March 17, 2020

Faculty Guidance Document

MARCH 17, 2020*

Penn State is actively and carefully monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19. The guidelines below provide up-to-date advice to Penn State faculty and instructors regarding teaching. These guidelines will be regularly reviewed and updated as this situation unfolds. Please consult the Coronavirus Information FAQ for additional information about specific topics.


Ensuring the continuity of class delivery is critical to the success of our students. Beginning on Monday, March 16th, all classes, with the exception of those delivered by the College of Medicine, should be taught remotely as scheduled. At this time, Penn State expects to deliver classes remotely until Monday, April 6th. Faculty members are asked to think differently about how learning outcomes for a course can be achieved and are encouraged to be flexible and creative as they think about their courses.

All courses should be delivered synchronously at the time that they are scheduled. This is important for three reasons. First, it will avoid time conflicts that will otherwise arise if faculty are independently moving the time of their classes. Second, while there is confidence in the technology, spreading out delivery will maximize our technological resources. Third, students who receive financial aid through the Pennsylvania State Grant may lose access to this aid if courses are not delivered synchronously. A short explanation of options for synchronous teaching can be found in the FAQ section of the remote teaching website.

The university has multiple resources available to help faculty members successfully make this transition. These resources range from reaching out to your colleagues who have experience in teaching remotely and online, to having instructional design support to help you develop alternative methods and pedagogies at that offers a quick start to delivering courses remotely through tools such as Canvas, Kaltura, and Zoom. Students will also be provided information designed to facilitate their ability to engage in learning remotely at

As faculty complete their course preparation, they are expected to communicate any changes to the course to students so that students know how to access course materials and about any changes to the syllabus, assignments, and grading during this period of remote delivery of classes.

Graduate students involved in the instructional mission, research, and/or who are on assistantships with activities other than the instructional mission and research, should refer to the information at The Graduate School’s website:


Penn State is committed to maintaining the good health of all students and employees and encouraging prevention practices across the Penn State community. These guidelines align with University policies in support of that goal.


All University-sponsored domestic air travel is suspended between now and April 20. If travel is essential, requests should be screened by and submitted through unit executives to the Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones, at and include a description of how the travel is mission critical. We strongly encourage minimizing campus-to campus travel. Alternative forms of meeting, such as Zoom, are encouraged. We have placed restrictions on university-sponsored travel and though we cannot dictate decision-making pertaining to other professional and personal travel, such travel is strongly discouraged.


Effective immediately and until further notice, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and April 20. If travel is considered essential, requests should be submitted by unit executives to the Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones, at and include a description of how the travel is mission critical. For ARL, essential travel will be reviewed by the Senior Vice President for Research, Lora G. Weiss, at For the College of Medicine, essential travel will be reviewed by the Dean of the College of Medicine, Kevin Black, at Any member of our community returning from a CDC Level 3 country is required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.


All faculty and staff employees returning from CDC Level 3 countries must engage in a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to work. For those employees at Penn State’s College of Medicine, please consult guidelines posted on the College of Medicine’s internal website.

The guidelines detailed below apply to faculty and staff employees who are returning from a CDC Level 3 country:

  1. All faculty and staff employees will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  2. Unless they are ill, faculty and staff employees are expected to meet their faculty obligations while under self-quarantine and should consult with their unit executive on how best to meet their teaching, research, and service responsibilities during this period.
  3. Faculty and staff employees who become symptomatic should contact Absence Management [, or (814) 865- 1782] to discuss a medical leave of absence and clearance requirements for returning to work. For information regarding Family Medical Leave, please see HRG11.

Question regarding these guidelines should be directed to Absence Management,, or (814) 865-1782


Regardless of the size of the meeting or event, all non-essential meetings and events should be canceled, rescheduled, or offered virtually until May 15. Any essential meetings that are held should maintain good social distance practices, including ample space between participants (i.e., approximately six feet). No new non-essential large events (over 10) should be scheduled. For essential large events that are expected to have more than 10 attendees, approval to hold the event must be sought from the Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones at All requests should include a description of how social distancing will be maintained during the event.


Per guidance from the Department of State, the arrival of all visitors (i.e., visitors, visiting scholars, and post docs) scheduled to arrive on campus prior to May 11, 2020 will be asked to reschedule their visits. Unit executives should make requests for exceptions to and include a description of why the visit is essential.


While faculty searches may proceed, academic units are asked to make use of virtual modalities such as Zoom to prioritize the health of candidates and participants, and their families. In acknowledgement of the guidance issued by Pennsylvania’s governor Tom Wolf all scheduled on-site campus interviews for domestic candidates should be held virtually or rescheduled for after March 30 and for international candidates after April 20; please note that these dates will likely change as guidance is updated. Because it is likely these dates will be advanced, units have the authority to either postpone the search or decide to conduct an entirely virtual search. As you structure the interview process, please strive to make interviews as consistent as possible for each candidate. As always, ensure that evaluation of all applicants is based on the extent to which applicants meet the criteria for the position.

*These guidelines and requirements are current as of the date listed herein and are subject to change.

**Warning Level 3: CDC recommends travelers avoid nonessential travel to destinations with Level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19. For more information, please visit the CDC website.

Transcribed from the original PDF.