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A sign outside of the Perelman School of Medicine reminds visitors that they must wear a face mask. Credit: Kylie Cooper

This is a developing story that was last updated at 8:24 p.m. on July 31. Please check back here for updates.

Of Penn's 12 schools — each of which houses programs for graduate students — eight have so far announced their plans for the fall semester. Each school that has announced a plan so far will implement a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction on campus, with varying levels of in-person instruction.

Annenberg School for Communication

Annenberg has not yet released a final decision regarding fall semester plans for its graduate programs. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Felicity Paxton wrote in a June 19 email to undergraduate Communication majors that all undergraduate Annenberg classes are “highly likely” to be held virtually in the fall.

Graduate School of Education

In a June 25 message, GSE dean Pam Grossman announced that all of the school's classes and activities will be offered virtually in the fall semester to ensure the health and safety of its community. There will be some exceptions for clinical and executive programs, Grossman wrote.

The school's fall classes will begin on Sept. 1. Dean Grossman wrote that while GSE hopes to return to in-person instruction in spring 2021, students can complete their spring coursework virtually as well if they wish to do so.

Students who agree to follow the Student Campus Compact will be allowed limited access to GSE buildings, and all GSE students will have access to Penn’s vast resources regardless of where they are living. The school plans to offer virtual opportunities for community-building and networking.

Penn Law

Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger announced in a June 25 statement that Penn Law will offer a mix of remote and in-person instruction. Classes offered in person may still incorporate an online component due to space constraints. 

Penn Law's fall classes will conduct in-person instruction from Sept. 8 until Nov. 25, and will hold final exams remotely. Online class registration will run from June 29 to July 17, and registration materials will indicate whether a class will be remote or in-person. 

Students are not required to return to campus in the fall, as the Law School will allow students to elect “in-person” or “fully remote” status.

Dean Ruger stated that students will have access to designated Law School facilities for studying purposes and for remote class attendance, but students must reserve these spaces in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and prioritize students’ safety. Students who stay on campus will be expected to follow the Student Campus Compact, and in-person extracurricular events will be restricted and limited to 25 people as per University guidelines.  

Perelman School of Medicine

Penn Med's curriculum for incoming first-year medical students will be delivered through a hybrid of virtual and in-person instruction according to an emailed statement from a Penn Medicine spokesperson. In-person activities will be limited to critical team-building exercises, clinical training, and anatomy, and will be conducted in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines and necessary PPE. 

The in-person curriculum for first-year students will begin on Aug. 10 and end on Nov. 25, followed by online exams.

A hybrid instruction model will be similarly implemented for rising second-year medical students. Classes for second-year students will begin on Aug. 24, but all second-year students must be onsite by Oct. 7 for immersive clinical training. A decision regarding when in person-instruction for second-year students will conclude will be made by Aug. 1. Third-year and fourth-year medical students will resume their clinical curriculum in person on July 6 with appropriate training and PPE. 

Nonclinical instruction for all students may be conducted online or in-person with recommended safety precautions.

School of Arts and Sciences  

SAS has not yet released information regarding plans for graduate programs this fall.

School of Dental Medicine

The Dental School has not yet released information regarding plans for the fall semester.

School of Engineering and Applied Science  

SEAS has not yet released information regarding plans for graduate programs this fall.

School of Nursing

Penn Nursing released a statement last month to its undergraduate and graduate students outlining its plans for the fall semester. Like the undergraduate program, graduate Nursing lectures, seminars, and discussion groups will be conducted virtually regardless of class size while nursing simulations, skills labs, and clinicals will be held in person. In-person courses will follow coronavirus guidelines, and students will be provided with PPE for clinicals. In order to remain in in-person clinicals, Nursing students must strictly adhere to the Campus Compact throughout the semester.

Orientations for new Nursing graduate students will be conducted virtually. Doctor of Nursing Practice students will be allowed to resume projects that require data collection in accordance with health and safety regulations, and Ph.D. student research will be consistent with the University’s Research Resumption plans.

School of Social Policy and Practice

In a June 26 statement, Dean Sara Bachman announced that SP2 will implement a hybrid model this fall that will prioritize the school's mission of social innovation, impact, and justice. SP2 classes will begin on Sept. 1, but students who are concerned about their health and safety are not required to take any in-person classes, as all in-person offerings will also be available online. 

All SP2 classes with more than 25 students will be delivered remotely, and classes with fewer than 25 students may be offered online or in-person based on safety and space considerations. Dean Bachman wrote that students will receive more information about their fall courses by the end of July. 

School of Veterinary Medicine

Dean Andrew Hoffman informed students via email that Penn Vet plans to utilize a hybrid model with both virtual and in-person instruction in the fall, Communications Coordinator John Donges wrote in an emailed statement to the DP. Penn Vet faculty are currently revising the fall semester curriculum so that hands-on activities, such as anatomy labs, clinicals, and surgical skills training, can be conducted in person in small cohorts. Penn Vet plans to conduct courses and some labs in an online format. 

As Penn’s veterinary teaching hospitals gradually return to normal operations this summer, Vet students on track to graduate in 2021 will resume in-person, modified clinical rotations starting on June 29. Full clinical rotations are planned to resume on Aug. 24. 

Penn Vet clinical students will be tested for COVID-19 before they arrive onsite for clinicals and will be re-tested as they relocate to and from Philadelphia’s Ryan Hospital and the New Bolton Center Campus. All other Penn Vet students will be tested when they first arrive on campus.

Stuart Weitzman School of Design

In a May 27 statement, Weitzman Dean Frederick Steiner announced that the Design School plans to provide a hybrid experience for its students through mostly online courses and some in-person instruction. Large lecture courses will be conducted virtually and some degree programs may be fully remote. Students are not required to return to campus if they do not wish to do so, as they will have the option of completing all of their coursework remotely. Professors will also be able to choose whether they wish to teach in person or fully remotely.

Weitzman Associate Dean for Administration Leslie Hurtig said that exact plans for each department vary, but some studio courses consisting of small groups of students or of individuals will be offered in-person. Weitzman facilities will utilize strict safety precautions, including screening students, faculty, and staff before they enter buildings. 

The school plans to offer additional courses during summer 2021 for new and continuing students in some of its programs, in efforts to ensure that students can fulfill their requirements on a flexible timeline. 

The Wharton School

The Wharton MBA program will be conducted through a largely remote model this fall after initially planning for a hybrid of in-person and online instruction, newly appointed Wharton dean Erika James announced in a program-wide town hall meeting on July 31.

Although tuition costs will not be adjusted, students can apply for financial assistance through the Wharton MBA Financial Relief Fund. The relief fund aims to support MBA students who incurred unexpected expenses related to COVID-19 disruptions, Vice Dean Howie Kaufold wrote to MBA students. 

To promote community engagement this fall, a newly launched "Remote Together" initiative will connect first and second-year MBA students in various cities to study together, prep for interviews, and socialize in "pods," which will also be connected to local alumni. 

The school has not yet released information regarding its fall plans for its other graduate programs.

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