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Members of the Penn community can play at the Hamlin Tennis Center for free this semester.

Credit: Amelia Sharpe

As the Penn community awaits the University's decision on spring 2021 operations, some of Penn’s on-campus buildings and operations have reopened for students in a limited capacity.

Three weeks before the start of fall classes, Penn announced its decision to scratch its plans for a hybrid semester that guaranteed on-campus housing for first years, sophomores, and transfer students in the College House system. Students dealing with “significant housing or personal hardships" could apply for on-campus housing, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett wrote in the Aug. 11 email.

Though Gutmann wrote that there will be no physical on-campus activities this semester, students in Philadelphia have limited access to facilities such as the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, Penn Park, the Hamlin Tennis Center, and the Penn University Archives Reading Room.

Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center

Penn Libraries announced on Oct. 20 that a limited number of seats would be available in Van Pelt for students to study individually. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students must be living in on-campus housing and be a part of Penn’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program to reserve a seat. 

Van Pelt’s ground floor is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday as part of the pilot program

Students who qualify to study in Van Pelt must make a reservation online for a minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours. In order to enter the library, students will be required to show a PennOpen Green Pass and confirmation of their reservation, which must be made at least four hours in advance.

Once inside the library, students must abide by safety precautions outlined in the Student Campus Contact, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Students will not be allowed to eat or drink while they are inside the library.

Credit: Yoon Chang A limited number of seats are available in Van Pelt for students to study individually.

Penn Campus Recreation

Franklin Field, Penn Park, and Hamlin Tennis Center are open for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and Penn graduates to participate in socially distanced activity.

Penn Recreation announced the re-opening of Franklin Field and Hamlin Tennis Center for free recreational activity in an email to the Penn community on Oct. 15. Students do not have to be living in on-campus housing to use the facilities but must be participating in surveillance testing.

"This resumption of activity is not an indication of plans for the spring semester," Penn Campus Recreation wrote in the Oct. 15 email. "More comprehensive details on plans for the spring semester will be released by the University at a later date."

The Franklin Field Track and Turf are for individual conditioning only, with the use of personal water bottles, stretching bands, foam rollers, and ankle and wrist weights permitted. 

Adams Field and Dunning-Cohen Champions' Field located at Penn Park are also only available for individual physical activity. Adams Field has lacrosse goals, soccer goals, and field hockey cages, while the DCC Field has soccer goals, field hockey cages, and football goal posts appropriately placed to allow for social distancing.

Students can partake in Franklin Field Outdoor Bootcamp offered every Wednesday at 12 p.m. on the turf of Franklin Field. Registration opens one week prior to the bootcamp and is limited to eight slots.

For open recreation on Franklin Field and at Penn Park, patrons must reserve 45-minute sessions on the hour, with the remaining 15 minutes allocated to clean the turf, track, and stadium. For use of tennis courts, patrons must reserve one-hour sessions.

Those who wish to use the facilities must present a PennOpen Green Pass.

Franklin Field and Penn Park are open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Hamlin Tennis Center is open Monday through Friday 8 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"This opportunity to participate in physical activity will serve as a resource for mental and emotional support for those who are not currently living at home and have been isolated or lacking physical activity since they have returned to Philadelphia," Penn Campus Recreation wrote.

Student Health Service & Counseling and Psychological Services

Both SHS and CAPS are holding in-person and telehealth appointments throughout the semester.

SHS, located at 3535 Market Street, is holding in-person clinical appointments Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. SHS telehealth appointments are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Students must schedule an appointment by calling 215-746-3535, and same day appointments are available. After hours and during weekends, students with any urgent concerns can call the SHS phone number and press option three to speak with the on-call provider.

In-person CAPS appointments at 3624 Market Street are available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Virtual CAPS appointments are available Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students must call 215-898-7021 and press option two to schedule either an in-person or virtual appointment. Those who wish to meet a CAPS staff member in person must call the number to be approved for an in-person appointment before coming into the office.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

Tables in 1920 Commons are spaced and marked to promote social distancing.

1920 Commons

1920 Commons, Gourmet Grocer, and the Starbucks at Commons are the only on-campus dining options available to students this semester. Commons, which is open to students on a Penn Dining meal plan, is offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends.

Penn decided to open Commons following a pilot program that took place earlier this month. On Oct. 7, Penn Dining invited all RAGAs to participate in the four-day pilot program in which they could sign up for 30-minute time slots to eat meals inside Commons. Although there are 95 RAGAs on campus, only six elected to participate in the pilot program, citing coronavirus concerns. 

Penn University Archives and Records Center

The University Archives Reading Room located at 3401 Market Street reopened on Oct. 26 for limited access for faculty and staff as well as students who need in-person access to the archives for any course.

The room is open on Mondays and Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments for a maximum of two hours per day must be made at least three business days in advance.

Students and staff who wish to utilize the reading room must contact Public Services Archivist Timothy Horning to reserve an appointment. In order to enter the building, individuals must show a PennOpen Green Pass and adhere to the Student Campus Contact.

Penn Museum

After four months of closure, Penn Museum reopened to the public on July 28 under COVID-19 prevention measures.

Visitors must book "timed tickets" for one of three different two-hour blocks offered Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 30 minutes between the time blocks allow staff to clean the Museum in between the waves of visitors, Director of Museum Services Edward Reidell told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Visitors are permitted to bring personal bottled water but no other outside food or drink is allowed. 

The Museum Café has opened for limited hours, Tuesday through Friday 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Penn Museum's Warden Garden, Stoner Courtyard, and Mosaic Courtyard are open for visitors to enjoy picnics while socially distancing. 

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