A message to the Penn community about additional health and safety measures for the spring semester

We hope that all of you had a good Winter Break, and we are excited to welcome you back to the spring semester. While the current circumstances may not be what any of us would prefer, we are determined to sustain our core university missions. We know that we can count on every member of our community to be part of this effort, as we all navigate together this challenging phase of the pandemic. 

With that in mind, we are writing to update you on four key steps that we are taking to maintain our shared health and safety as we begin the semester. Please note that UPHS-affiliated faculty and staff should follow guidance from the Health System.

Pre-arrival testing

All students are required to complete pre-arrival testing 48 hours before returning to campus. Faculty, staff, and postdocs are also strongly encouraged to complete a test before returning to campus. A PCR test is preferred, but rapid tests are also acceptable. Those who receive a positive PCR test result must email their result to covidtesting@upenn.edu and report their positive result through PennOpen Pass. Those who receive a positive rapid test result must report their result through PennOpen Pass. Anyone with a positive pre-arrival test should complete their isolation at home before arriving to campus. Negative test results do not need to be submitted to the University. Those who do not have access to a pre-arrival test should immediately test upon arrival to campus and quarantine until they receive a negative test result. 

Gateway testing

As an additional safety measure, all students, faculty, staff, and postdocs who will be on campus and/or enrolled during the spring semester are required to complete a gateway test after returning to campus and no later than January 31, regardless of vaccination status or result of pre-arrival testing. Those arriving to campus after the end of January should test on the day they arrive to campus. This test must be completed through our Penn Cares testing system. Anyone with a positive result from a gateway test will be required to isolate and cooperate with our contact tracing efforts. All University community members can schedule their gateway test on the Penn Cares website.

Masking requirement

Masking remains a key mitigation strategy in our efforts to minimize transmission during this virulent phase of the virus. Beginning January 10, all members of the Penn community in campus buildings will be required to double mask (layering a cloth mask on top of a disposable mask) or to wear a KN95 or N95 mask. We will also increase the availability of masks across campus.

Vaccine booster clinic

Vaccine booster clinics will be held on January 14, 17, 18, and 19. More information about scheduling a booster clinic appointment will be forthcoming. For more information about the booster requirement, please visit the Public Health Guidance page.

We are closely monitoring this evolving situation, and we will continue to communicate with you and to adjust our protocols as circumstances change. We are grateful for the extraordinary resilience and flexibility of our Penn community as we move forward, and we hope to be able to share some better days ahead in 2022.