Penn State classes at all campus locations continue in their regularly scheduled mode of instruction for the summer 2021 semester. Summer classes are again using Penn State’s COVID-19 instructional modes, while maximizing the number of in-person courses. In addition to in-person courses there are some remote options, both synchronous and asynchronous.
More information about plans for fall instruction is available in the Plans for Future Semesters section below.
Testing for students
On campuses that have more than 25 students living in residence halls, students living on campus who are not fully vaccinated will be required to complete a COVID-19 test weekly starting after summer session begins and continuing through the summer. Unless they have been vaccinated, regular use of voluntary testing is strongly encouraged for any student living near any Penn State campus in May and throughout the summer.
Learn more about Penn State's summer testing plans and available testing options on the Testing and Support page.
Course modes and health requirements
Penn State remains committed to providing students with a robust learning experience during the summer 2021 semester. All classes are being delivered in their regularly scheduled delivery format. Courses are being offered via one of the following instructional modes, as indicated in LionPATH:
- 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.
Current masking and physical distancing guidance remain in effect
At this time, masking and physical distancing is expected by all individuals — regardless of vaccination status — inside Penn State campus buildings and on public transportation across all campuses. When outdoors on campus, vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask or practice physical distancing, however individuals who are not vaccinated are expected to wear masks when physical distancing from individuals outside of the same household or “pod” is not possible.
After June 28, fully vaccinated individuals at Penn State will no longer be required to wear face masks indoors, and the physical distancing and outdoor masking requirements will be lifted for all individuals. The use of face masks will still be required for all people while using public transportation, in accordance with CDC guidance, and in some additional settings such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects.
Penn State will continue to require non-vaccinated individuals to wear masks inside University buildings at all times after June 28.
Resources are available on our Students and Families page to help students have a successful semester. There students will find important information on academic support, student services, housing and dining, wellness and more.
For Faculty and Staff
Visit the Faculty and Staff page for resources and tools designed to help faculty to deliver their courses either in person or in a remote or mixed-mode format; 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 continue to operate according to their established safety procedures.
Plans for Future Semesters
After a phased return over the summer semester, Penn State is planning for a full on-campus learning environment for fall 2021. The University’s priorities continue to be the health and well-being of its students, faculty, staff and local communities, and the plans for expanded in-person classes have the flexibility built in to quickly respond to changing pandemic conditions, if necessary.
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 fall semester. Expanded in-person learning is contingent on the latest health and safety guidelines, as they are adjusted over the summer and fall in response to the state of the pandemic.
The fall semester will more closely resemble Penn State’s in-person instructional experience, while continuing to offer a full range of web classes. Classes will be scheduled using the University’s non-COVID modes of instruction.
Future instructional impacts
Based on what has been learned about student and faculty needs and preferences, some asynchronous courses — in which students engage with instructors and course material on their own time — will continue to be offered in the summer and fall.
Penn State was allotted nearly $85 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II as part of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. As prescribed by law, $27.5 million of Penn State’s allocation was awarded to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants, matching the dollar amount Penn State students received last year under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Penn State distributed the CRRSAA student grants via two rounds of funding. In the first round, the University awarded grants totaling nearly $25.6 million to approximately 23,000 students. These first-round grants prioritized students with exceptional financial need, as required by the CRRSAA, based on data from the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who are Pell Grant-eligible were each offered $1,200, and all other students identified for an award were offered $1,000 each. Students who were offered grants in the first round had until 5 p.m. on June 1 to accept or decline the aid.
The University opened an application-based second round of funding on June 7 to disburse the remaining $1.9 million to students in need who were not identified to receive funding during the first round. As of June 10, all CRRSAA student grant funds have been awarded and the application has closed.
Detailed information and guidance for in-person meetings, events and gatherings is available on the campus visitors, meetings and events, and tours page.
Detailed information and guidance on inviting visitors to campus is available on the campus visitors, meetings and events, and tours page.
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.