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Penn administration credited the success of University operations this fall to consistently low COVID-19 positivity rates and high vaccination rates.

Credit: Jesse Zhang

Penn's hybrid work program for staff will continue through the spring 2022 semester and staff winter break will be extended an additional two days, University administrators announced in a Wednesday morning email.

The email, authored by Penn President Amy Gutmann, Interim Provost Beth Winkelstein, Senior Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, and Executive Vice President for the Health System J. Larry Jameson, credited the success of University operations this fall to consistently low COVID-19 positivity rates on campus and high vaccination rates.

COVID-19 positivity rates have remained under 0.5% for the past eight weeks, and vaccination rates among students, staff, postdocs, and faculty are all over 97%, according to the email. On Oct. 12, the University announced that the vaccination rate for students reached 99%. The vaccination rate for faculty and undergraduates reached 97% in September 2021.

Winter break will be extended by two days to include Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 as a show of gratitude, the email stated.

Employees defined as essential workers may still have to work but are able to schedule alternative time off. Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania physicians and Health System employees will follow the guidelines set by the Health System, the email stated.

The administrators also encouraged members of the Penn community to get tested for COVID-19 before traveling for Thanksgiving break and winter break.

In anticipation of increased testing before Thanksgiving break, COVID-19 testing center hours will be expanded to include Nov. 21, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and the three weekdays preceding Thanksgiving.

“As we approach the holiday season, we encourage you to celebrate how far we have come in the past 18 months, while remaining cautious and vigilant about our shared public health,” the email stated. “We thank you again for your resilience and flexibility as we move forward, and we wish everyone a joyful and safe Thanksgiving holiday.”