Student Expectations

The health and safety of our campus community is of utmost importance.

Penn State is committed to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and has put into place student requirements and guidelines, including testing, quarantine and isolation, and contact tracing, as well as University-wide guidelines for indoor masking in campus buildings.

Every member of our campus community must also do their part to protect others and limit the spread of COVID-19, on and off our campuses. You are expected to review campus and local municipality policies and procedures and abide by the clearly outlined expectations and responsibilities of members of the campus community.

We are aware of the anxieties and uncertainties members of our community are experiencing and feel it is important that students and families understand there is COVID-19 risk, everywhere in our daily lives, and to reinforce the importance of following these mandatory public health guidelines. We take seriously our collective commitment to community safety. Noncompliance of the expected student behaviors could include sanctions ranging from warnings, to removal of campus housing, to suspension.

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Student expectations

Penn State students who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 and those who have not shared with the University that they are fully vaccinated will be required to test weekly for COVID-19 throughout the fall semester, or until they share with the University that they have been fully vaccinated.

Students who fail to test by the weekly deadline will receive an email with a warning that the student will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and be placed under a registration hold, which prohibits future course registration, if they fail to test within the required time window a second time.

Students who fail to test within the required window a second time during the fall semester will immediately be placed under a registration hold and will be referred to Student Conduct. More information on registration holds is available online.

Students who fail to test a third time within the required window during the semester will immediately be placed on interim suspension. The student’s instructors will be notified of the interim suspension and the student will not be permitted to enter any campus building or participate in any class, activity or program of the University, including Penn State football games. In addition, students living on campus who are placed on interim suspension must vacate their residence hall. The interim suspension will be lifted if the student gets tested; however, the Student Conduct process will continue.

There will be additional accountability for students who continue to disregard their testing obligations after their third instance of noncompliance. At the conclusion of a formal student conduct process, the student may face consequences up to and including immediate suspension from the University.

Additional details about required testing and consequences for noncompliance can be found on the Testing and Support page.

The University’s fall COVID-19 measures are intended to support the well-being of the Penn State community given the current COVID-19 outlook and rising levels of the more virulent Delta variant across the country and in Pennsylvania. This fall semester, students, faculty and staff will be required to follow health and safety measures, including for masking and COVID-19 testing.

Students and employees with a documented need can submit an application for a medical or religious waiver; however, there are rare instances in which an application for an exemption will be granted by the University. Individuals who previously had COVID-19 are not exempt from health measures such as required masking and COVID-19 testing. Review of applications may take up to a week following submission. While requests are being reviewed, students and employees must continue to comply with all University measures.

For medical exemptions, students with a documented need can apply for an exemption by contacting UHS-HIM@psu.edu. Students will be asked to upload supporting documentation provided by their treating medical provider to myUHS. Faculty and staff with a documented medical need can contact Penn State Occupational Medicine to begin the process. For religious exemptions, students and employees can contact the Affirmative Action Office at aao@psu.edu to request an exemption on religious grounds.

Effective immediately (Aug. 4), all students, faculty, staff and visitors — including those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated — are required to wear masks indoors at all campuses.

In alignment with CDC guidance, community members will be required to wear masks indoors, including in all classrooms — regardless of size — as well as in meeting rooms, common areas in residence halls, and at any indoor events. All individuals on campus will be permitted to eat in designated food service areas, and students living in residence halls will not be required to wear a mask in their living space. In addition, employees with individual offices are not required to wear a mask in their personal office. Additional guidance regarding masking in offices is available here. All individuals must wear a face mask while using public transportation and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.

At this time, all on-campus activities will continue as regularly scheduled with required indoor masking in place. This shift to masking does not change the return-to-work process for faculty and staff. The new measure applies to all Penn State campuses except the College of Medicine, which has already implemented specific guidance for its community.

Students, faculty, staff members and visitors should plan to wear masks indoors on campus until the current COVID-19 surge subsides; the University will provide an update when masking is no longer required.

All students — living both on and off campus — who are unvaccinated or do not submit confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination to the University will be required to test for COVID-19 weekly throughout the fall semester or until they share with the University that they have been fully vaccinated. Students at University Park, Commonwealth Campuses and Dickinson Law can upload their vaccination records through myUHS.

Learn more about Penn State’s fall testing plans and available testing options on the Testing and Support page and in this Penn State News story.

With the University providing a fully in-person experience this fall, most courses will not have a standing remote participation option. 

Students who test positive and need to enter isolation, as well as students who need to quarantine because of a possible exposure to COVID-19, will be encouraged to reach out to their course faculty. While students will be expected to contact their instructors and make every effort to work with the instructor to complete the work and stay on track, faculty are encouraged to work with students to the extent possible, given the challenging circumstances. Additionally, faculty should receive a message from Student Support Services whenever a student must be absent from class to quarantine or isolate. Academic advisers will also be alerted when one of their advisees must miss classes due to quarantine or isolation and students are encouraged to reach out to their advisers for assistance. Student Affairs will be providing support to these students and may be in touch with faculty to assist with the coordination necessary to encourage continued academic progress for these students. For students who are unable to attend class because of quarantine or isolation requirements, faculty have many options for meeting their needs.

Per University Faculty Senate policy 42-27, instructors should work with students to provide, within reason, an opportunity to make up work that they have missed, recognizing that not all work can be made up. Many of the tools that have been used during the last year may assist in helping students continue learning while temporarily absent. Providing live lecture-streaming or recorded lectures, though not required, can be useful in supporting absent students; these are also great examples of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in that they can support a variety of students beyond those who are absent (e.g., English language learners, those with undisclosed learning disabilities, etc.). It is important to emphasize that while the creation of these materials is good practice, they should be temporary and not used to provide fully remote instruction to students for an entire semester, as it creates reporting and regulatory issues, especially for international students.

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