Students & Families

A Message to Penn Undergraduates

 

April 09, 2020 - We know that the past few weeks have been very challenging, and we are immensely grateful for your patience and mutual support of each other as we all navigate these unprecedented times. While we are encouraged by the ways in which our Penn community has come together to adapt to learning and teaching remotely, as well as balancing the demands that this pandemic has put on all of us, we also recognize that the disruptions to our semester have been, and will continue to be, substantial.

Along these lines, we are writing with some major academic updates related to this semester. We have decided to extend the deadline for all undergraduate students, across the four undergraduate Schools, to change the grade type in any course for the Spring 2020 term. You have until Wednesday, April 29 – the last day of classes – to choose to take any course pass/fail. As we wrote before in our message on March 20, courses taken on a pass/fail basis in Spring 2020 may be used to satisfy major, concentration, minor, and general education requirements. You must “opt in” to this expanded pass/fail option, and any courses taken on a pass/fail basis during Spring 2020 do not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail according to the policy of your School.

We encourage all students to take advantage of the expanded pass/fail option this term and want to ensure students will not feel penalized for doing so. We have heard concerns from students about feeling pressure to continue taking courses for a letter grade. Therefore, we have also decided to suspend awarding Dean’s List for the 2019-2020 academic year. We know some of you will find this news disappointing. However, there will be a notation placed on every undergraduate’s transcript to recognize and honor the extraordinary disruption to the Spring 2020 term and the changes in academic policies. While we expect that graduate schools and employers will take a holistic approach to reviewing students’ records, we want to ensure we have done what we can to note these policy changes on your academic records.

We are confident that our great Penn faculty, staff and students will continue the outstanding efforts of this semester and are mutually committed to supporting each other. At the same time, we know that many challenges still lie ahead. That is why we are providing these expanded academic supports for all undergraduates this semester. We strongly encourage you to discuss your plan with your academic advisor in the days and weeks ahead.

Thanks to all of you as we together continue our most profound mission of education at Penn. We will continue to keep you informed as the semester moves forward.

 

Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Beth Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education
Steven Fluharty, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Geoffrey Garrett, Dean, Wharton School
Vijay Kumar, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Antonia Villarruel, Dean, School of Nursing

 


An Update on Housing and Dining Credits

April 09, 2020

 

Dear Students,

In the face of all the challenges that we are experiencing, we are encouraged by the strengthened sense of community visible in countless instances. And even as we adhere to the medical directive of “social distancing,” the connectedness that is so often visible in our in-person encounters on Locust Walk can be just as manifest as we interact with one another virtually across the globe. We hope you continue to reach out to offices operating remotely for resources and support.

We understand you have been waiting for an update on Penn’s approach to crediting housing and dining fees for the remainder of the semester. Penn has been working around the clock to support students in this challenging time, and we thank you for your patience while we determined the best approach to processing these adjustments.

 

If you lived in a College House

College House residents required to depart (or not return to) campus will receive a credit on their student account. The value of the credit covers March 17 to May 13 – the period of time between the official move-out date and the last day of the housing contract. This credit will be pro-rated based on each family’s contribution toward the cost of attendance.

Students granted waivers to remain in their college houses due to extenuating circumstances are not eligible for this housing credit. Students approved to stay on campus who subsequently moved out after March 17 will receive a pro-rated credit based on the day of their departure.

 

If you were on a Dining Plan

Students no longer able to use the dining plans they purchased for the Spring 2020 semester will receive a credit on their student account. The value is based on a student’s total number of remaining meal swipes (calculated at the cost-per-swipe of their specific plan) and any remaining Dining Dollars (at a dollar-for-dollar ratio). Students who added swipes or Dining Dollars will receive a reimbursement at the purchase price.

If students continued to use their dining plans after March 17, those accounts will not be credited.

 

Next Steps

This will be reflected in your May billing statement. The credit for housing and/or dining will be first applied to satisfy outstanding balances on your student account, with the remainder refunded to you via your preferred payment method in Penn.Pay.

We have been grateful to hear from some families expressing interest in donating the value of their housing and/or dining credit to support Penn’s COVID-19 emergency efforts. If you are interested in this option, you can review donation options on the Power of Penn site.

If you have questions regarding your bill or financial assistance, please contact our colleagues in Student Financial Services at sfsmail@pobox.upenn.edu. If you have questions regarding housing/dining, please contact our colleagues in Residential & Hospitality Services at living@upenn.edu or dining@upenn.edu.

We know there are other questions that currently remain unanswered, and we are diligently working on providing those answers for you as soon as we can. We will continue to update you on next steps. In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and healthy and remember that there are a variety of Penn health and wellness resources that are open and available to you. We encourage you to join the many students who have successfully made use of them. Information on these resources can be found on the Penn Coronavirus website.

 

Sincerely,

Marie Witt, Vice President, Business Services

MaryFrances McCourt, Vice President, Finance and Treasurer

 


Student Health and CAPS Remain Available for Students

April 03, 2020 - As almost all of our Student Health, Campus Health and CAPS staff are considered essential personnel, we are able to continue to support our students’ physical and mental health needs amidst the stay-at-home order in the city of Philadelphia.

We offer both in-person and telehealth services to our students, connecting with students regardless of where they are.

Our Hours are Different

While only a core group of necessary clinicians from both Student Health and CAPS are temporarily co-located at 3535 Market to see students for in-person visits, our full complement of staff continues to support our students remotely via telehealth visits, either by phone or via teleconferencing, weekdays during regular business hours. This system enables us to provide our full complement of services to students while ensuring the safety and health of our providers. As previously, students continue to have access to clinicians from both services during off-hours for urgent concerns.

In-Person Visits

  • Monday through Friday
  • 9:30am - 1:30pm

Telehealth (phone or videoconferencing)

  • Monday through Friday
  • 9:30am - 4:30pm

After-hours

On-Call Clinician for Urgent Issues (SHS):

  • 215-746-3535, Option 3

24/7 Access to a Clinician (CAPS):

  • 215-898-7021, Option 1

Looking Out for the More Vulnerable

We are continuing and strengthening our partnerships with Student Intervention Services and Special Services in reviewing the range of student needs and concerns during these challenging times.  We are jointly developing care plans appropriate to each individual student situation. Some of these care plans involve evaluation of housing and dining needs; others require health assessments; some focus on mental health concerns; and of course, some entail coordination of the aforementioned.

Let’s Talk is now virtual

We continue to be available during the same hours, with the exception of evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday. The student can connect with a Let’s Talk counselor by calling 215-898-7021, press option 2, and let the front desk representative know that they would like to connect with the Let’s Talk counselor. The counselor will then connect with the student by phone or videoconferencing.

Promoting Health and Wellness

Campus Health remains even more so committed to its health education mission by promoting online content:

  • Marketed 15 minute daily exercise videos available for free on our Facebook page. These were created in partnership with Campus Recreation
  • Refresh (an online sleep intervention) and Sex Well Online (a pilot, online, sexual health education program) are online programs currently running
  • We’re filming our Wellness Educator, Sandi Herman, to make her guided meditations available in video format. (They already exist in podcast formats.)

 

Benoit Dubé, MD

Associate Provost and Chief Wellness Officer

Previous University Announcements

April 09, 2020 - A Message to Penn Undergraduates

  • We have decided to extend the deadline for all undergraduate students, across the four undergraduate Schools, to change the grade type in any course for the Spring 2020 term. You have until Wednesday, April 29 – the last day of classes – to choose to take any course pass/fail.

April 09, 2020 - An Update on Housing and Dining Credits

  • We understand you have been waiting for an update on Penn’s approach to crediting housing and dining fees for the remainder of the semester. Penn has been working around the clock to support students in this challenging time, and we thank you for your patience while we determined the best approach to processing these adjustments.

April 07, 2020 - Letter to Penn Community regarding COVID-19 Biased-Based Incidents

  • We have been alerted to bias-motivated attacks against members of the Asian and/or Asian-American communities in the Philadelphia region that have occurred since the outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus. We are also aware of other incidents of bias-motivated street harassment that have occurred to members of our community and throughout the nation.

April 03, 2020 - Message to Students From Benoit Dubé

  • Student Health and CAPS Remain Available for Students.  As almost all of our Student Health, Campus Health and CAPS staff are considered essential personnel, we are able to continue to support our students’ physical and mental health needs amidst the stay-at-home order in the city of Philadelphia.We offer both in-person and telehealth services to our students, connecting with students regardless of where they are.

April 01, 2020 - Message to the Penn Community About the Summer Session

  • We are writing now to let you know that our current remote learning plan will extend to all credit-bearing courses scheduled to begin on May 26, including both Summer Session I and the 11-week Summer Session. This decision, while not taken lightly, arises from the indefinite stay-at-home order in Philadelphia and the need to resume campus activities only when it is considered safe do so.

March, 27, 2020 - Message to Penn Faculty and Staff - Extension of Onsite Operations Suspension

  • Today we are announcing that the University of Pennsylvania’s interruption of all onsite operations, except for those that are life-sustaining essential employees, will continue until further notice. We will keep you updated well in advance when more information is available on an exact date for returning to onsite operations.

March 20, 2020 - Message to Penn Faculty and Staff Regarding University Operations

  • Consistent with an order issued by Governor Wolf late Thursday afternoon, the University of Pennsylvania is suspending all operations performed onsite except for those that are life-sustaining. Remote work is not impacted by this order and is expected to continue.

March 20, 2020 - Message to Penn undergraduates about pass/fail options

  • We have decided that all undergraduate students, across the four undergraduate Schools, may choose to designate any course pass/fail for the Spring 2020 term—including courses satisfying your major or general education requirements.

 

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