Penn will open on-campus housing for the upcoming spring semester with the majority of classes still being taught remotely.
Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, and Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson sent an email to the Penn community on Friday morning announcing that undergraduate students will be required to be tested twice weekly for COVID-19 and graduate students will be tested once weekly. Penn will create seven new testing sites in addition to the current site at Houston Hall.
Students living on-campus will be housed in single bedrooms with a maximum ratio of six students to one bathroom. Housing assignments are forthcoming with a priority given to first, second, and fourth-year students wishing to live on campus.
Most classes will continue to be delivered remotely with limited exceptions for courses with clinical experiences and in-person research required for graduation. The Penn administrators wrote that they "expect to see a modest increase in in-person instruction during the spring semester."
All core curricula will remain available in remote delivery platforms so that students who wish to remain away from campus may still partake in all activities.
Students will be required to enroll in PennOpen Pass as well as receive a flu shot before returning to campus.
Students who wish to return to campus will also be expected to self-quarantine within their immediate "pods" for two weeks prior to the first day of class on Jan. 20. Students will still be required to follow the Student Campus Compact and to wear a mask and socially distance in all public spaces.
The email read that the University has been able to "dramatically expand" testing capacity with the support of Penn Medicine. Penn will be utilizing a saliva-based testing system that will be administered at eight sites across campus, according to the email.
"At difficult times like these character really matters," the Penn administrators wrote. "The grace and determination of the entire Penn community have been inspiring. Continuing to work together, we are confident that the spring semester will be a good and productive one."