Subject Matter Expert:
Policy Steward:Vice President for Administration>
- Exceptions and Exemptions
- Policy Violations
- Further Information
- Cross References
To establish and define the University’s requirements and expectations with respect to masking, social distancing, surveillance testing, contact tracing, gatherings and other measures intended to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus within the University community.
This policy is applicable to all employees and students on and visitors to all University campuses. This policy does not apply to Penn College of Technology or to Penn State Health and its subsidiaries, each of which has its own applicable policies. Employees and students of, and visitors to the Penn State College of Medicine may also be required to abide by policies and practices mandated by Penn State Health.
- Definitions. For purposes of this Policy, the following defined terms shall have the meanings set forth below.
- "Face Covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. Additional specific requirements with respect to Face Coverings is available at Environmental Health and Safety's Face Covering Guidance.
- “Non-instructional gatherings” do not include co-curricular or extracurricular instructional or educational activities designed for student participation if such gatherings are in compliance with the other elements of this Policy and are approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee.
- “Physical Distance” means keeping a six-foot distance between yourself and other people who are not from your household at all times when feasible in offices, classrooms, laboratories, hallways, restrooms, common areas, and outdoor spaces.
- Vaccination. Employees are currently strongly encouraged to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccination and provide that data to the University. Additional information may be found at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/vaccine-information.
- Masking. CDC guidance for mask wearing has been updated to coordinate with the CDC COVID-19 Community Level (e.g., low, medium, high) for each County. All students, employees and visitors must wear “Face Coverings” in campus buildings when they are located in a “high” level county according to the CDC. These provisions also apply to employees conducting University business in workplaces in off-campus buildings in a “high” level County.
- Masking is now optional in indoor spaces except where mandated by law for Federal directive such as public transportation and health care settings. Individuals may choose to wear a mask indoors. Double masking is not required but is an effective means to improve masking efficiency. Specific exceptions for masking are noted in the Exceptions and Exemptions section below.
- Physical Distance. Physical distancing is no longer required inside most Penn State buildings or outside on campus property. All designated health care facilities will retain physical distancing requirements.
- Contact Tracing. All employees and students must fully and candidly cooperate in contact tracing, when called upon to do so by the University. Additional contact tracing requirements are found in https://virusinfo.psu.edu/contact-tracing/.
- Gatherings. Gatherings are permitted at normal building capacity limits and normal outdoor venue capacity limits. Large group gatherings will follow the guidance found in https://virusinfo.psu.edu/campus-visitors-meetings-and-events-and-tours/#meetingseventsgatherings.
- University Sponsored Travel. All employees must comply with University requirements with respect to University sponsored travel, as set forth in the document attached at https://virusinfo.psu.edu/travel-guidelines/.
- Application. This Policy shall become effective immediately and shall remain in effect until further notice.
- The following exceptions and exemptions apply to face coverings if located in a “high” level county according to the CDC and masking is required indoors:
- Face coverings are not required when outdoors.
- Face Coverings need not be worn when eating or drinking in a permitted area, when alone in an office, classroom, laboratory or vehicle, when working alone and seated in a tall cubicle with three walls (5’ or higher) and a door or entryway (standing at a standing desk requires wearing a face covering) , or when students are in their own residence hall room.
- The use of Face Coverings should not create an unsafe condition for an employee when operating equipment, executing a task, or by restricting their ability to breathe while working. Employees should notify their supervisor and/or Safety Officer if wearing a Face Covering presents a health and safety concern when conducting a work activity or impedes their vision.
- If a medical or other condition may affect an individual’s ability to adhere to this Policy, individuals must consult with University Health Services (for students) or the Department of Occupational Medicine (for employees) to request reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
- Students. The Penn State Student Code of Conduct outlines sanctions, including suspension or expulsion from the University, that may be imposed upon failure to comply with University Policies, including this Policy, or reasonable directives from University officials. Student concerns should be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.
- Any employee found in violation of this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Faculty concerns should be reported to the academic unit head (chief academic officer, department head, director of academic affairs, school director, division head, or associate dean for academic affairs) or Human Resources. Staff concerns should be reported to the supervisor or to Human Resources.
Additional guidance with respect to the enforcement of this Policy may be found at Conduct Information for Faculty and Staff.
For questions, additional details, or to request change to this Policy, please contact Kelly A. Wolgast.
Other Policies may also be referenced, especially the following:
AD88 Code of Responsible Conduct
SY01 Environmental Health and Safety Policy
Most Recent Changes
- March 29, 2022 - Updated sections 2 and 3.
Revision History (and effective dates)
- January 18, 2022 - Updated information on cloth mask guidelines and link to EHS document on face coverings; updated guidance on employee vaccination requirements.
- August 24, 2021 - Edited Section "Policy 1C" (Social Distance changed to Physical Distance), Section "Policy 3" (Physical distancing no longer required), Section "Policy 4" (Testing added); added Item 1 under "Exceptions and Exemptions". Updated link to policy enforcement guidance in under Policy Violations, item 3.
- April 12, 2021 - Edited to add double-masking under Policy Section 2, Masking. Also added information on face covering requirements in cubicles, agricultural fields and open areas under Exceptions and Exemptions, Section 1.
- August 24, 2020 - New Policy.
Date Approved:August 24, 2020>
Date Published:August 24, 2020>