Old Main

Old Main is illuminated as the sun sets on Penn State's campus on Monday, March 18, 2019.

Penn State announced Sunday that it will reopen for in-person instruction during the fall 2020 semester, according to a Penn State News release.

Classes will begin as planned on Aug. 24. In-person, residential instruction will end on Nov. 20, with the remainder of the semester and final exams to take place virtually until Dec. 18.

There will be “flexible options” for students who are unable to return to any campus this fall, the release says.

During the semester, there will be “comprehensive prevention and public health procedures and strategies in place” like mask wearing and social distancing to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to the release.

“Students will be asked to sign a pledge to affirm that they will adhere to basic, but key, public health expectations and are expected to observe these practices off campus as well,” the release reads.

Penn State plans to test symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals who are identified in a contact-tracing process.

The university is also “building capacity” to isolate and quarantine individuals.

Task forces are currently evaluating classrooms so they meet social distancing requirements. All classes with over 250 people will meet remotely, with most of these classes occurring synchronously.


The university may also install plexiglass shields in high contact areas and enforce one-way traffic directions in high-density areas, according to the release.

Penn State said it encourages all students to self-quarantine before returning to campus in the fall. Students and employees will return to campus in phases beginning in the summer.

Classes will take place on Labor Day to discourage travel and reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Additionally, Penn State said its plan will adjust as needed if the pandemic worsens in Pennsylvania or if a county where one of its campuses is located moves back into the “red” phase.

The release said the university plans to continue to work out the details of how course delivery and safety will operate on campus.

Next week, Penn State will host two town halls to address questions community members may have about the plan. A town hall for faculty and staff will occur from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on June 19. Another town hall for students and families will occur from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on June 22.

Penn State’s spring 2020 semester was cut short as the coronavirus pandemic worsened in Pennsylvania. Following spring break, the semester was held online.

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