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A student waits outside the Upper Quad gate during Move-In on Jan 11.

Credit: Max Mester

As about 3,000 undergraduate students continue to move in to their on-campus residences, here's what you need to know about housing and dining for the spring 2021 semester.


Move-in for on-campus housing began on Jan. 10 and will continue until Jan. 17. Students have a two-hour move-in slot and are allowed one guest to help with the move-in process. 

Students will only have access to one move-in cart for the entire time slot, and multiple trips in and out are discouraged. There is also a limit of two suitcases, although students are permitted to have larger items shipped to their dorms.

Once students drop off their items and receive their PennCards, they should immediately get their gateway COVID-19 test and then return to their residence. Students will then enter a Quiet Period, during which they can only leave their residence for limited, essential movement. 


Several common spaces, such as group study spaces, mezzanine areas, and the rooftop lounges in the High Rises will be open, Director of Four-Year Houses and Residential Programs and Interim Director for Upperclass Houses Ryan Keytack wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Students using common areas will be required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. 

During the fall semester, residential advisors and graduate associates were concerned about their responsibility to enforce COVID-19 guidelines in common areas because they did not know if students were complying with the University's COVID-19 testing policy. RAGAs are expected to educate students about the policies governing common spaces and all individuals are "encouraged to hold each other accountable," Keytack wrote.

College Houses will provide virtual programming at the floor, hall, and House-wide level in collaboration with RAGAs, Keytack added.


First-year and transfer students living on campus are required to be on a dining plan, which costs $2,885 for the semester. Penn has increased the number of dining options from three in the fall to nine this spring to accommodate the larger number of students living on campus.

Students are encouraged but not required to schedule arrival times at the dining hall and pre-order food from open retail locations on the PennEats app to limit crowding.

Hill College House and 1920 Commons will be open for three meals a day Monday to Friday, and for brunch and dinner over the weekend. Falk Dining Commons will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and Lauder College House will serve dinner Monday through Thursday. Kings Court English House will be closed. The Cafe at McClelland will only be open to Quad residents for lunch and dinner in an effort to keep non-residents out of the Quad, Director of Business and Hospitality Services Pam Lampitt said. 

Gourmet Grocer, Starbucks at Commons, Houston Market, and Lauder College House Retail will be open for retail dining.

During the Quiet Period, which continues until Feb. 1, meals will be served in a “grab and go” format with no in-person dining. Students can choose one entrée, three sides, and one beverage for dining staff to pack up for them. Self-serve stations within the dining halls will be closed, and students will need face masks and a green PennOpen Pass to enter.

Credit: Max Mester

A masked student receives a pre-packaged "Grab-and-Go" lunch from the Hill dining hall on Jan 14.

Unlike last semester's pre-packaged meals, students will be allowed to choose what foods they want in an effort to decrease the amount of wasted food, Lampitt said. Penn Dining is also offering a more diverse menu compared to the fall because of the increase in students on campus. Options include fish, chicken, seared tofu, chicken caesar salad, pizza, and pasta.

After the Quiet Period ends, Lampitt said it is possible the dining halls will open for indoor dining, although self-serve options will remain closed.