Responding to COVID-19: Spring 2022

Changes to Operations at the Weitzman School

As you learned in today’s email from President Gutmann and Provost Pritchett, Penn has taken new steps to deal with the unprecedented challenges presented by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The primary goal of these measures, as always, is to carry out the educational, research, and clinical care missions of the University while ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. You can read the full text of the latest and previous announcements by University leadership on the website dedicated to the issue,

Spring break is being extended by one week for all students at Weitzman. During this time, we will complete planning to migrate all classroom and studio teaching to virtual instruction for both undergraduate and graduate classes beginning Monday, March 23. Much work has already been done by Penn Information Systems and Computing (ISC) and Weitzman IT Services to identify existing resources and provision new ones, and the work will intensify over the coming days. Students can expect to receive more information about their classes and studios from their instructor.

The expectation is that students will not return to campus for the remainder of the spring semester; however, we recognize that many students will need to return for their belongings from studios, lockers, or labs. Weitzman staff will be on hand from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13, and from Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18 to assist students in collecting their belongings from 3401 Walnut, 3600 Market Street, Addams, Duhring Wing, Franklin Annex, Meyerson, and Morgan. Any materials or belongings on desks, shelves, or in lockers that have not been claimed by Wednesday, March 18, 5:00pm, will be discarded. If you need assistance collecting your belongings from your studio or lab, contact Karl Wellman at

You may have many specific questions about operations at the Weitzman School and the unique challenges associated with providing a design education online. We are working closely with the University and with Weitzman faculty and staff to address them as expeditiously, comprehensively, and creatively as possible. You can expect to receive more updates via email over the coming days. Please be sure to check your Clutter, Junk, Spam, and Promotions folders, and mark messages as needed to ensure that they reach your Inbox.

On Thursday, we are launching a web page with guidance for the Weitzman community, Be aware that policies and procedures for instruction may vary somewhat by department according to curricular requirements. We will update this website as questions arise, so please check back for the latest information. You may also reach out to your department chair and coordinator.

To Weitzman students: I understand that transitioning to online courses, particularly studios, will be a significant adjustment. Please know that staff and faculty are committed to ensuring a positive and enriching learning experience for the remainder of the semester. We very much appreciate your flexibility and patience.

To Weitzman faculty: I understand that we are asking you to quickly rethink how you teach to help ensure the health and well-being of our community. Please know that you will have the University’s and the School’s full support in making this transition, and we are confident that your innovation, creativity, and commitment to our students will get us through these difficult times.

To our staff: We rely on you in this time of transition to help support the teaching and learning in a new and different environment. I deeply appreciate everything that you do to support the School.

Like any health challenge, but even more so because of its scale, the coronavirus outbreak calls for flexibility, patience, and understanding in working together. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. 


Frederick Steiner
Dean and Paley Professor