In-Person Instruction

Students meet in the assigned classroom at the time assigned in the course schedule. Students are expected to attend all classes in-person unless they are ill or otherwise unable to attend class. In the event of occasional and/or temporary absence, students will follow the attendance policy of the University, with some flexibility.

In the event of an extended absence from an in-person class, the University will work with the student to identify communication and collaboration tools appropriate for the student to successfully complete the course to the extent available. In the event of a change in circumstance that would impact a student’s ability to attend in-person prior to the start of the fall 2020 semester, the University will work with the student on the selection of an alternate course.

Place: Room is assigned.
Time: Days and times are assigned.
LionPATH code: CP – COVID In-Person


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Why It Works

  • preferred method of instruction for students who choose resident instruction at a campus/college
  • familiarity from both student and faculty perspectives
  • strong student engagement in the learning process with a wide variety of teaching-strategy options that can be learner-centered with the learners efficiently and effectively a part of a learning community
  • no additional instructional preparation needed for faculty or students, with the exception of masking, physical distancing, and contact tracing considerations
  • students are expected to attend all classes in-person
  • in the event of occasional and/or temporary absence, students will follow the attendance policy of the University, with some flexibility
  • in the event a student has an extended absence, access to content should, whenever possible, be made available with tools to connect remotely

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Policies, Guidelines, and Documents

Frequently Asked Questions

Review the following frequently asked questions about in-person instruction. For additional information, read all frequently asked questions.

In-Person Instruction

Lab instructors must adhere to specially designed requirements and guidelines provided to academic units. Masking and physical distancing guidelines apply. For specific precautions to take, see the Universal Masking and PPE Recommendations.

Undergraduate and graduate students are permitted to continue working in labs if they are in town. Students may not request to remain in an on-campus residence hall solely for the purpose of working in a lab. Undergraduate students, graduate students, external visitors, and visiting scholars must receive prior approval from the relevant academic dean for them to continue on-campus research. Those who are already approved to work on campus do not need to be re-approved. All students and visitors must adhere to the standard operating procedures of the lab and be part of the person-count for square footage, scheduling, and any other relevant considerations. Instructors cannot and should not require undergraduate or graduate students to come to campus, and undergraduate and graduate students who conduct on-campus research must be included in the research reductions and approaches to de-densification.

All courses, including graduate courses, will move to an online instructional format after November 20, 2020.

Graduate and undergraduate students currently undertaking research in person are permitted to continue doing research in labs after the Thanksgiving holiday in accordance with the guidance from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. Learn more about the requirements for continuing to conduct research as an graduate or undergraduate student.

Graduate students at Penn State Law, Dickinson Law, or the College of Medicine have additional guidance. Penn State Law classes at University Park will continue in their hybrid format through Tuesday, November 24, 2020, the last day of Penn State Law classes. Dickinson Law classes will continue in their hybrid format through November 24, 2020, and classes will be held in a fully remote format from Monday, November 30, through Friday, December 4, 2020. At the College of Medicine, all pre-clinical courses for MD and PA students, and all graduate studies courses, will move to an online instructional format after Friday, November 20, 2020. Medical and physician assistant students in clinical rotations and clerkships will continue their patient-care activities in hospital and office settings following the Thanksgiving holiday. They must adhere to all hospital policies for the use of PPE, hand hygiene, and physical distancing in patient-care settings.

If a student is exhibiting symptoms in a classroom, the instructor is empowered to ask the student to leave the class and to see a health care provider. The student should not return to class until they are no longer exhibiting symptoms or have been cleared by a health care provider and can provide proof of clearance to the instructor. If the student refuses to leave, the instructor should follow the guidance in the classroom guidance document (PDF)

See University guidance on what to include in course syllabi about the mask requirement (PDF).

In addition, see Penn State syllabus requirements outlined in Faculty Senate Policy 43-00, including a number of example syllabus statements

Be sure to check with your college or campus regarding locally mandated syllabus policies. 

For this instructional mode, consider adding a brief description of how you will conduct class in this mode and your expectations for students’ participation. You might address questions like, should students be active during whole-class discussions and should they participate in small group activities by speaking with each other or by using online communication and collaborative tools?

Instructors should follow Faculty Senate Policy 42-27, Class Attendance, which identifies examples of legitimate, unavoidable reasons for absence, such as illness, injury, military service, family emergency, or religious observance. Instructors should accommodate student absences with flexibility during this pandemic period, especially as we don’t want students who feel ill to think that they should attend class so that their grade is not negatively impacted by an absence. 

Other general resources about attendance requirements as a part of participation in the course:  

While you are not required to take attendance for your in-person course, if you want to take attendance, consider the following options: 

  • Integrate iClickers into live sessions.
  • Develop a participation survey/quiz for students to complete after each in-person session. Ask students to either expand on content discussed or ask questions they would like covered in future sessions. 
  • Create a reflection assignment (e.g., one thing I learned, one thing I still have a question about).

Remote students can collaborate in Zoom or using digital tools such as Canvas groups or Microsoft Teams that provide workspace, communication, and file sharing. Students have many other online applications to collaborate remotely (i.e., Zoom, Google, etc.). 

If you have made special arrangements for some of your students who are out for a period of time to connect remotely during class, consider dedicating some of your in-person class time for groups of students to work on projects either face-to-face or in Zoom break-out rooms.

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Resources for Enhancing Your Teaching

The following instructional resources have been curated by educational developers and instructional designers and reviewed by faculty throughout the University. They are offered in the spirit of support for instructors who need to learn teaching in new modalities or who want to enhance their teaching effectiveness in familiar modalities.

On-Demand Resources

These resources are for faculty who prefer to learn on their own, with a “give me the information and I’ll apply what works for me” approach.

Collaborative Resources

These resources are for those who prefer to talk with colleagues or someone with expertise in learning or course design.

“Explore Links and the Web” Resources

These resources are for instructors who prefer to do their own web research, exploring links and making conceptual and practical connections.

  • Finding Open Educational Resources (OER)A guide to finding and using OER for your courses
  • Open at Penn StateA broader guide to affordable, discoverable, and equitable access to information, scholarly research, educational resources, and research data within the University community
  • Accessibility at Penn StateA site explaining how to ensure web pages and digital documents can be made accessible for users with different disabilities

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