This website will continue to serve as a resource for our faculty during the global coronavirus pandemic. It will be updated regularly with critical information and links to key resources.
Penn State remains committed to providing students with a robust learning experience during Summer 2022 sessions. 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.
Masks are currently required indoors at campuses with high community COVID-19 levels. You can check the status of any Penn State campus Check the status of any Penn State campus.
At other Penn State campuses, face masks are optional in most indoor spaces. However, masks continue to be required where mandated by law, regulation or rule — including under guidance particular to individual workplaces or health care settings and COVID-19 testing centers.
Employees at Penn State who work in their own individual offices on mask-optional campuses may request that visitors wear masks while in their private offices, and faculty may request that their students wear masks during classes. The University asks that community members cooperate respectfully with these requests. At this time, the College of Medicine will continue the mask mandate in alignment with Penn State Health to support patient care.
As of March 26, 2022 Penn State paused its required COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff.
Required COVID-19 testing is being paused; however, testing will continue to be available to students who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, are identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Faculty and staff may seek testing through their health care provider or other local COVID-19 testing options. Employees are no longer able to order PCR tests online from Vault Health and are encouraged to use test kits they previously ordered or obtain free, at-home rapid tests from the U.S. government by ordering them online at covidtests.gov. Symptomatic employees should stay home from work and are advised to schedule an appointment with their health care provider for testing.
Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not go to classes or other activities and seek out symptomatic testing through their health care provider.
As a reminder, free, at-home rapid tests provided by the U.S. government are available to be ordered online at covidtests.gov.
The University strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to stay up to date with their vaccinations, including booster doses.
Students at University Park, Commonwealth Campuses and Dickinson Law who have received their booster shot can upload their vaccination records through myUHS. Faculty and staff who have received their booster shot can upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination card into Penn State’s Salesforce Health Cloud, a secure online platform for collecting and storing health data.
All individuals are also still encouraged to practice appropriate hygiene, including:
- Coughing sneezing into your elbow, not your hands
- Refraining from touching your face
- Washing hands often, for a minimum of 20 seconds, with soap and water – or using hand sanitizer after coming into contact with common surfaces and after using the bathroom.
With required testing paused and anticipated low usage of voluntary and asymptomatic testing, the University also will pause updating the data on its public COVID-19 dashboard beginning April 7. Historical data will remain available.
The latest information on the University’s response to the pandemic can be found on the Coronavirus Information website.
Get more information on sharing your vaccination status and the incentive program.
Find more University coronavirus information
We also encourage you to read University Park’s student and family FAQs in addition to those on this page.
This website will continue to serve as a resource for our students during the global coronavirus pandemic and will be updated regularly with critical information and links to key resources.
Daily Symptom Checks
Students can also self-screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus by completing a daily symptom checker to self-screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus. Students enrolled for in-person courses or scheduled to be present at on-campus facilities will need to sign in with their Penn State ID to complete the daily student COVID-19 symptom checker through the Penn State Go app.
The Penn State Go app is available to download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Vaccinations will continue to be required for employees in health care facilities as required by law. The University strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to stay up to date with their vaccinations, including booster doses. Students at University Park, Commonwealth Campuses and Dickinson Law who have received their booster shot can upload their vaccination records through myUHS. Faculty and staff who have received their booster shot can upload an image of their COVID-19 vaccination card into Penn State’s Salesforce Health Cloud, a secure online platform for collecting and storing health data.
Are there penalties for students, faculty or staff who don't follow campus safety and health guidelines?
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus and support a healthy return to living and taking classes on campus, all students and employees have a personal and collective responsibility to follow guidelines from the University, which are aligned with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health.
While we expect high levels of compliance, non-adherence to these guidelines in a way that elevates exposure and risk for others in the community will be addressed in a manner consistent with how other violations of University guidelines and policies are managed.
What if I have an at-risk student or have a student who starts to feel sick?
Faculty are expected to be flexible in their interpretation and management of in-person class attendance so that sick students can stay home, and the University will work with immunocompromised and other at-risk students to develop appropriate accommodations.
For students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, there are flexible options so that they can continue to make progress toward their degrees.
Penn State is focused on supporting students and helping them to meet their desired educational outcomes no matter the method of delivery, and advisers will be available to assist students on crafting their individual class schedules and curricula options.
If students have visible flu-like symptoms in a face-to-face class setting, are instructors able to ask them to leave?
If a student is exhibiting symptoms in a classroom, the instructor is empowered to ask the student to leave the class and to see a health care provider. The student should not return to class until they are no longer exhibiting symptoms or have been cleared by a health care provider and can provide proof of clearance to the instructor. If the student refuses to leave, the instructor should follow the guidance in the classroom guidance document.
I received a notification letter from Student Support Services stating that a student will be unable to attend class in-person. Why does this date range not match the length of Penn State’s quarantine and isolation requirements?
The length of time listed in the notification letter depends on many factors, including when contact tracers got in touch with the student and when the student’s symptoms began. Contact tracers, based on the student’s report, identify the time frame during which a student must isolate or quarantine and then make a referral to Student Support Services to complete the faculty notification. There can be a day or two of ‘lag time’ between when a contact tracer speaks with a student and when the notifications are sent to faculty. A student may have been instructed to isolate on 1/15, for example, but the faculty notification letter is not sent until 1/17.
Asymptomatic students who are not fully vaccinated and quarantining because they have been identified through contact tracing as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to receive a COVID-19 test during day 5-7 of their quarantine. Per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asymptomatic, unvaccinated students with a negative test on or after day five of quarantine will be permitted to end their quarantine after seven days. Instructions for testing will be communicated directly to quarantined students.
Fully vaccinated students will receive instructions from contact tracing if they are identified as a close contact.
Where can I find information for required Covid-19 testing for faculty and staff?
Information on required COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated faculty and staff can be found on the Testing and Support webpage.
I am an employee of Penn State and have symptoms of Covid-19 or I have tested positive for Covid-19; what do I do?
Contact Occupational Medicine (Occ. Med.) at [email protected] or call 814-863-8492. If you are a Technical Service employee, please contact your supervisor who will then contact Occupational Med.
Any faculty and staff member who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and call their health care provider to arrange for a symptomatic test, or schedule an appointment at a publicly available COVID-19 testing site.
Faculty and staff members who are concerned about exposure to the coronavirus and are working on campus may seek testing through their health care provider or other local COVID-19 testing options.
Additional information for employees, including testing and screening, frequently asked questions and other resources can be found on the Penn State Human Resources COVID-19 page.
Will the University provide information to faculty if a student in their class has a confirmed case of COVID-19?
Penn State will conduct contact tracing for faculty, staff, and students who test positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19. When a student tests positive for COVID-19, an email notification will be sent to faculty teaching in-person classes that mentions dates when the student cannot attend class due to a medical reason. When the student gives permission to share that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, the University will do so. In addition, the University will notify faculty teaching remote courses to assist with appropriate academic accommodations as needed, and a notification will be sent to confirm when a student can return to class.
When physical distancing is maintained in class, the faculty member and fellow students are not considered to be close contacts of a positive/presumed positive case and will not need to quarantine due to being in class together. An exception to this may be in a lab or other experiential environment where students are working together. In these cases, faculty should have students working in teams/pods that maintain physical distance from the other groups.
What do I do if a student who will be unable to participate for a period of time requests make-up work?
You may provide traditional make-up assignments (e.g., provide slides, offer office hour appointments, extend due dates, etc.) appropriate for the course and its designated delivery mode. Policy 42-27 on Class Attendance states, “Instructors also should provide, within reason, the opportunity to make up work for students who miss classes for other legitimate but unavoidable reasons. … it should be recognized that not all work can be ‘made-up’ and that absences can affect student performance in a class.”
Consider asking if the student is unable to participate in the whole course or in certain elements (e.g., cannot attend in-person sessions but can complete assignments on time). Try to identify simple ways to provide access to the elements that the student will miss, so there will be no need for make-up work. Instructors are not asked to create alternate ways to deliver course material; rather, they are asked to provide flexibility, within reason, on how students might achieve learning outcomes to students who unexpectedly cannot participate in part or all of a course for a period of time.
LATEST NEWS OF IMPORTANCE TO FACULTY
- Please check Penn State’s COVID-19 dashboard for the latest on-demand testing and random screening results.
KEY REMINDERS FOR FACULTY
- Two contact tracing student referral forms are now available; one allows students to self-report concerns and the other allows individuals to refer students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have been exposed.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to report student progress in Starfish to allow for a collaborative and proactive approach to assisting undergraduates. At a time when many students are learning remotely, Starfish is the central place for instructors to document and share the successes or challenges a student may be encountering in a course. It gives instructors the ability to note areas of concern, like whether they believe their students have reliable access to technology; and other important indicators of student progress, such as absences or inadequate class participation or completion of assignments.
- Penn State leaders encourage the community to take health and safety precautions over the winter break. The U.S. government has imposed travel restrictions from eight southern African countries. Travelers, whether traveling for University purposes or personal reasons, should prepare for the possibility of disrupted travel plans. Employees planning University-affiliated international travel must follow the University’s travel guidance and request travel via the Travel Safety Network at least 30 days in advance. Employees are expected to return to the U.S. by their approved return date and extended periods of work from outside the U.S. are not permitted. While minor travel delays can be accommodated, those unable to return will be placed on unpaid leave until they return to the U.S. More information on remote work outside of the U.S. is available here.
- With Penn State’s return to on-campus teaching, learning, and working during the 2021-22 academic year, the University has updated its guidelines for students, faculty, and staff in the event that normal campus operations are disrupted due to weather. In the event of a change in normal campus operations, in-person courses cannot be moved to a synchronous remote meeting per Faculty Senate Policy 45-00, due to the fact that all students, faculty, and instructors may not have the same access to University facilities and resources or may have other commitments such as child care.
- All faculty, including those who are working remotely, must update their vaccine card if they have indicated that they are vaccinated. Vaccine cards can be uploaded to the Salesforce Health Cloud
- According to Matthew Ferrari, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, omicron contains more mutations in more locations of the genome than any of the previous SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, there is no evidence yet that the severity of disease that omicron causes is any worse than delta, because we haven’t seen enough cases yet. According to Ferrari, all indications are that current vaccines and boosters are effective against omicron, although we don’t yet know whether they are less effective than for delta.
LATEST NEWS OF IMPORTANCE TO FACULTY
- Technical teaching assistants (Tech TAs) debuted in March 2020 to support faculty teaching in virtual and hybrid modes. The program is set to continue for the spring 2022 semester.
- Faculty can still submit questions related to Penn State’s COVID response. Questions may be submitted here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To obtain comprehensive, updated information at any time, please review:
- The University’s comprehensive resources on its “University Status” page and updated FAQs regarding on-campus work and learning
- Penn State’s “Keep Teaching” and “Keep Learning” websites, including many Spring 2022 instruction-related FAQs
- Penn State’s COVID-19 dashboard
- Previous issues of this Digest
- The online archive of video messages from Penn State leaders and experts
- The Office of Human Resources COVID-19 information site and “Return to Work on Campus” resource site
- The University’s health information page focused on personal safety practices for individuals at all campuses
- A robust, updated list of contacts and resources for the University community
- The Social Science Research Institute website featuring pandemic-related insights from University experts and other resources.
- The University’s comprehensive “Back to State” page
- Penn State’s Keep Teaching and Keep Working websites
- The online archive of video messages from Penn State leaders and experts on pandemic-related news stories
- The Office of Human Resources COVID-19 information site and Return to Work on Campus
- The University Measures
- The University’s health information page
- Information for Faculty Researchers
- University contacts and resources for the community
- Social Science Research Institute website featuring pandemic-related insights from University experts and other resources
Updated on June 8, 2022