A message to the Penn Community
November 10, 2021
As we head into the last weeks of the fall semester, we are writing to express our gratitude and pride for our Penn community. We have successfully transitioned back to campus life, with in-person classes and student activities. Many members of our community continued to serve on campus throughout the pandemic, others returned to full-time on campus activity in September, and a number of staff are participating in our pilot hybrid work program. Our COVID positivity rate in asymptomatic individuals, most recently 0.34%, has been below 0.5% for the past eight weeks. Our vaccination rates for students, staff, postdocs, and faculty are all above 97%. And we have accomplished all of this while successfully adapting as a community to regular testing (twice a week for those with exemptions) and vigilant mask-wearing.
In this light, we are very pleased to inform you that the hybrid work program being piloted during the fall term will be continued for the spring semester, and we thank every member of our community for helping to sustain our historic missions of education and research during this pandemic.
As an additional gesture of gratitude, the University winter break will be extended by two business days to include Monday, January 3 and Tuesday, January 4. Please consult your supervisor if you are defined as essential personnel or are otherwise required to work on those days, so that alternatives can be put in place for you to use these days at other times. CPUP physicians and Health System employees should follow Health System guidelines.
As we approach the holiday season, we encourage you to celebrate how far we have come in the past 18 months, while remaining cautious and vigilant about our shared public health. We strongly encourage all members of our community to have a COVID test before any holiday travel and social events. You can get a free walk-in test at any time on campus, and testing hours will be expanded to include the Sunday before Thanksgiving (November 21), as well as all three weekdays before Thanksgiving. You can find the full holiday testing schedule, including both Thanksgiving break and winter break, on the Penn Coronavirus website. We expect to resume our gateway testing program for the community at the start of next semester; we will have more details as January gets closer.
We thank you again for your resilience and flexibility as we move forward, and we wish everyone a joyful and safe Thanksgiving holiday.
Amy Gutmann, President
Beth Winkelstein, Interim Provost
Craig Carnaroli, Senior Executive Vice President
J. Larry Jameson, Executive Vice President for the Health System