Barring some exemptions for medical or religious reasons, all Penn students, faculty, and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester.
In April, Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett Gr’97, and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli W’85 announced that, before returning to campus, students would have to be at least two weeks past their final vaccine dose. Those who haven’t complied will be able to get shots at vaccination clinics provided by the University but will have to quarantine for two weeks after their first dose. International students receiving vaccines not approved in the US were to receive special instructions. The announcement added that flu vaccines will also be required in the fall.
While the University’s leadership left open the likelihood that some level of social distancing, mask wearing, and limitations on large in-person classes could remain in place, residence halls will be at normal occupancy and dining options will be expanded and expected to largely “resemble pre-pandemic configurations.” Also, Penn’s “academic policies regarding grading will return to their regular, pre-COVID standards.”
In a follow-up announcement, the University made vaccines a requirement for faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees, with a deadline of August 1. Faculty, staff, and postdocs who aren’t vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, or who won’t disclose their status in the personnel management system Workday, will have to keep participating in daily symptom checks, get tested weekly, and wear masks indoors. “Vaccinated individuals should expect to return to pre-pandemic conditions while on campus,” the announcement said, adding that the phaseout of other health measures instituted to fight COVID-19 will depend on “widespread vaccination of our employees.”
“Barring any significant new developments in the course of the pandemic,” move-in for the fall semester will begin on August 25. New Student Orientation (including programming designed for returning sophomores who missed out last year) will run from then through August 30, when Convocation for new students will be held, and the first day of classes will be August 31.
“We remain enormously grateful to everyone in the Penn community for the resilience you have demonstrated,” Gutmann, Pritchett, and Carnaroli wrote. “As we look ahead to the fall, we see the opportunity for a return to campus activities and interactions that are much more in keeping with what we have always known at Penn. We await that with great anticipation.”