A Message to Faculty, Staff, and Postdoctoral Trainees on Returning to Campus

June 23, 2021

We are very pleased to announce that Penn will be fully reopening campus for the fall semester, while continuing to be guided by best practices in public health. After 15 months of masking and physical distancing, rearranging your lives to perform work under challenging circumstances, and vaccinating against COVID-19, Penn now has the lowest rate of COVID-19 in over a year. Penn’s low positivity rate is but one component of the broader slowdown of COVID-19 cases in our region and, as of June 11, the City of Philadelphia removed capacity restrictions on our facilities and related occupancy. The safety and wellness of our Penn community are of utmost importance, and this message is intended as a resource guide to help you return to campus with confidence over the next few weeks and months.

Enter Your COVID-19 Vaccination Information / Schedule Your Test
As we first wrote on June 1, all faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline for proof of vaccination is August 1, 2021. (Note that employees of Penn’s health schools must follow any additional school-specific guidelines.) Proof of vaccination status will be conducted in Workday@Penn; recording your COVID-19 vaccination status is secure, confidential, and easy by completing a simple online form. Those who record their full vaccination are exempt from regular COVID-19 screening tests, as well as the daily completion of PennOpen Pass.  

Individuals who choose not to vaccinate against COVID-19 for medical and religious reasons or choose not to disclose their vaccination status will be required to do the following for the public health of the Penn community: use PennOpen Pass on a daily basis to check for COVID-19 symptoms, complete weekly Penn Cares screening testing, and wear a mask while indoors. While the University requires mask use indoors by unvaccinated individuals, we also support mask use by vaccinated individuals who choose to wear one. No assumptions should be made about the vaccination status of colleagues who choose to wear a mask indoors.

Review Your Return to Campus Guide
Normal University on-campus operations will resume on September 7. We acknowledge that some members of our community may be observing the Rosh Hashanah holiday and will not return until later in the week. Deans, University Officers, and other senior administrators will have the flexibility to make individual arrangements accommodating remote work in our Schools and Centers based upon business and operational needs and job duties for the fall semester. Each School and Center has developed plans to achieve this phased return to campus between July 6 and September 7.

The University has developed a comprehensive guide (PDF) for the return to in-person work, which will continue to be updated as needed.

Check Validity of Your PennCard  
In support of the University’s return to campus, PennCard has created a special web page with general information, including hours of operation, office contacts, and guidance on obtaining replacements for lost, damaged, expired, and non-working cards. Please note that pre-scheduled appointments are required and that, for individuals sponsored through University departments, the PennCard office will need to receive an authorization form in advance before it can issue a PennCard. The office’s normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm. Be sure to bring your current PennCard and a valid US or state government-issued photo ID or a valid passport. In addition, each School, Center, and department will be responsible for developing its own policy for using PennCards for access to in-person meetings in Penn buildings.

Plan Your Commute (Parking/SEPTA)  
The Commuting at Penn portal offers detailed information about discounted public transit and bike commuter options, how Penn Transit can serve commuters who live near the University, campus parking options, information for parking patrons with suspended monthly permits, and other valuable resources and updates. The Penn Transportation and Parking Office is open Monday-Friday from 9 am-4 pm.  

What to Expect on Campus this Fall    
Facility Preparation: The University is preparing a deep clean of all facilities in anticipation of the return to campus, including rigorous and regular disinfecting of offices, conference rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, classrooms, labs, libraries, fitness centers and locker rooms, dining halls and college houses, and common spaces. Each building at Penn has specific heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). We have conducted building by building HVAC systems condition and performance reviews by Facilities and Real Estate Services and Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS). All occupied on-campus buildings are in compliance with the prevailing International Building Code and ASHRAE standards for ventilation. EHRS has also developed building and workplace signage, tips, and suggestions.

Changing “Work From” Address for Tax Purposes: Please note that as of September 7, 2021, the “work from” address will once again be our Philadelphia campus (if that was your primary place of work prior to the pandemic). For questions or exceptions to this policy, please contact your Human Resources Representative.  

Policies for Penn-Affiliated Travel: The University has lifted its travel suspension and implemented restricted travel guidelines for all domestic and international Penn-related travel. Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees must enter their vaccine information in Workday @ Penn, the University’s system of record for Human Resources and Payroll.

In order to avoid any health-related challenges or complications, especially when traveling abroad, Penn recommends that all travelers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before initiating travel. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to delay travel until they are fully vaccinated.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated who must travel should follow CDC guidance and be tested 1-3 days before their trip, adhere to strict masking, distancing and handwashing protocols while traveling, and be tested 3-5 days upon their return. This is also consistent with our campus public health guidance for unvaccinated individuals.

Faculty, staff, and students may travel domestically or to countries rated CDC Level 1 and Level 2 without a petition. Penn-affiliated group travel will be permitted starting July 1, 2021. Penn Travel Guidelines and Procedures apply to Penn-affiliated travel only. Personal travel and commuting are not considered Penn-affiliated travel and will continue to be governed by city, state, and federal guidelines.

All travelers are expected to follow local and state guidelines regarding quarantine, testing, masking, etc. and should be prepared for changes and modifications. As government restrictions and guidelines pertaining to domestic and international travel continue to evolve, we encourage anyone planning to travel to consult the Penn Global Travel Guidelines for the most up-to-date information. For questions about policies related to visitors to Penn, please see Expectations of Campus Visitors below.

Gatherings & Events: Consistent with guidance from the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the University is lifting the restriction on campus gatherings and events. Organizers and sponsors of gatherings and events must follow University safety and masking protocols. See our Events and Gatherings Guidelines for the complete policy.

• Gathering size limits are lifted for outdoor gatherings.
• Indoor gatherings may occur at up to the full capacity of a given indoor space, including work, classroom, and research spaces.
• Off-campus activities may resume.
• Individually packaged food and drink are allowed at gatherings.

Expectations of Campus Visitors: Visitors may include prospective students, Penn event attendees, and family or friends visiting campus. While most visitor restrictions have been lifted, except for summer camps, visitors to Penn’s campus must adhere to the University’s safety protocols, including masking indoors. See our Visitors Guidelines for the complete policy.

A Vibrant University City and Campus: One of the great benefits of working for Penn is that, regardless of what type of facility we work in – a lab or a dining hall, an arena or an office – we all belong to one of America’s most beautiful campuses: 300 acres of greenery with inspiring buildings, sculpture, and architecture. We encourage you to visit your favorite Shop Penn cafes, restaurants, and shops, which have been awaiting your arrival back to campus, as well as our vibrant arts scene, where there is always something happening, or our recreation and fitness centers to take advantage of the array of workout options. The University City District also maintains a robust calendar of events in and around University City.

Additional Questions/Information: If you have additional questions about what to expect on returning to campus, we invite you to:
• Visit the Penn HR Health and Safety website, which has extensive resources.  
• Contact the COVID Resource Call Center at (215) 573-7096 or by email at covidresource@upenn.edu.
• Access the FAQ that will be coming soon to help assist you in your personal strategy for returning to in-person campus work.

We are grateful that, because of expert medical care, strategic public health policy, and the determined behavior of our fellow citizens, nearly 800,000 Philadelphians are vaccinated. A great sense of hope is present that we are able to safely, albeit carefully, coexist with the virus. We are poised to return to our public life and activities and to help reignite the economy. After 15 months of being distant and remote, it is truly exciting to welcome faculty, researchers, students, and staff to campus for in-person instruction, hands-on research, and the personal provision of critical University services. From Penn Dining and Libraries, to tutoring and financial aid counseling, athletic coaching and performing arts, IT support and facilities management, what makes Penn a thriving campus community is when we can integrate these activities in pursuit of our shared campus mission. We greatly look forward to seeing all of you back on campus in the months ahead.

Amy Gutmann, President
Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Craig Carnaroli, Senior Executive Vice President
Beth Winkelstein, Deputy Provost



Last Updated 06/23/2021 - 12:34