Responding to COVID-19: Summer & Fall 2021


To protect the health and safety of the Weitzman community while carrying out the educational, research, and community engagement aspects of our mission, the Weitzman School will continue to follow a hybrid approach for Summer 2021; some classes and studios will be conducted on campus (with online options for international students and other students unable to be in Philadelphia), while others will be taught online. As we look ahead to the fall, we expect all instruction to be delivered in-person, with very limited exceptions for online or hybrid delivery. Each department will make special arrangements for international students who may have difficulty arriving on campus by the start of the fall semester.  Please seek further guidance from your department chair. Academic research will return to full operations in the fall semester, and Penn-related domestic travel will resume. (Visit the PennGlobal website for specific travel guidelines.)

It is important to understand that operations at Weitzman will continue to be guided by public health directives. As conditions warrant, it may be necessary to modify our plan as time goes on.
If you are not already receiving Weitzman community announcements about changes to our operations at your Penn email account, contact

For more information about the University's response to COVID-19 and Penn resources, visit

Face Coverings at Penn

As of Friday, June 11, 2021, in accordance with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s updated guidance, if you are fully vaccinated, in most situations on the Penn campus you do not have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. However, we must continue to be vigilant for the members of our community who are unvaccinated and are at risk.

When are you required to continue wearing a mask?  If you are:

  • Not fully vaccinated, the University is requiring you to wear a mask inside University buildings until further notice. 
  • A student in quarantine or isolation living with other people, also known as congregate settings. You are required to wear a mask indoors in your residence.
  • With children under the age of 12, such as a school, camp, or childcare setting.
  • Inside healthcare settings, including all Penn Medicine facilities. 
  • Using public transportation, including Penn Transit.

Public health guidance for activity on campus continues to evolve. Visit Penn's coronavirus website for current information.

Academic Calendar & Departmental Schedules

Please contact your department for details if you have not already received information about your course of study. Visit the Weitzman Academic Calendar for details.

The Weitzman Campus Compact: A Shared Responsibility

The Weitzman School remains committed to protecting the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, while carrying out the educational, research, and community engagement aspects of our mission. To this end, through Summer 2021, all courses and studios can be taught or attended remotely. In support of the enhanced health and safety measures implemented in Weitzman facilities, all members of the Weitzman Community who come to campus are expected to observe the following protocols.

  1. Complete PennOpen Pass wellness checks and monitor for symptoms before entering any Weitzman or campus building. For more information, visit the Penn Medicine website.
  2. Adhere to COVID 19 testing protocols as documented on
  3. Stay home if you are experiencing COVID19 symptoms or are concerned for your health or safety.
  4. Participate in contact tracing following confirmation of a positive COVID test result.
  5. Unless you are fully vaccinated, wear a facial covering at all times in public or common areas, including in classrooms and studios. (For more detailed guidance from the University on mask use, visit
  6. Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and avoid crowds of over 25 people. Note: This requirement will be lifted as of June 2, in accordance with Philadelphia Department of Health guidelines.
  7. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds before and after interactions with others.
  8. Students should not spend more than 4 hours per day in congregate settings within Weitzman buildings (including classrooms, offices, and studios).
  9. Adhere to Weitzman building hours:  8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday. These hours and days are subject to change; please check the Weitzman website for updates. Also, eating is not allowed in Weitzman buildings.
  10. Refrain from organizing, hosting or attending in-person events, parties, club meetings, or other social gatherings on campus. Note: As of June 11, in accordance with Philadelphia Department of Health guidance, limited in-person gatherings may be permitted, though face coverings will still be required. Permission must be obtained at least 24 hours in advance from Karl Wellman.
  11. Limit non-essential personal travel until you are fully vaccinated. Travelers should still practice appropriate public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene. For personal travel guidance, visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For information about Penn-related travel, visit the PennGlobal website.

Weitzman students are also expected to adhere to the guidelines set forth in the Penn Student Campus Compact 2020-2021.

To encourage adherence to these guidelines, Weitzman has brought together a group of Weitzman faculty, staff, and students to serve on the Public Health Promotion Team (PHPT). The members of the PHPT will be announced via email and posted to the Weitzman website. You are free to raise concerns about your own safety or the safety of those around you, without recrimination or consequence, to any member of the PHPT or to one of the Weitzman Public Health Techs who will be assisting with this effort and identified by Weitzman School of Design clothing. Alternatively, you may also contact PHPT Co-Chair Karl Wellman, Senior Director for Operations and Planning, Design and Construction, at

We are stronger when we all do our part to keep our campus and our community healthy.

Essential Resources
Penn Cares Coronavirus Website

Student Health and Counseling

Environmental Health and Radiation Safety
215.898.4453 (24/7)

PennOpen Pass Call Center


PennOpen Pass

In July of 2020, the University launched PennOpen Pass, a daily symptom checker to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the Penn community. Daily tracking is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community as it will enable clinical staff and contact tracers to act quickly if COVID-19 is detected and connect individuals to care.

Faculty, staff, and students seeking to enter any Penn building will perform daily symptom checks using PennOpen Pass before the start of each day. If you have no symptoms and have not been in recent contact with someone who may have COVID-19, you get a Day Pass to enter Penn buildings. Otherwise, the tool will direct you to next steps.

For answers to frequently asked questions about PennOpen Pass, or to provide feedback, please visit the PennOpen Pass website. You can also direct questions to the PennOpen Pass Call Center: 215.573.6335.

Penn Cares COVID-19 Testing

Penn Cares is the new University-wide testing program introduced for Spring 2021. Testing, as well as following all public health guidance – masking, maintaining a safe physical distance, and making sure to wash your hands often – is just one piece of the solution to helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. This testing program – which significantly increases our testing capacity and enhances our ability to assess COVID-19 prevalence in the University community – helps allow us to welcome students back for the spring semester. Please read on to find out what role you will play in this historic transformation of our campus during the pandemic.

Who Must Test (Summer 2021)

Twice per week: 
1. Undergraduates students living on or off campus in the Philadelphia area will be tested on preassigned day pairs. 
2. Faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students who live on campus will be tested on selected day pairs (Monday & Thursday, Tuesday & Friday, Wednesday & Saturday) of their choosing. 

Once per week:
1. Graduate students who come to campus each week. 
2. Faculty, emeritus faculty and other retirees, postdocs, academic affiliates, and staff who are on campus for four or more hours each week throughout the semester. 

Who should NOT participate in Penn Cares Screening Testing: 
• Anyone who comes to campus less than once per week or is not enrolled in the Penn Cares screening protocol 
• These criteria have been established based on federal, state and local guidelines as well as in consultation with public health experts. They are subject to change. 

For More Information 

More information on the process and the program is available on the Penn COVID-19 Response website. 

Penn Cares/Testing FAQs

Q: Where and how do I enroll?
A: You will be enrolled automatically in the program once you have scheduled your first testing by following the link to Penn Cares above

Q: Can I schedule multiple appointments or recurring appointments on block
A: You may schedule multiple appointments in advance but at this time each instance must be completed separately 

Q: What if I skip my testing for one week?
A: If you don’t test for one week your PennOpen Pass will turn red automatically. Your PennOpen Pass will turn back to green within 24 hours from scheduling the next testing

Q: Am I required to continue to participate in the screening testing program after receiving the COVID vaccine?
A: Yes, COVID vaccine does not absolve you from the screening testing as we don’t know if vaccinated individuals do not transmit the Corona virus to others. Vaccinated individuals must continue to observe, mask wearing, hand hygiene, and social distancing. Vaccinated individuals must continue to comply with all PPE requirements as outline in the infection control plan.

Penn Cares COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Opening

Vaccines are one of the greatest tools in the fight against the pandemic. In an email on April 22, the University announced that all students in the Fall 2021 semester are required to be vaccinated; exceptions will be provided only for medical or religious reasons. Students should submit their vaccine record to Student Health Service (SHS). Students interested in receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine should schedule an appointment via

In an email on June 1, the University announced that all current faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than August 1, 2021. A new process in Workday will be launched in mid-June for all employees and post-doctoral trainees to record their COVID-19 vaccination status securely and confidentially. Vaccinated faculty, staff, and post-docs should enter their vaccination information by July 1. Employees will receive step-by-step instructions and reminders via email. Individuals who choose not to obtain vaccines for medical and religious reasons, or choose not to disclose their vaccine status, will be required to continue to participate in daily symptom checks on PennOpen Pass and weekly Penn Cares screening testing, and continue to wear masks indoors.

Penn Cares COVID-19 Testing for Summer 2021

The University community is continuing the Penn Cares testing program over the summer, starting May 17, for those who are regularly on campus. Screening testing, as well as following all public health guidance – getting vaccinated, masking, maintaining a safe physical distance, and making sure to wash your hands often – remains a key component of helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread on campus. Penn is requiring continued screening testing for University members who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and meet the testing criteria. While the vaccine is critically important in our fight against COVID-19, up to 10 percent of people vaccinated could still become infected and transmit the virus. If you meet the testing criteria, you will need to provide your consent to testing during the summer even if you have done so previously. 

Testing Criteria: Who Must Test

Twice per week, separated by two calendar days of their choosing:

  1. Undergraduate students living on or off campus in Philadelphia.
  2. Faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students who live on campus. 
  3. No required day pairs during the summer

Once per week, on a day of their choosing:

  1. Graduate students who come to campus each week.
  2. Faculty, emeritus faculty and other retirees, postdocs, academic affiliates, staff, and eligible third-party contractors who are on campus for four or more hours each week.

Who should NOT participate in Penn Cares Screening Testing: 

  1. Anyone who comes to campus less than once per week or is not enrolled in the Penn Cares screening protocol.
  2. Visiting scholars, visiting students unless provided exception approval through Karl Wellman

Please review the email you received from Karl Wellman for more information.

The Public Health Promotion Team

To encourage adherence to Weitzman Campus Compact and other health and safety measures instituted at our school, Weitzman has brought together a group of Weitzman faculty, staff, and students to serve on the Public Health Promotion Team (PHPT): Karl Wellman, Co-Chair; Megan Ryerson, Co-Chair; Masoud Akbarzadeh; Brendan Burke; Chris Cataldo; Julia Fox; Kristen Giannantonio; Mark Harper; Arden Jordan; Katherine Linton; Ken Lum; Courtney Magill; Sandra Mosgo; Matt Neff; Jen Reyes; Sara Stewart; Alanna Wittet; and LeighAnn Bogner Winslow.

You are free to raise concerns about your own safety or the safety of those around you, without recrimination or consequence, to any member of the PHPT. Alternatively, you may also contact PHPT Co-Chair Karl Wellman, Senior Director for Operations and Planning, Design and Construction, at

Penn COVID-19 Information and Resources

The Penn website dedicated to Coronavirus issues is This site is being continuously updated, and topics covered there include:

  • Past University Announcements
  • Tools and guidelines for working remotely
  • Guidance for teaching remotely
  • Health information and guidance
  • Workplace and home precautions
  • Resources for supervisors and staff from Penn HR
  • Travel
  • Resumption of research

In January 2021, the University created a new COVID Resource Call Center to provide assistance with testing, PennOpen Pass, contact tracing, and more. You can reach a call center representative Monday through Friday from 9:00am - 5:00pm (EST) at 215.573.7096 or Please visit Penn's COVID Resource Website for more information.

In this stressful time, be aware that there are extensive support resources available to students. One call to the HELP LINE (215.898.4357) can assist you in finding personal and mental health support for yourself or others in distress. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, faculty and staff always have access to Penn’s Employee Assistance Program.

Healthy Habits

  • Stay home if you’re sick. If you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, you should stay home until you are free of fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Centigrade).
  • Wash your hands throughout the day for at least 20 seconds using soap and running water.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or with your upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue.

Weitzman Buildings

Meyerson, Fisher, Morgan, Addams, Duhring Wing, Franklin Annex, and 3401 Walnut are open Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 9:00pm. Meyerson, Morgan, and Addams having additional hours Saturdays, 12:00pm – 4:00pm. Students may enter the buildings for class and studio meetings, individual study, research, and 3D printing/Fab Lab contactless service.

The Office of Operations and Planning at Weitzman, with guidance from Penn Environmental Health & Radiation Safety (EHRS), has adopted a four-pronged plan for Weitzman buildings that provides for (1) Health screening and monitoring; (2) Personal Protective Equipment; (3) Enhanced facilities cleaning; and (4) Social distancing.

Students, faculty, and staff will undergo heath screening before being granted access to all Weitzman buildings. Access is granted based on two criteria: A (green) Day Pass from PennOpen Pass (see above); and a Penn mask or other face covering that complies with guidelines documented in the COVID-19 Return to Campus Guide.

To facilitate overnight cleaning measures, Weitzman facilities will be closed to students, faculty and staff outside of study hours, which are 8:00am to 8:00pm, Monday through Friday. (The Morgan building has additional hours on Saturdays, 12:00pm to 4:00pm.) Housekeeping procedures at all Weitzman buildings will be implemented to hospital-grade standards, so that frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, countertops) are treated with appropriate cleaning solutions and with greater frequency. Hand sanitization stations will be installed throughout Weitzman buildings, and anti-viral cleaning wipes will be available outside classrooms and labs. Electrostatic spraying and UV lighting will be implemented for disinfecting labs and classrooms.

Seating and workstations have been reconfigured to ensure appropriate social distancing; in some locations, Plexiglass barriers have been installed. Elevators will be limited to two occupants at any time, and maximum room occupancy will be posted throughout Weitzman buildings and strictly enforced. New signage has been installed to organize traffic flow and eliminate bottlenecks.

Public Events

In accordance with University and Philadelphia Department of Public Health guidelines, lectures and other public events are being held virtually. Visit the Weitzman Calendar of Events to view and/or register for upcoming events.

University-Related Emergencies

Contact the Division of Public Safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 215.573.3333 or dial 511 from a campus phone.

The PennComm operations center supports non-English speakers with the use of AT&T’s Language Line, which permits ESL speakers to contact the emergency number and communicate with an emergency dispatcher in over 120 different languages. Additionally, the Language Line can be employed by any UPPD officer in a face-to-face interaction, where the ESL speaker can request to communicate to the Penn Police in his/her own native language via a phone call.

UPenn Alert

If you are not already subscribed to receive UPenn Alert electronic notifications, you are urged to do so by visiting the Office of Public Safety website.

Previous Weitzman School Announcements

March 4, 2021, 11:27am
January 19, 2021, 2:33pm
November 2, 2020, 12:44pm
August 12, 2020, 4:43pm
May 27, 2020, 5:57pm
March 5, 2020, 9:13am