A Message to the Penn Community Regarding Operations During the Summer

May 19, 2021

With the academic year and Commencement now successfully concluded, and with continued positive progress being made within our community in controlling COVID-19, Penn will be easing restrictions during the summer relating to both on-campus activities and University travel. These are important steps as we continue to transition toward the fall semester, and our expectation of a more normal, on-campus experience for our students, faculty, staff and researchers.

As of May 18, 2021, the University will lift its travel suspension and implement restricted travel guidelines for all domestic and international Penn-related travel. The new guidelines will require those travelling to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, with exceptions provided only for medical or religious reasons. 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 (outbound) travel only. Inbound travel is NOT considered Penn-affiliated, and will continue to be governed by city, state and federal directives.

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 Guidance website for the most up-to-date information.
Campus Activities
As we begin to repopulate the campus this summer, schools, centers, and departments can host scholars and visitors to campus for events, activities and performances in accordance with social distancing and facility planning guidelines. Visitors must comply with all Penn health guidelines and policies and participate in PennOpen Pass.  

Centralized approval for use of general spaces, room occupancy and outdoor activities will not be required, however schools and departments may elect to maintain and develop policies (e.g., noting mask requirements) to facilitate compliance with relevant Commonwealth and city health directives. For example, the City of Philadelphia has recently announced modifications to its COVID-19 restrictions pertaining to gatherings, permitting larger numbers in restaurants and public spaces and on June 11 plans to lift all restrictions on gatherings, although it is keeping its mask mandate in place.

The City’s relaxation of indoor capacity restrictions on June 11 includes office spaces and applies to the Penn campus, including our museums and performance spaces. Departments should continue to make return to campus plans that assume no restrictions on density.

Off-campus activities, such as a meal involving faculty recruitment, should be guided by CDC recommendations relating to social distancing and PPE use.

COVID-19 Screening Requirements for Students
Ongoing screening is being conducted throughout the summer, starting May 17, 2021. Enrolled students continuing to live on or off campus from the spring semester into summer should continue their testing protocol. Students who are new to campus must schedule their first screening test during their first week on campus.

Undergraduates living on or off campus in Philadelphia are required to undergo twice-weekly screening tests. Graduate students who come to campus each week are required to receive screening tests once per week. Graduate students who live in College Houses or elsewhere on campus are required to undergo twice-weekly screening tests, separated by a minimum of two calendar days. Specific details for all undergraduate, graduate and professional students can be found at the Penn Coronavirus testing resource website.

The Student Campus Compact will be updated with any changes in expectations for student conduct early in the fall. All students should remain familiar with the standards for behavior that it outlines. Students are reminded that for the fall full vaccination prior to arrival on campus is required. For those students who were unable to access vaccine in their home locations, vaccine will be available through Student Health, however Penn strongly recommends completing vaccination before arrival. The University will accept vaccines that have been granted an emergency use authorization through the FDA (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) as well as those that have been “pre-qualified” or received “Emergency Use Listing” by WHO (currently AstraZeneca and Covishield).

COVID Screening for Faculty, Staff and Postdocs
Ongoing screening is being conducted throughout the summer, starting May 17, 2021. Individuals must enroll and schedule their first screening during the first week they are on campus. Faculty, postdocs and staff who live on campus must be tested twice per week, separated by two calendar days. Faculty, postdocs and staff who are on campus for four or more hours each week throughout Summer Session 1 must be tested once per week. Testing locations and hours of operation can be found here.

In our communication to the community on April 22, 2021, we announced that with the proven effectiveness of COVID vaccines and their widespread availability, and in order to protect the health of all community members, the University would require all students to be vaccinated for the fall semester.  We are currently reviewing vaccine requirements for faculty, staff and postdocs for the fall and will provide further information to the community later in the summer. Penn Medicine will be sending a separate communication today regarding vaccination requirements for employees working in the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

We continue to be profoundly grateful for the cooperation that has been demonstrated by everyone in the Penn community in helping the University navigate through this public health crisis. Faculty, staff and students alike have shown enormous grace in dealing with the uncertainties and new protocols that allowed Penn to continue to operate while protecting the health and safety of our community. With vaccinations now easily available and the pandemic coming under control here in the United States, we are optimistic about the year ahead, and look forward to continuing on a path to a more traditional campus experience.

Amy Gutmann, President
Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President


Last Updated 05/19/2021 - 11:44