Student Expectations

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

Penn State has committed to meeting and exceeding the guidance of health experts for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and has put into place student requirements and guidelines, including testing, quarantine and isolation, and contact tracing; and University-wide health guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings and practicing hand and cough hygiene.

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. Prior to arrival, 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 in the COVID-19 Compact.

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. Non-compliance of the expected student behaviors could include sanctions ranging from warnings, to removal of campus housing, to suspension.

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Student expectations

As Penn State’s priority is the health and well-being of its students, employees and local communities, the University is preparing for a variety of scenarios if circumstances or guidance from the government and public health authorities requires a reassessment of the plan before the start of the summer and/or fall semesters. Expanded in-person learning is contingent on the latest health and safety guidelines, including physical distancing requirements, as they are adjusted over the summer and fall in response to the state of the pandemic.

The University expects students to self-monitor their health, including for example by taking their temperature before going to class or campus. While fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, it is only one of the potential symptoms individuals may have. Individuals with a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and reach out to their health care provider.

The University has launched a COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go app as another resource in which all members of the University community are strongly encouraged to check symptoms they may be having and receive instructions for how to proceed. The app also will contain updated information about CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health resources and helpful information, such as dining arrangements.

In addition, students, faculty and staff are urged to download and use the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID Alert PA app to assist with early detection of possible COVID-19 exposure. Learn more about the COVID Alert PA app in this Penn State News article.

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.

By following University and CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing and hand hygiene, students can have a direct impact in mitigating the potential for the virus’ spread. Students are asked to take personal responsibility both on and off campus, as agreed to in the Penn State COVID-19 Compact, to help uphold the health of the community by following University guidelines.

Mask wearing and social distancing is required in class and there is guidance available to help maintain a safe classroom environment. Classroom Guidance for Instructors is posted on the website of the Office of Student Conduct. This document describes steps faculty can take to provide a positive learning environment and manage COVID-related concerns in the classroom and includes steps that faculty can take if a student fails to adhere to health and safety requirements. For more information on how to manage classrooms, watch this video featuring Danny Shaha, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Instructors and faculty should first ask any unmasked or non-socially distant students to comply. When students fail to comply in the classroom, faculty members can refer students to the Office of Student Conduct, or call 814-863-0342, and students will not be allowed to return to class until the matter is addressed through Penn State’s conduct process. Additionally, if a faculty member should become aware of a COVID-19 related violation, a referral may be made to the Office of Student Conduct. Faculty do have the authority to, and will be supported in, asking non-compliant students to leave class.

Similarly, Penn State staff should report student violations of COVID-19 safety requirements within office settings to the Office of Student Conduct, which has posted COVID-19 Office Guidance on its website.

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