Penn's Coronavirus COVID-19 Page
Visit, the University’s dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 Wellness web page, for the latest updates including links to preventative health and travel advisories.

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Coronavirus Health and Safety

Workplace Resources for COVID-19 Control

April 19, 2021

As conditions change, this page may be updated at the discretion of the Provost and the Executive Vice President.

If you feel ill, please do not report to work.
Working while you are sick can endanger community health.

Complete the PennOpen Pass symptom check and follow the instructions provided, which may include self-isolation and COVID-19 testing.

Plans to Repopulate Campus

For more than a year, most faculty and staff have been working remotely. This was necessary to ensure health and safety on campus as the pandemic continued to spread. With vaccines now available and the worst of the pandemic appearing to be behind us, we expect to begin to repopulate campus. Most faculty and staff will return to their pre-COVID work schedules beginning in July. 

The return process will continue to be based on guidance from the city and Commonwealth health officials. The University continues to evaluate hybrid work options and will provide more information as we begin to phase-in the return to campus plans this summer

The University has developed a comprehensive guide for the return to in-person work, which is available at Penn's guide will be updated as public health guidelines evolve.

Spread the Love

Leave your messages of support, encouragement, and gratitude to frontline saff and they will be spread system-wide and delivered to our staff.

Share your notes of gratitude with Penn Medicine staff.

On-Campus Work

Before You Return to Campus

  • Read the Return to Campus Guide for Faculty and Staff for details.
  • Enroll in PennOpen Pass daily symptom tracking at
    We share a collective responsibility to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19. PennOpen Pass is a daily symptom tracker designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the Penn community.
  • Everyone entering Penn’s buildings, regardless of their role, should be wearing face coverings to prevent infections. Face coverings should be worn by all Penn faculty and staff. Face coverings should always cover your nose and mouth. Face coverings should be removed only for eating and if working alone in a closed office.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained even while wearing the face covering. 
  • Complete your required training, available online through KnowledgeLink.

Workplace and Home Precautions

Penn’s health and wellness community encourages everyone to take the following general precautions at work, home, and in your neighborhood:

Depending on the environment and your role, your school or center facility may have additional requirements. For further advice, contact your supervisor or Penn EHRS.

Face Covering Guidance from Penn EHRS

(EHRS details on mask and PPE Guidance for Essential Lab Personnel).

Acceptable Face Coverings for General Use

Any style of face covering provided by the University will meet the CDC’s performance requirements.

  • Surgical-style face coverings are a preferable face covering as they provide a lower breathing resistance than cotton face coverings. Surgical-style face coverings are constructed in a similar manner as surgical face coverings but are not manufactured for clinical use nor do they carry FDA approval. 
  • Two-ply cloth face coverings made with tightly-woven 100% cotton fabric of at least 185 grams per square meter (gsm)--excluding the loops and edging materials—are acceptable. Masks consisting of three layers of 150 gsm (or higher) tightly-woven cotton are also acceptable.
  • Face coverings should:
    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • Be large enough to cover the wearer’s face from nose to chin
    • Be secured with ties or ear loops (bandanas, scarves, and neck gaiters do not meet this requirement).
    • Reusable cotton cloth face coverings should also washable.

No respirators with exhalation valves, including N95 or KN95 respirators, will be accepted. Their design does not meet the requirements of Penn’s Universal Face Covering Policy because the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to be released.

Note that some schools or centers may not permit home-made or personally-purchased face coverings to be worn at work. Check with your supervisor for your unit’s guidelines.

This directive is based on the CDC’s recent guidance that the use of face coverings may be effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 from an individual who is infected but asymptomatic (seems well even though they carry the virus). Penn will provide the masks for essential life-sustaining employees. Essential employees should speak with their managers about obtaining masks. Details about how to use, reuse, remove and store masks can be found at on the EHRS website.

Temporarily Removing Face Coverings

When removing a used face covering, individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth and wash hands immediately after removing.

  • Masks should only be temporarily removed when eating. 
  • Any time a mask is removed, it must be stored in a storage bag. (see storage below)
  • Do NOT place masks on counters, computers, etc.
  • Avoid touching the outer surface while removing the mask.
  • Perform hand hygiene (wash with soap and water or use hand sanitizer) after handling mask.

Visit for illustrated instructions.

Use good hand hygiene:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially  after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
illustration of washing hands for 20 seconds

Stop the spread of germs:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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Stay home if you are feeling sick:

    • If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical attention.

      "Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19."--CDC
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    Human Resources-related Guidance for Supervisors and Staff

    Penn Sources

    Guidance for Managers on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    COVID-19 Sick Time and Leave Guidance

    Penn Human Resources Policy Manual

    Penn Health Insurance and COVID-19

    Other Guides for Higher Education

    CDC Interim Guidance for Higher Education

    OSHA Guidance on COVID-19 and Worker Safety

    What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the Coronavirus (EEOC)

    Office for Civil Rights Bulletin on HIPAA Privacy and COVID

    American College Health Association's Brief and Resources

    Guidance for Faculty

    • Faculty are required to work with their departments and schools to meet their teaching and mentoring obligations if online instruction becomes necessary. Faculty cannot opt out of online measures. If teaching moves online for the remainder of the spring semester while the University remains open, faculty are expected to remain on campus for other activities and responsibilities as directed by their dean or department chair.
    • Faculty normally travel frequently to conferences and meetings, domestically and abroad. However, all Penn-related business travel has been suspended. The suspension includes travel for scholarly and professional conferences, meetings, and research.
    • Faculty should not make risky personal travel plans that may interfere with their ability to fulfill their teaching and other faculty responsibilities due to future quarantines or unexpected delays.

      Self-quarantine is required of all faculty who have travelled in areas greatly affected by the virus. Do not come to your campus office or facilities during self-quarantine.
    • Faculty who are ill and unable to work should inform their department chairs, deans or campus HR/benefits staff to discuss paid and unpaid leave options. 
    • Faculty in their probationary periods should speak to their chairs, dean or the Vice Provost for Faculty about probationary period extensions if their research is seriously interrupted for an extended period by corona-related illness, whether their own or vital members of their labs or teams.
    • Faculty in clinical roles that expose them to communicable illnesses should take all the recommended precautions. 

    Penn Department Websites

    Penn Global Heightened Travel Risk Homepage

    Register Your Trip – Register your Penn-affiliated trip to keep you connected to Penn resources

    Penn Abroad

    Campus Health Coronavirus Disease Updates Page

    Penn's COVID-19 Task Force

    A University-wide task force has been charged with reviewing—and updating as needed—our existing pandemic planning procedures. It is led by Dr. Benoit Dubé, Chief Wellness Officer, and Michael Fink, Deputy Chief for Tactical and Emergency Readiness of the Penn Police, working with experts across campus and coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government agencies.