A Message to Undergraduate and Graduate/Professional Students

February 1, 2022

We hope you are all off to a very successful spring semester on campus and are enjoying reuniting with friends and classmates. We are writing today to provide an update on indoor social event registration, as well as reminders about COVID-19 guidance on campus.

Indoor Event Registration

As was promised in our earlier outreach to you, we are continuing to assess COVID-19 positivity on campus – specifically among our student population – and our ability to resume social event registration. We are deeply appreciative of your patience and understanding as the pandemic continues to impact the student experience.

Regrettably, our latest data revealed a doubling of positivity in our undergraduate student population. As such, providing food and beverages at registered indoor events remains prohibited. Social event registration for events with alcohol and/or events held at third party venues remains on hold. Student gatherings such as performances, spectating at athletic events, Grab n Go’s, student club meetings, etc. are still permitted. Attendees must continue to follow Penn’s current Public Health Guidance.

We are confident that in the coming week or two, positivity rates will decrease to a level that will permit normal operations. We are grateful for your flexibility during these unprecedented times. We will provide an update as soon as possible and will reassess the positivity rates on campus on a weekly basis – looking both at the number of new positive and negative cases in making our safety assessment.

We can only imagine how disappointing this decision may be. Know that these decisions are not easy to make, and we look forward to recapturing this part of the campus experience as soon as it safe to do so.

Until then, you are encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces for daily activities. Participants are strongly encouraged to remain masked outdoors as it remains a key mitigation strategy in our efforts to minimize transmission during this virulent phase of the virus.

Other COVID-19 Guidance Reminders

Gateway Testing
Students who have not yet undergone Gateway received one final reminder last Friday about their risk of being under registration hold, affecting their ability to select and change courses.

Reminder: if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, you should report your positive test through PennOpen Pass and send your result to covidtesting@upenn.edu. We are continuing to review the submissions we have received. Please do not resubmit your documentation if you have already done so.  
Screening Testing
Beginning this week, all students must take part in the required Penn Cares Screening Testing program:

  • Fully Vaccinated Undergraduate and Graduate Students: All students who are fully vaccinated are required to test once every other week. We encourage students to schedule all tests online now so that you can work around other time commitments and receive text reminders.
  • Unvaccinated Students, Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs: All students, faculty, staff, and postdocs who are not yet fully vaccinated, or who have a vaccine exemption, are required to test twice each week.
  • Optional Screening Testing for Vaccinated Individuals: All members of the Penn community will continue to have access to COVID-19 testing on campus for any reason as an added measure of comfort.
  • Those who have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 90 days are exempt from screening testing and should not schedule a screening test. Individuals should use PennOpen Pass every day in case new symptoms or exposures arise during the 90-day period.

All members of the Penn community in campus buildings must double mask (layering a cloth mask on top of a disposable mask) or wear a KN95/KF94 or N95 mask. Surgical masks will be made available for the Penn community at various building entrances across campus.

PennOpen Pass
If you are COVID-19 positive or have had an exposure, the easiest way to find out what to do next, when your isolation and/or quarantine is over, and instructions to get your green pass back, is to utilize PennOpen Pass each day. This is a useful public health tool that provides clinical guidance and can help mitigate further spread of COVID-19 on campus. Remember to complete your PennOpen Pass daily, regardless of whether you have symptoms. Additionally, a green PennOpen Pass is required for entry into most campus buildings.

We know that life on campus during a pandemic is challenging. This is not how any of us wanted to resume our spring semester. We are hopeful that in the coming weeks COVID-19 positivity rates will decrease steadily, and we can begin to return to some semblance of normalcy. We assure you that our strict COVID-19 guidance will continue to be re-assessed and modified based on current rates and trends in our region.

Thank you all for your continued understanding, resilience, and work to keep Penn and our surrounding communities safe.

In good health,

Mamta Motwani Accapadi, Vice Provost for University Life
Benoit Dubé, MD, Associate Provost and Chief Wellness Officer

Last Updated 02/01/2022 - 10:43