As of March 23, Penn State masking guidelines have been updated. Please check the University Health Guidelines for testing and masking options and other details.

Health and Safety

For the most up-to-date information about health guidelines, visit the Penn State Health Guidelines page.

For the most up-to-date vaccine information, visit the Penn State Vaccine Information page.

Policies, Guidelines, and Recommendations

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: The Health and Safety FAQs are being updated frequently. Check back often for the latest information.

Health and Safety

The Penn State Student Quarantine and Isolation document describes how you will be notified if a student in your class is in quarantine or isolation and the role faculty can play in contact tracing efforts.

For guidance on working with students who test positive for coronavirus or who find themselves in special circumstances created by this crisis, please see this FAQ.

Refer to University Faculty Senate Policy 42-27 on Class Attendance. Keep in mind that you can’t adjust the grading scheme for a student who misses assignments. All students must have the same opportunity to earn grades that you outlined in your syllabus.

Instructors are encouraged to communicate their contingency plans in advance so that students are aware of expectations in case of a temporary instructor or student absence.

For undergraduate students who become ill near the end of the semester, faculty have the option of assigning deferred grades under Senate Policy 48-40.

For graduate students who become ill near the end of a semester, refer to policy GSAD-906 Graduate Student Leave of Absence.

Resources have been created to help guide instructors in cases where students and/or faculty test positive for COVID-19 and need to be absent.

For detailed information about contact tracing, the definition of close contact, and the contact tracing process, review the Contact Tracing page on the Virus Info website.

For the most up-to-date masking guidance, refer to the Health Guidelines page on the Virus Info website.

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. For classroom and syllabus guidelines, including information about what to do if a student fails to adhere to masking requirements, refer to the COVID-19 Classroom Guidance page on the Student Affairs website.

The Office of Physical Plant will supply and maintain a canister of disinfectant wipes in each General Purpose Classroom, Departmental Classroom, and “Open” Computer Lab. The wipes can be used by instructors and students to disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as desktops, podiums, door handles, light switches, etc. Use of the wipes is not a requirement in between classes, but is an option made available if disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces is desired. OPP Custodial will be disinfecting these rooms once daily, Monday through Friday, so the use of the wipes can be a supplement in between these cleanings. Frequently touched surfaces in these rooms include, but are not limited to, chairs, light switches, door handles, computers, keyboards and mice, touch screens, tables, trash receptacles, recycling receptacles, printers, desktops, podiums, and chalk tray rails.

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