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The administrators wrote that the paid day off given as a way to show appreciation for the cooperation, collaboration, and innovation that occurred among faculty and staff during the pandemic which has, as reported by some professors, doubled or tripled their workload due to virtual courses.

Credit: Chase Sutton

In the fall, Penn is providing all faculty and staff a paid day off as thanks for their work ethic and resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an email from Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, and three other University administrators. 

The email, sent on June 21 to all faculty and staff, stated that Penn will offer all staff members the opportunity to take an administrative day off during the fall semester with full pay by Dec. 31. Each school and academic center will be able to decide which date best supports its operations. Some may select a date for staff members, while others may allow their staff to select one.

"Penn’s remarkable success is attributable to your efforts along with those of so many talented and caring individuals united in dedication to Penn’s essential mission," the email read.

The administrators wrote that the paid day off was given as a way to show appreciation for the cooperation, collaboration, and innovation that occurred among faculty and staff during the pandemic. This team effort culminated in the success of an in-person Commencement ceremony on May 17 for the Class of 2021, the email wrote.

After Penn announced the shift to a fully remote semester in fall 2020, some professors reported that their workload doubled or tripled in order to run a virtual course. They had to adjust their teaching style and practices to accommodate students from every corner of the world with a range of timezones and living circumstances.

Reflecting upon the big changes to their instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, some professors said that the lessons they took from teaching during a pandemic were positive.

The announcement of the administrative day off follows Penn’s recent confirmation that the fall semester will be an in-person, on-campus experience after two and a half semesters of majority virtual learning.

"Over the past year the University made tremendous progress in our mutual mission of inclusion, innovation and impact," the email wrote. "Working together, we successfully concluded a year of pathbreaking research and world-class education under the most challenging of circumstances."

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