Health and Safety

Guidance is provided on the use of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the classroom and on campus to ensure the safety of our instructors, staff, and students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mask Up or Pack Up Penn StateMask Up or Pack Up

Penn State launched a new public health campaign, Mask Up or Pack Up, designed to promote COVID-19 mitigation efforts and protect those most vulnerable.

Learn more about Mask Up or Pack Up on Penn State News

Frequently Asked Questions

Review the following frequently asked questions about health and safety. For additional information, read all frequently asked questions.

Health and Safety

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health guidelines, wearing face masks and adhering to physical distancing practices, including maintaining six feet of physical distance between people, are critical components in helping to maintain the health and safety of the entire campus community. Students, employees, and visitors are required to practice physical distancing and wear face masks/coverings when inside campus buildings, including in classrooms, labs, offices, and other public spaces, and the University is expecting that individuals also will wear a mask when outdoors on campus and in the community.

To aid in this effort, the University purchased 500,000 masks to be distributed across all campuses for people who need them. In addition, distance markers, directional arrows, signs, and other visual cues will be installed in high-traffic areas, classrooms, common areas, study spaces, and other shared locations, which also will be reconfigured with physical distancing principles in mind. Tables, chairs, and lounge furniture will be rearranged and/or blocked for use in some locations, and posting of maximum occupancy and do-not-congregate signs for most areas will become the norm, in accordance with the governor’s higher education guidance.

To help create a safer learning, living, and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff, new classroom policies will be in effect this fall across Penn State’s campuses in alignment with public health recommendations and Gov. Tom Wolf’s requirements for higher education institutions. Specific policy guidance is expected to be posted soon to the Office of Student Conduct website.

To reduce the risk of widespread virus transmission, wearing face masks and physical distancing will be required for all students and employees in classrooms, labs, offices, and campus buildings. Students and employees also should practice physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, and wear face masks while on campus, as well as within their local communities in line with local and state requirements.

If you fail to meet masking and physical distancing guidelines in a way that puts others at risk, you may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and required to participate in the University’s conduct process. Employee violations of these requirements should be directed to the appropriate academic department and/or Office of Human Resources.

The Penn State Student Affairs website provides comprehensive information about COVID-19 including what to do if you feel sick, contact tracing, and quarantine/isolation.

If you are quarantined, you may be able to attend class remotely. Your instructor will provide guidance on remote attendance or how absences will be handled if remote attendance is not available. Once you know you need to be quarantined, you should contact your instructors and your academic adviser.

Effective immediately, all students are strongly encouraged to complete a daily symptom checker to self-screen for potential COVID-19 symptoms before returning to campus. Students can access the COVID-19 symptom checker in the Penn State Go mobile app. Download Penn State Go from Google Play Store and Apple App Store

New users will be prompted to select their Penn State Go Experience when they start using the app. You can select from University Park, World Campus, or individual Commonwealth Campus Experiences in the app to view the Coronavirus Resources section for access to the daily COVID-19 symptom checker. 

Users who had previously downloaded Penn State Go will need to update the app to view the Coronavirus Resources section for access to the daily COVID-19 Symptom Checker. 

For more information, visit the Penn State Go website and learn about its features.

No. All students must wear masks; wearing a clear face shield does not satisfy the requirement.

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