Planning for the Fall Semester
April 27, 2020
As we approach the end of the spring semester, we write to update you with the latest information on our planning and the important elements that will influence the decisions about how we move forward during this pandemic.
We are deeply engaged in a planning process so that we can reopen for on-campus instruction as soon as possible. All of our decisions will be driven by the most current scientific evidence and the guidance of medical experts. This is the only way to ensure that a return to on-campus living and learning will be as safe as possible for everyone—students, faculty, staff and visitors. To that end, we have established a Recovery Planning Group that is examining the elements that would need to be in place to allow a safe return to more normal campus operations.
Among the important factors that guide our decision-making are our capacity for testing, contact tracing, isolation of COVID-19 positive individuals, and maximizing our capacity for single bedroom living for students. We also will need to ensure that appropriately strong measures are in place for social distancing. We are planning for a likely combination of in-class and virtual teaching (particularly for large lectures) depending upon the circumstances.
There are many variables involved, and many questions that will need to be answered. We appreciate that everyone in the Penn community understands that until a vaccine is developed, we will need to be creative and flexible in how we teach and engage with students.
In-person engagement is a critical part of what we do. We are a community of scholars, where students and faculty creatively interact in our classrooms and labs on what is one of the most vibrant and remarkable campuses on earth. We are committed to finding the best ways to bring everyone back together on our campus. At this point, it is too early to say exactly when or how that will happen, but we wanted to update you on our thinking and planning, and we will continue to do so.
We will know more in the weeks ahead as we monitor disease activity and explore answers to critically important questions around testing and tracing. We are grateful to all of you for your patience as we plan for the fall, and we thank you for all that you do for Penn. Be assured that as we have more information, we will share it.
Amy Gutmann, President
Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President
J. Larry Jameson, Dean, Perelman School of Medicine and EVP University of Pennsylvania for the Health System