This site provides access to the most up-to-date information on Penn State's response to the coronavirus, as well as related campus-specific information.
KeepLearning.psu.edu: This dedicated website for students offers support for remote learning, resources for academic advising and tutoring, and contact information.
KeepTeaching.psu.edu: Course instructors visiting the site will find information on effective teaching, technology training, webinars and support as they update and teach their courses for the upcoming semester. The site also features a newly created guide for instructors specifically designed for preparing and teaching this fall.
VirusInfo.psu.edu: Penn State’s main website with links to the latest news and answers to frequently asked questions about the University’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The site’s resources page also contains links to dedicated resources for students and employees; information on testing, contact tracing and monitoring for the campus community; classroom and office guidance; and policies on masking and social distancing.
Penn State COVID-19 Compact: Before returning to campus, students are asked to verify that they understand the behavioral requirements and guidelines, via LionPath.
Given worsening virus conditions nationally and across the state and predictions of increased hospitalization rates in the coming weeks, Penn State leadership — in consultation with faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine, infectious disease and public health — made the decision that to best protect the health and safety of our communities we must postpone in-person classes and begin the spring semester in a fully remote learning environment. This decision is also In line with recommendations for higher education institutions from the Pennsylvania’s departments of Health and Education.
We are preparing for a remote start for classes on Jan. 19, and a return to campus on Feb. 15.
We recognize the critical importance of a return to an on-campus learning environment and are committed to bringing our students back to campuses at the right time, and in accordance with state and federal guidance.
We understand this delay will be a challenge. Throughout the remote period, the University will continue to provide support, engagement opportunities, and the same high-quality education to enable students to move forward with academic, personal and career goals.
We understand students may have concerns around being successful in a remote learning environment. We encourage you to check keeplearning.psu.edu, which includes a host of resources to support you, and to reach out to your academic adviser.
The “COVID-19 Student Testing Requirements” schedule and checklist will be helpful as students plans their return to their campus community.
There are important steps that students need to take before they arrive and/or go to campus:
If students’ test result are positive, they should isolate at home (or in their off-campus housing) and not return to their campus community. Contact tracing staff from Penn State will reach out to students to offer support and guidance on the length of time for isolation.
If students’ test result are negative, they should continue to limit interactions with those outside of their household and take health and safety precautions during travel to their campus community.
Students planning their return to campus should:
We recognize that this is a complicated process and situations are different for many students. If you have additional questions, please contact the COVID-19 Response Center at 814-865-2121.
For more information:
No matter when you plan to arrive on campus, you must be scheduled for classes and are required to adhere to the University's COVID testing requirement to be able to move into University Housing.
Details about the testing requirement are available online and include a timeline for students to follow.
If you wish to live in on-campus housing during the remote learning period:
For international and U.S. students with extenuating circumstances, Penn State will continue to provide on-campus housing, dining, residence life, and student health and well-being services. Please complete a Remote Learning Housing Request in eLiving as soon as possible to request this option.
Room and board charges for the Remote Learning period will be pro-rated based on your requested arrival day through February 11.
If you do not complete this survey or are not approved for Remote Learning Housing, you should plan to arrive in February for the in-person period of the spring semester. Only students who are approved for and have accepted a Remote Learning HFS Contract will be allowed to live on campus during the Remote Learning period.
If you plan to arrive to campus for the in-person period of the spring semester:
More information about arrival for the in-person portion of the spring semester will be shared in the upcoming weeks. Watch your email and visit arrival.psu.edu for updates.
If you are not planning to return to Penn State for Spring 2021:
Only students who are no longer attending Penn State or are scheduled for all remote classes and will be living at their permanent address for spring semester are eligible for cancellation. Students are not able to cancel the HFS Contract if they have in-person classes.
To contact the HFS Office, email [email protected] or call 814-865-7862.
Most offices at Penn State Berks will continue to work remotely and will deliver the same level of services to students. Due to social distancing requirements in our offices and lobbies, we cannot accommodate in-person visits as easily as in the past. We ask instead that you reach out to our offices by phone or email for appointments over Zoom. For a complete list of departments, visit our list of contacts.
How did you choose this return date, and what happens if the national and state outlook doesn’t improve or worsens?
Following the remote learning period that begins on Jan. 19, in-person classes are expected to resume across all campus locations on Feb. 15, though this date could change based on health and safety factors and guidance from the state. Feb. 15 was chosen following extensive analysis and scenario planning given worsening virus conditions nationally and across the state and predictions of worsening hospitalization rates in the coming weeks — which are expected to increase through January. In addition, a delayed start also will give more time for the majority of health care workers to receive the COVID vaccine by mid-February.
How will the University safely bring students back to campus? What are spring plans for testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine?
Planning for the return to campus will continue to move forward and additional details about Penn State's plans for the spring will be forthcoming. We recognize the critical importance of a return to on-campus learning and are committed to bringing our students back to our campuses at the right time, and in accordance with state and federal guidance. At this time, the University’s plans include an augmented testing strategy with required testing for all students prior to their arrival, post-arrival testing within the first two weeks of the semester for all students, on-demand testing for students and on-campus employees, and random daily surveillance testing of at least 1.5-2% of the on-campus University population. The University will also continue with strategic screening to identify location-based rises in cases, data monitoring, contact tracing, and quarantine and isolation, which will reflect new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
As part of the overall testing strategy, Penn State received provisionary approval for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification to perform COVID-19 diagnostic testing in the Testing and Surveillance Center (TASC) at University Park beginning this spring, which will support increased testing and a faster turnaround time for students, faculty and staff.
I’m a student. How do I get tested if I have to return to my campus community early?
Students are urged to postpone their return to their campus community unless it is necessary for work, academic-program-specific reasons or other important circumstances. Students who must return to their campus communities prior to Feb. 15 are required to participate in COVID-19 testing and have a negative COVID test result on file prior to their return to their campus community. Self-test kits will be provided to students at no cost. The University plans to have a test result on file for every student within 72 hours of their intended return. Students who have a positive test on file with the University from within the last 90 days do not need to complete this testing. If you must return to your campus community before Feb. 15, please follow the steps listed on virusinfo.psu.edu to make sure you complete the testing process before you return and to avoid delays due to the holiday season and shipping considerations.
I’m an international student. Should I change my travel plans back to my campus community if I’m currently out of the country?
The University recognizes the unique circumstances international students face, including uncertainties about individual travel arrangements, and is focused on offering ongoing support and guidance during this difficult time. International students planning to return to campuses for the spring semester should make plans for a remote start and are urged to postpone their return to their campus community until shortly before Feb. 15 unless it is necessary for work, academic-program-specific reasons or other important circumstances.
International students with questions or who need support can contact Global Programs by emailing [email protected]; visiting “iStart” and using the “submit a question” link; or by calling the Directorate of International Student & Scholar Advising at 814-865-6348 (option No. 2) and leaving your name, email and phone number. For international students who are living on campus through the winter break, the University will work with you on an individual basis to make special housing arrangements for a potential remote learning period. Students should contact their campus Housing office.
Will I be able to take remote courses as an international student during the remote learning period?
International students with questions or who need support can contact Global Programs by emailing [email protected]; visiting “iStart” and using the “submit a question” link; or by calling the Directorate of International Student & Scholar Advising at 814-865-6348 (option No. 2) and leaving your name, email and phone number.
I live on campus. Will I be able to return to my dorm to collect items before the start of in-person classes?
Residence halls and campus dining facilities will not be reopened for normal operation during the remote-learning period (beyond the facilities that are already in use). Students who live on campus should not come back to campus to collect belongs during the remote period. For students who need to retrieve essential belongings, arrangements for temporary access may be able to be made depending on circumstances, please contact their campus Housing office.
Are there places on campus where I can access my synchronous remote classes without having to return to my room or apartment?
Yes! The following spaces on campus will be made available to students as Remote Learning Rooms. Room scheduling/reservation not required unless otherwise noted. Please do not move furniture. Please use a headset or earphones for Zoom:
In addition, the following outdoor spaces are equipped with Wi-Fi:
Will on-campus housing continue to be available during the remote learning period for those currently living on campus for the winter break?
For students, including international students, who cannot make alternative housing arrangements and must return to campus during the remote learning period due to extenuating and/or compelling circumstances, the University will work with you on an individual basis to make special visit or housing arrangements. Students should contact their campus Housing office.
Will research labs and facilities remain open during the remote learning period?
On-campus research-related activities will continue to operate according to their established safety procedures.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the testing process for students?
Contact the COVID-19 Response Center at 814-865-2121 if you have specific questions about testing prior to your return.