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Penn Nursing clinicals and simulation and skills labs will be held in person this fall.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

All Penn Nursing lectures, seminars, and discussion groups, regardless of size, will be conducted online for the fall 2020 semester. 

The School of Nursing announced the decision to move the majority of its fall courses online in an email sent to all Nursing undergraduate and graduate students on Monday afternoon, sent by the Nursing Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health, Chair of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, and Assistant Dean for Admissions & Academic Affairs. 

Nursing clinicals and simulation and skills labs will still be held in person, the email read.  

In addition to resuming Nursing lab and clinical courses on campus, graduate and Ph.D. students will be able to resume research and "projects that require data collection" in accordance with guidelines developed by local research and healthcare facilities, as well as the University and School Research Resumption Plans.

Lectures, seminars, and discussion groups, as well as orientations for new students and academic advising, will be administered using a combination of Canvas, BlueJeans, and other necessary virtual platforms, the email read.

The announcement comes days after Penn's decision to conduct the fall semester in a hybrid model. According to the University FAQ ‘Student Campus Compact’ page, classes with more than 25 students will be recorded, and those with fewer than 25 students may have an in-person option, space permitted, and will be held in larger spaces. 

"While our goals as a school remain constant, we must also be mindful of new building-occupancy constraints as we confront the need for continued social distancing and other safety measures," the email read. "The use of Fagin Hall will prioritize skills-lab/simulation, clinical education, and research."

Students that participate in clinicals will be required to "strictly adhere" to the terms of the Student Campus Compact, a list of safety expectations written in an attempt to help ensure students' safety. Additional precautions will be put in place by lab course instructors and clinical sites, and students will receive necessary personal protective equipment either from the School or the clinical sites.

According to the email, students who do not follow all of these guidelines could be subject to removal from in-person activities and possible delayed graduation.

All Penn courses, including the vast majority of Nursing labs and clinicals, were moved online for the spring 2020 semester, which prevented many Nursing students from fulfilling hands-on requirements essential to graduate and receive Nursing licensure in the state of Pennsylvania.

The June 29 email also noted that "the format of courses offered in other Schools at the University will be determined by their respective departments." 

On Sunday, the Annenberg School for Communication's Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Felicity Paxton announced that it is “highly likely” that all undergraduate Communications classes will be held virtually for the Fall 2020 semester.