Penn will conduct its fall 2021 semester as a fully in-person, on-campus experience.
Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé sent an email to all undergraduate students on Thursday afternoon confirming the University's plan to hold the fall semester in person, and announcing that students will only be required to test once for COVID-19 upon arrival on campus. The announcement comes as the City of Philadelphia and Penn have been lifting nearly all COVID-19-related precautions in the past three weeks.
Fully vaccinated students will not be required to submit to any form of regular COVID-19 testing, as they had been in the spring 2021 semester. The University had previously been considering such a requirement.
The University previously announced that it would require all students — along with all faculty and staff — to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving on campus this fall. Exceptions to the vaccination requirement will only be provided for medical or religious reasons. Students who receive such exemptions will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19, Dubé wrote.
All students — regardless of vaccination status — will, however, be required to participate in Penn's COVID-19 gateway testing program between Aug. 9 and Sept. 3. The University will also not require students to quarantine upon arriving to campus or participate in a quiet period.
Penn previously announced it would lift nearly all indoor mask requirements for vaccinated community members. Dubé also wrote that these policies will continue in the fall, but emphasized that there is still a potential for things to change as the summer progresses.
"It is worth remembering that this guidance is subject to change depending on COVID-19 trends and positivity rates on campus and within the University's surrounding communities," Dubé wrote.
Even though masking will not be required for the majority of the Penn community, Dubé wrote that Penn "supports mask-wearing — whether you’re unvaccinated, protecting someone you love, or simply because you feel more comfortable."
The University will also end the use of PennOpen Pass for entering buildings, but it will still be required at campus healthcare facilities.