Students and Families

Penn State classes at all campus locations continue in their regularly scheduled mode of instruction for the spring 2021 semester. In addition to the information below, please review other pages on this site to learn more about Penn State’s plans for this semester, find comprehensive information about testing and support, and review University health guidelines.

Students and families

Due to University efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for the safety of current students, faculty and staff, Penn State is only offering a limited number of on-campus tours at this time. Campus visits require pre-registration, are subject to availability, and all COVID-19 safety protocols must be followed. Click here to learn more about visit opportunities for each campus. At University Park, limited on-campus tours are being offered in May and June. Tours of University Park will be available in July and August, but they are not available for registration at this time.

Prospective and admitted students who are currently unable to visit in person are encouraged to experience Penn State online by registering for virtual visits and appointments, watching presentations, taking virtual tours, connecting with their campus of interest, and more.

Individual questions about the admissions process can be directed to or 1-814-865-5471. For additional information and answers to frequently asked questions, visit Undergraduate Admissions online.

At this time, the University continues to strongly encourage groups to host virtual meetings and events whenever possible.

All meetings, events and gatherings with more than 10 participants require University approval. Meetings, events and gatherings with 10 or fewer total participants — including all of those who are present, such as employees working at the event — do not need prior permission. Regardless of event size, face masks and physical distancing continue to be required for all, and occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor venues must be followed.

For Penn State units and organizations seeking to host an event or gathering, approval must be granted from the unit executive. For student organizations and student-run events, permission will need to be sought by the Office of Student Activities at the University Park campus, or the campus chancellor’s office at Commonwealth Campuses.

More information about the approval process is available here.

Event organizers also must develop and submit a detailed program safety plan, which includes:

— A communications plan for attendees and participants that outlines all safety protocols and expectations.

— A pre-event COVID-19 screening process for participants and attendees.

— Details on how the program will disseminate specific COVID-19 spread and prevention information.

— How the event will adhere to all local and state COVID-19 guidelines, as well as Penn State requirements.

— Safety logistics, including cleaning and disinfecting high-contact surfaces; distribution of hand-sanitizer stations and other personal protective equipment and supplies; foot-traffic flow; transportation considerations; and adherence to state and local occupancy limits.

The University has created the following planning resources, including guidance for safely holding events and gatherings, the approval process for events and gatherings, and acknowledgement documents for organizers and attendees:

Events and gathering guidance

Approval process for events and gatherings

Penn State COVID acknowledgements

COVID acknowledgements for third-party organizations

Organizers must follow all existing COVID-19 safety procedures as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health, the University’s COVID-19 website and Penn State’s Return to Work website.

For now, we are strongly encouraging everyone in our community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and a dose is available. We are continuing to monitor developments and vaccine availability carefully and may alter our approach in the future if it is determined to be in the best interest of our community or called for by public policy. More information will be forthcoming through the Pennsylvania Department of Health (which is overseeing the vaccine distribution) and the University, and as we weigh the pandemic’s continuing impact on our communities. To learn more, visit the Vaccine Information page.

Penn State is hosting in-person spring 2021 commencement ceremonies, in accordance with health and safety guidelines, to recognize the many accomplishments of our graduates. The commencement ceremonies for University Park are scheduled for May 7-9 in Beaver Stadium. A detailed schedule of ceremonies, by college, is available on Penn State’s commencement website.

Undergraduate students and graduate students in the Graduate School at University Park and World Campus who filed their intent to graduate in spring 2021 will receive information to attend the commencement ceremony for their assigned college. To support appropriate physical distancing during the ceremonies, each graduate can invite up to two guests. Tickets will be required for all graduates and guests to attend the ceremony. Specific information on obtaining tickets will be provided directly to graduates.

Graduates, friends and family members who are unable or prefer to not attend in person also can join a University-wide virtual ceremony on May 9 at 6 p.m. at and/or tune in to a livestream of their college’s in-person ceremony. Please be sure your family and friends know the date and time of the ceremony you’re attending.

For specific information about guest limits, tickets, arrival times, seating and more, visit the University Park commencement website and commencement FAQs. If you have additional commencement-related questions, email

Virtual ceremonies served as a first step in recognizing the academic achievements of members of the class of 2020 during this global pandemic. In partnership with the Penn State Alumni Association and in consultation with alumni representatives, the University is planning for a special weekend in spring 2022 to celebrate the members of the class of 2020. More information and a specific date will be forthcoming as the University continues to develop plans to welcome recent graduates and their families back to campuses next spring with a variety of activities and events. In addition, Commonwealth Campuses will communicate specific plans for their alumni.

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