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Penn is planning to hold its fall 2021 semester in person and on campus, and will require all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to returning to campus.

Credit: Max Mester

Penn community members who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask outdoors on campus, a major step towards a more normal fall semester.

The University announced the plan on Friday morning, shortly after the Philadelphia Department of Public Health said it would drop its outdoor mask mandate. Both the City of Philadelphia and Penn, however, will still require that masks are worn indoors until at least June 11, when the city plans to reevaluate the policy.

Director of Campus Health Ashlee Halbritter said that she — along with the University as a whole — was thrilled to be in a position to lift the outdoor mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated.

"We hope this further encourages those who have not yet been vaccinated to get their shot," Halbritter said. "The entire University should remain good Penn citizens to protect each other and our surrounding communities."

Penn had previously required all community members to wear masks regardless of vaccination status for the entirety of the spring semester, as well as after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that fully vaccinated people could take off their masks both indoors and outdoors. Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian on April 28 that University's policies are created with data regarding transmission, positivity, and vaccination rates within the Penn community.

"We acknowledge that this health guidance may differ from that provided at a state and federal level, but this guidance is based on evidence specific to our Penn population and surrounding communities," the Student COVID-19 FAQ page reads.

Earlier this week, Penn eased restrictions on travel and campus activity this summer, while continuing its testing protocol for students, faculty, and staff. The updated guidelines remove restrictions on Penn-affiliated travel, allow departments to host visitors on campus, and expand the permitted use of on-campus spaces.

Penn is planning to hold its fall 2021 semester in person and on campus, and will require all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to returning to campus.

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