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Penn announced a suspension of normal university operations on Jan. 19 due to inclement weather. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

Penn announced that normal University operations will be suspended Friday due to winter weather, the first such suspension in nearly three years.

Employees are not expected to work unless designated as essential as a result of the suspension of normal University operations, according to a Thursday night statement from the Division of Public Safety. According to available University policy, classes will also not report in-person. Employees designated as essential include those in DPS, Dining Services, Facilities and Real Estate Services, and all University of Pennsylvania Health System physicians and staff.

Panhellenic rush — which is currently in progress — will also be made virtual on Friday, according to four sources familiar.

The announcement encouraged Penn community members to “please exercise caution and take your time in traveling to campus,” and to “utilize public transit if available.” It was released as a UPennAlert at 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 18. 

According to an earlier email on Jan. 18 from Provost John Jackson Jr., Senior Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, and Vice President for Public Safety Kathleen Shields Anderson, the information was also conveyed through the University’s notification phone line and KYW News Radio.

The email, which was sent to all undergraduate students, detailed the University’s policies for weather-related campus operation modifications — including that employees are “generally not expected to work” unless designated essential. It also suggested that — with prior administration approval and notification to employees — fully online academic programs, executive format programs, and programs operating from different locations may have different closing decisions.

The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported that up to six inches of snow are expected in Philadelphia on Friday. Snow rates are expected to increase around 10 or 11 a.m. and continue until approximately 4 p.m., with almost all snow stopping before midnight.

Philadelphia previously declared a state of emergency which would begin at 7 a.m., according to the Inquirer. SEPTA also advised that — while it will be operating at a normal schedule for the early part of the day — riders can expect delays later.

Earlier on Thursday, Superintendent Tony Watlington Sr. announced that all Philadelphia School District school buildings will be closed on Friday. Several other nearby school districts announced their closure.

Under a suspension of operations, all Wharton buildings are closed, including Jon M. Huntsman Hall and Steinberg-Dietrich Hall.