Health Information and Guidance

Call Student Health with questions about COVID-19 or health-related travel questions at 215-746-3535. They have increased staff capacity in anticipation of increased call volume.

Students are strongly discouraged from using the Emergency Department except for emergency situations (e.g. difficulty breathing, chest pain).

  1. What health recommendations do you advise?

    For Penn students AND visiting scholars, if you start to feel unwell upon returning from travel, we recommend calling Student Health at (215) 746-3535.
    For all students, it is cold and flu season, and there are many steps you, and your peers, can take to keep yourself healthy and well:

    • Get a flu vaccine: They are free for students at SHS by online appointment or by phone (215-746-3535). For all other Penn Community members, they are available by walk-in at local pharmacies or by your primary care provider.
    • Use good hand hygiene: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Limit the spread of germs and illness: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
    • Stay home if you are feeling unwell; that includes classes and social activities. If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical guidance.
  2. Should we be using masks?

    Masks are only recommended for those experiencing symptoms. The evidence regarding using masks for prevention is mixed. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and CDC are not currently recommending masks for prevention of viruses. We appreciate this may not be consistent with other countries’ guidance.

  3. What does self-isolation mean?

    •  Stay at home and do not go to class, work, or participate in any campus activities.
    • Do not participate in social activities such as parties.
    • Do not share utensils, toothbrushes, water bottles, pillows, and avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging, or other intimate activities. Avoid close contact.
    • Order food & groceries online.
    • If you start to feel unwell, please call ahead to your medical care provider and mention your travel history. Penn students can call Student Health at 215-746-3535.
    • According to the CDC, isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.
  4. I have upcoming travel. Should I change my plans?

    For Penn students AND visiting scholars, if you start to feel unwell upon returning from travel, we recommend calling Student Health at (215) 746-3535.
    For all students, it is cold and flu season, and there are many steps you, and your peers, can take to keep yourself healthy and well:

    • Get a flu vaccine: They are free for students at SHS by online appointment or by phone (215-746-3535). For all other Penn Community members, they are available by walk-in at local pharmacies or by your primary care provider.
    • Use good hand hygiene: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Limit the spread of germs and illness: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
    • Stay home if you are feeling unwell; that includes classes and social activities. If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical guidance.
  5. What does quarantine mean?

    According to the CDC, quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease. 

  6. How do I stay up to date on the situation?

    Penn continues to monitor and provide updates here

    If you have any questions, please email coronavirus@upenn.edu.

  7. Are there cleaning guidelines I can follow?

    The University housekeeping staff has been actively following COVID-19 cleaning guidelines since January. Housekeeping does a full disinfectant cleaning every day. No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.    

    Business services is proactively sanitizing all the interiors of the Penn transit fleet daily with the recommended sanitizing solution. The exteriors of all vehicles are washed weekly and in some cases daily. At home, you can: 

    • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.    
    • Use disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.    
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.    
    • Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

     

    The EPA recommends these approved cleaning products for COVID-19: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf

    CDC recommendations on planning and preparing for coronavirus at home and school are available here.

  8. What action is recommended for different levels of exposure?

    • High Risk Exposure (e.g. roommate, sexual partner): you should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms
    • Medium Risk Exposure (e.g. same place same time for an extended time; within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes): you should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms
    • Low Risk Exposure (e.g. same place same time but large venue) : you should monitor for symptoms

Page Last Updated: March 09, 2020, 1:41pm