Penn State implements governor's mitigation plan

UPDATED: 6:30 p.m., March 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —  On March 16, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced mitigation actions across every county in Pennsylvania in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. As a result, all Penn State campuses except those already closed by an earlier decree from Governor Wolf --  Abington, Brandywine and Great Valley -- will maintain appropriate and necessary on-campus services in support of our remote education environment effective March 17.

During this time, faculty will continue to teach their courses remotely, and students will continue their remote learning. Penn State already had introduced telecommuting for many of its employees, which helps us implement the requirements of the governor’s plan. Unit leaders should determine which employees are required to be on site to perform services and which employees can work via telecommuting. Many research, financial and service operations require some on-site support, for example. In some cases, unit leaders may determine employees can telecommute, but do not have the requisite technical equipment, for example. The IT office is working to support this transition to telecommuting.

Students who have special arrangements and are currently living on campus and are unable to leave on-campus residence halls may remain on campus and will continue to receive University support. More information will follow.

Meanwhile, to help answer questions, and provide information, the University is planning for two virtual town halls early next week — for faculty and staff, and students and parents — details with date and time forthcoming in the next day.

While there are not yet any confirmed cases of coronavirus at Penn State, the number of cases is continuing to rise in Pennsylvania and the United States. We are facing an unprecedented scenario as a country and as a University, and we must act swiftly and decisively to meet this challenge in the best interests of our campuses and communities.

Following are links to specific, additional information:

Essential meetings

  • Aligned with the governor and national guidelines, the University will further limit the size of essential meetings. 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 gatherings with more than 10 individuals should be scheduled. For essential meetings expected to have more than 10 attendees, the organizer must secure approval from Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones.


  • The continuity of class delivery is critical to the success of our students. Remote learning and remote teaching will continue. All in-person classes, seminars and labs will be delivered remotely for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • The College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health have already implemented strict measures and will continue to have select workers telecommute.
  • Graduate students should refer to graduate specific information on the Graduate School's website:

Campus buildings and facilities

  • Many on-campus buildings and facilities, including offices, will be closed at every Penn State campus location; however some buildings will remain open.
  • Each campus will have additional information about student, faculty and staff impacts.

Student housing and dining

  • Select residence and dining halls will remain open and continue to operate for the limited number of students who remained on campuses during spring break and the remote learning period.
  • Students are strongly discouraged from returning to campus or to off-campus housing and should instead remain at their permanent home address. There will be further information forthcoming for students in need of their belongs.

This action is taken with the health and well-being of Penn State students, faculty, staff and our local communities in mind. It is intended to help slow the spread of the coronavirus across Pennsylvania, including on Penn State’s campuses. The United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are in a state of emergency, as are many of the municipalities that house Penn State campuses. This action is in line with those taken in the past days and weeks by many other universities and businesses across Pennsylvania and the United States to promote social distancing and curb the negative impacts of this virus.

As this situation unfolds, Penn State will continue to communicate frequently with you in the coming hours and days. Please bookmark and continue to visit, for the latest updates and information, including an extensive FAQ and critical information specific for students, faculty and staff.


Last Updated April 15, 2020