21, 26-27, and Dec. 12-TBD

Hepper Fitness Center: closed Nov. 22-TBD

McCoy Natatorium: closed Nov. 21, 26-27, and Dec. 12-TBD

Tennis Center: closed Nov. 21, Nov. 25-28, and Dec. 12-TBD

— The schedules and availability of recreational facilities at the Commonwealth Campuses will be managed at the campus level.

Penn State Berkey Creamery: The Creamery is open from noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Nov. 27. Limited curbside pickup also available.

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For those students who were unable to return home for the remote learning period, general purpose classrooms in Boucke, Hammond, Osmond, Thomas and Willard buildings will be open for access beginning Nov. 30 through the end of final exams. Students that remain on campus are welcome to use these classrooms to attend online classes, study and attend exams as needed. Social distancing and masking protocols must be followed. The schedule will be as follows:

  • Monday, Nov. 30, to Friday, Dec. 4: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 7, to Friday, Dec. 11: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, to Friday, Dec. 18: 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

At the Commonwealth Campuses, each campus will manage and communicate classroom availability directly to students and faculty. 

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There will be no random surveillance testing for students and employees at all Penn State locations, except Hershey, between Nov. 30 and Jan. 18.

Penn State Hershey will continue random surveillance testing for students and employees due to the campus’ clinical focus. Students at Hershey will be required to submit to COVID-19 testing upon return from the Thanksgiving break, and classes will be fully remote during the first week before returning to in-person instruction.

Additional details about the status of the University’s surveillance testing program will be announced prior to the start of spring classes.

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University Park walk-up testing: Walk-up testing will be available at the Hintz Family Alumni Center for all students — living either on or off campus — and for employees listed in the University’s Return to Work database from noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Nov. 30 through Jan. 18. Regular use of the walk-up testing site is strongly encouraged for any student living off campus. Prior to Nov. 30, employees in the Return to Work database at University Park can opt to receive a Vault Health mail-in kit for asymptomatic testing.

Walk-up testing at other Penn State campuses: At Penn State Altoona, Behrend and Harrisburg, walk-up testing will be available to all students, living on or off campus, from Nov. 30 to Jan. 18. Walk-up testing will be available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with hours varying by campus. Testing locations will be communicated directly to campus students. Voluntary opt-in testing via a Vault Health mail-in kit will be available for students living on and off campus at all other Penn State campuses, and for all employees listed in the Return to Work database.

Please continue to be mindful of wearing a mask, physical distancing, and hand hygiene, as these are the best prevention measures to avoid contracting COVID-19.

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The University recommends students not travel internationally between Nov. 20 and the start of the spring semester as re-entry to the United States is not guaranteed. If you still intend to travel over the break, however, a travel signature is required to return. Additionally, we ask you to complete the “Travel Plans and Signature” signature request in iStart. An international student adviser will review your request along with your travel plans and contact you if there is a need to review your plans. You may also call 814-865-6348 (option #2).

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Penn State’s quarantine and isolation space at University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses will continue to be available after Nov. 20 for students who need to quarantine or isolate over the Thanksgiving break or after courses resume remotely on Nov. 30. This includes students who test positive for COVID-19 through the University’s voluntary departure testing process and will need to isolate prior to leaving campus, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The University will continue to notify close contacts of infected individuals after Nov. 20 in the interest of public health.

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Undergraduate and graduate students are permitted to continue working in labs if they are in town. Students may not request to remain in an on-campus residence hall solely for the purpose of working in a lab. Undergraduate students, graduate students, external visitors, and visiting scholars must receive prior approval from the relevant academic dean for them to continue on-campus research. Those who are already approved to work on campus do not need to be re-approved. All students and visitors must adhere to the standard operating procedures of the lab and be part of the person-count for square footage, scheduling, and any other relevant considerations. Instructors cannot and should not require undergraduate or graduate students to come to campus, and undergraduate and graduate students who conduct on-campus research must be included in the research reductions and approaches to de-densification.

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Classrooms will be available at Commonwealth Campuses after the shift to remote learning on Nov. 20, but hours and availability will differ from campus to campus. Campuses will be communicating directly to their students and faculty about classroom availability. Students can also use the Penn State Go mobile app to find available classrooms or visit a campus’ website for more information.

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Market Pollock at Pollock Commons will be open during the remote learning period from Nov. 23 through Dec. 19 to accommodate students remaining on campus at University Park. Hours of operation for Market Pollock Kitchen and the Market can be found online. Penn State Go mobile ordering will be active for Market Pollock convenience store orders only. In addition, HUB Dining will be operating with reduced hours and menu availability.

Other Penn State locations will communicate directly with their on-campus students about dining hours and availability. Contact information for Housing and Food Services is available by campus.

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