UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of an ongoing town-gown partnership with State College Borough during the coronavirus pandemic, Penn State police officers will begin to enforce the State College Borough COVID-19 safety ordinance on the University Park campus. On Oct. 7, Penn State campus police officers were sworn in by Centre County Judge Pamela Ruest and given enforcement ability to uphold the municipal ordinance at University Park to support the health and safety of campus and community members.
The municipal ordinance, which was passed in August with support from Penn State, enforces mask wearing, social distancing and gathering limits in State College Borough, and will be used specifically to support mask wearing and dispersal of large gatherings on the University Park campus, including for campus visitors. This measure does not change Penn State's on-campus masking, social distancing and gathering requirements for students, faculty and staff that are currently in place.
“We are very pleased with our campus community’s compliance with mask wearing and social distancing practices — they're having an important impact,” said David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business. “The goal of this effort is to allow campus police officers, if needed, to uphold the ordinance, which has been successful in State College, in support of public health on our campus. This effort also will serve as a tool for individuals and groups visiting campus and for which the University has fewer means to enforce its requirements.”
The new measure is nested in an overall University strategy focused on outreach and education to encourage student, faculty and staff adoption of health and safety practices, which include student Public Health Ambassadors, pandemic safety officers, the Mask Up or Pack Up campaign and more.
“Our goal is to continue to collaborate with our community partners to enforce simple public health measures to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus,” said Charles Noffsinger, associate vice president for University Police and Public Safety. “We want to create cohesion for those traveling to and from campus regarding requirements and expectations for safe behavior, and do not intend for this to interrupt the mechanisms already in place at the University for students and employees who may be in violation of requirements.”
Though much of the University Park campus is located within State College Borough, Penn State also is hopeful to work with College Township to put in place similar solutions to cover areas of campus situated in College Township, such as the Bryce Jordan Center.
The State College ordinance currently runs through Jan. 31, 2021, or until the Centre Region Council of Governments and the state Department of Health rescind their emergency declarations, whichever comes earlier.
For the latest information on Penn State’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, visit virusinfo.psu.edu.