A Message To The Penn Community

January 14, 2021

This past year has been fraught with many challenges – from a global pandemic that has forced unprecedented life changes, to the civil, political and racial unrest that is continuing to unfold. Despite all of this, we have been working collectively with our partners in Penn Medicine and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to create an environment to bring the Penn community back together safely. We invite you to read this letter from Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner, about stopping the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses. 

While life on campus will look much different than in years past, our collective commitment to inclusion, innovation and impact has not faltered. To help protect the Penn community and our neighbors across Philadelphia, the University has launched Penn Cares, our COVID-19 response program established to help thwart the spread of the disease. Please take a moment to watch this Welcome Video with more information about Penn Cares.

We all have a responsibility to do our part to ensure the success of Penn Cares and to think about the impact our decisions have on others, especially in our surrounding communities. We can help create a safe environment to live, learn and work by following the strict public health guidance we’ve instituted for those on and off campus, including masking, washing hands, remaining physically distant, staying home when sick, taking part in our robust screening testing program, and completing your daily PennOpen Pass symptom and exposure tracker. 

The following are critical components of the Penn Cares program for students, faculty, postdocs and staff:

Penn Cares: Mask, Distance, Wash

Quiet Period

The University will observe a Quiet Period until February 1. All graduate and undergraduate students must abide by certain limitations on movement and activity for the collective good of our community.

PennOpen Pass

This is a daily symptom tracker and exposure reporting system designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the Penn community. Daily symptom checks and exposure reporting on PennOpen Pass are required for those on campus. 

Public Health Guidance

These are actions the entire university community can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Working together and thinking about your behaviors and activities, and their effects on others, are critical to following these important steps. 

Campus Compact and Principles of Responsible Conduct

The University has set behavioral expectations for activities while living, learning and working on campus.

Penn Cares: Test, Trace, Isolate 

Student Testing and Faculty/Postdocs/Staff Testing

The Penn Cares comprehensive testing strategy, developed in partnership with Penn Medicine, uses three distinct channels: gateway (arrival to campus) testing for students living on and off campus; screening testing for students, faculty, postdocs and staff; and symptomatic and exposure-related testing for the Penn community. Comprehensive information about testing criteria, scheduling and results can be found at the Coronavirus website.

Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine Protocols for Students and for Faculty/Postdocs/Staff

If you test positive, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation are some of the many ways the University is helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the Penn community. 

Penn’s COVID-19 Dashboard

This is a report of the University’s collective COVID-19 testing results from across the Penn community.

Penn Cares: Connect, Reflect, Support

Wellness Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent civil unrest in our country have been stressful for all – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's important to make sure you are taking care of yourself while coping during these challenging times.

As we look to the future with an optimistic lens, we hope to have more information to share regarding vaccination. Vaccine distribution in Philadelphia is managed by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in accordance with prioritization guidance from the National Academy of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For now, we've created a Student FAQ and a Faculty/Postdocs/Staff FAQ that will be updated with vaccine information as it is made available.

We wish you all a very happy, healthy 2021. Thank you for your continued partnership in and dedication to keeping our community healthy.

Amy Gutmann, President
Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President
J. Larry Jameson, Executive Vice President for the Health System
Benoit Dubé, Associate Provost and Chief Wellness Officer 

Last Updated 01/14/2021 - 12:49