University Status

University Status:

Learning from Home

Penn State has delayed the start of in-person classes and has transitioned to a fully remote learning environment for the beginning of the spring 2021 semester at all campus locations.

woman on laptop working on class work during remote learning

Here's what you need to know to have a successful remote start to the semester.

Planning your remote start >
Testing requirements for students >
Learning and engagement >
Stay healthy, fit and informed >

Planning Your Remote Start

Penn State has delayed the start of in-person classes and has transitioned to a fully remote learning environment for the beginning of the spring 2021 semester at all campus locations. This decision was made following extensive analysis and scenario planning given worsening virus conditions nationally and across the state indicating predictions of rising hospitalization rates in the coming weeks.

To provide an uninterrupted educational experience for students, all classes will be delivered remotely beginning Jan. 19 and will continue through Feb. 12. Penn State leaders recognize the critical importance of a return to on-campus learning and remain committed to bringing students back to campuses. At this time, classes will transition to their regularly scheduled mode on Feb. 15, though this date could change based on health and safety factors and guidance from the state.

For Students

Resources are available to help you begin your semester at home on our Students and Families page. There you will find important resources, including information on academic support, technology, wellness and more. During the remote learning period, students are urged to not return to their campus community unless it is necessary for work, academic-program-specific reasons or other important circumstances. If you must return to your off-campus residence, you are required to complete a University provided COVID-19 test prior to your arrival.

For Faculty and Staff

Visit the Faculty and Staff page for resources and tools designed to help faculty to deliver their courses in a remote environment; to learn more about working on campus and working from home; for links to information from Human Resources; and more. On-campus research-related activities will continue to operate according to their established safety procedures.

At home testing kit for Penn State University

Complete required COVID-19 testing before you return

Students from all campuses are required to participate in COVID-19 testing and must have a negative COVID-19 test result from a University provided test on file prior to, and within 72 hours of, their return to their campus community, including graduate students or others who remained on campus over the break. This requirement also applies to students taking a fully remote/online course load if they live in Centre County or within 20 miles of a Penn State campus. Self-test kits will be provided to students at no cost. Students must log in to the “Know Your Status” Portal to check their test status and get started. Visit the Testing and Support page to learn more.

Man on computer learning from home at Penn State

Learning and engagement

During the remote period, the University’s flexible instructional modes will help you meet your educational goals and continue your progress toward your degree. These modes provide opportunities to engage with peers, learn from the same faculty, and experience the same academic curriculum no matter your location.

Stay Healthy, Fit and Informed

Learning from Home

Yes. The Penn State Board of Trustees has approved a proposal that adjusts room and board rates for the spring 2021 semester in recognition of the University’s decision to delay the start of in-person classes until Feb. 15.

For the spring 2021 semester, the cost of a standard double room has been adjusted down by $673 to a total cost of $2,754, and the cost of the mid-level meal plan has been adjusted down by $284 to a total cost of $2,165. The meal plan adjustment is to the meal plan base only; dining dollar amounts remain the same.

Together, the cost of a standard double room and the mid-level meal plan for the spring 2021 semester comes to $4,919 — a total cost reduction of 16.3%.

More details and revised room and board rates for all campuses and room types are available on the Penn State Housing website.

Students’ spring room and board charges will be adjusted and reflected in the spring bill.

Note: If a student is currently residing in campus housing, their existing winter break contract will be extended until the official start of the spring semester; a student’s spring semester bill will also reflect the full spring semester room and board rate. Students not currently residing in campus housing who have extenuating circumstances regarding the spring semester must contact their campus Housing assignment office.

Residence halls will be closed during the remote-learning period, except for students currently living on campus during the winter break. Students will not have card-swipe access to their residences, and may not come back to campus to collect belongings during the remote period.

Students at University Park who are not returning to on-campus housing for the spring semester can schedule a move-out day and time online via eLiving, and move-out should occur prior to Jan. 16. The move-out process is designed to minimize the number of people in each residence hall and enable Housing staff to clean and sanitize buildings and equipment between visits. A limited number of students can sign up for each time slot by building, and only one family member per student is permitted. If an individual has COVID-19, was possibly exposed to the virus, or is in quarantine, please do not come to campus. All individuals returning to campus for move-out must follow University guidelines, which include wearing a mask at all times, practicing physical distancing, and regularly washing hands. Additional details about the move-out process can be found on the Penn State Housing website.

Commonwealth Campus residential students who are not returning to their on-campus residence for spring 2021 need to contact their respective Housing and Food Services office via phone or email to schedule a day and time for move-out.

No. All classes will be delivered remotely beginning on Jan. 19 and will continue remotely through Feb. 12. At this time, classes will transition to their regularly scheduled mode and resume across all campus locations on Feb. 15, though this date could change based on health and safety factors and guidance from the state. Course delivery options include the following, with LionPATH codes listed in parentheses:

  • In-Person Instruction (COVID In-Person) — Students meet in the assigned classroom at the time assigned in the course schedule.
  • Mixed-Mode Instruction (COVID Mixed Mode) — Instructors deploy a combination of instructional modes to meet social distancing requirements.
  • Remote Synchronous Instruction (COVID Remote) — Students attend all classes remotely at the scheduled time.
  • Remote Asynchronous Instruction (COVID Web) — Course material is made available for students to work through on their own schedules.

Students currently residing in on-campuses residences during the winter break will be allowed to remain. The University will work with students on an individual basis. This includes international students and those students who cannot make alternative housing arrangements and must return to campus before Feb. 15 due to extenuating circumstances. More information will be made available to on-campus students in the near future.

International students with questions or who need support can contact Global Programs by emailing; 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.

Resources For

Students and families


Graduate students


International students


Faculty and staff