The most up to date information on University operations and guidance can be found here: https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/

FAQ (A printable version can be found here)

Should we be using masks?
Masks are only recommended for those experiencing symptoms. The evidence regarding using masks for prevention is mixed. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) and CDC are not currently recommending masks for prevention of viruses. We appreciate this may not be consistent with other countries’ guidance.

I have upcoming travel. Should I change my plans?
If travel includes a CDC Level 3 country (China, South Korea, Iran, and Most of Europe (as of 3/12/20)), Penn currently recommends rescheduling, delaying, or canceling all planned University travel to these countries between now and the end of the term (May 12, 2020). This includes academic programs, extracurricular programs, executive education programs, and all other Penn-affiliated travel. Consistent with the recommendations of both the CDC and the U.S. Department of State, Penn is advising students, staff and faculty to delay all personal travel to these countries for the time being unless it is absolutely necessary. Register your travel here.

If travel includes Japan, the CDC has advised to practice enhanced precautions (as of 2/22/20). Register your travel here.

If travel does NOT include any of the above listed countries, All Penn community members should register their Penn-related international travel with Penn Global. This enables Penn community members to have access to Penn resources in the event of an emergency and pre-authorizes medical insurance coverage. Register your travel here.

I am returning, or planning to return, to Penn from a CDC Level 3 country. What should I do?
Self-isolation is now required for 14 days upon arrival back to the United States. Please reach out to Student Health for support: 215-746-0806.

  • If you develop fever, cough, or shortness of breath or start to feel unwell, stay home. Then, please call ahead to your medical care provider and mention your travel history. Penn students can call Student Health at 215-746-3535.

  • If returning or planning to return from China:
    • Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have traveled in China within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the U.S.

    • If returning or planning to return from other CDC Level 3 countries:
    • The University continues to touch base with those students with recent travel to China. If you have recently arrived in the US with travel in or through China, please contact the public heath nurse (guagenti@upenn.edu) or 215-746-0806 for further guidance.
    • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of mainland China in the previous 14 days, will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry, and up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine.

    What does self-isolation mean?

    • Stay at home and do not go to class, work, or participate in any campus activities.
    • You may go shopping for food or take a walk outside.
    • Do not share utensils, toothbrushes, water bottles, pillows, and avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging, or other intimate activities. Avoid close contact.
    • If you start to feel unwell, please call ahead to your medical care provider and mention your travel history. Penn students can call Student Health at 215-746-3535.

    According to the CDC, isolation means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.

    What does quarantine mean?
    According to the CDC, quarantine in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.

    What health recommendations do you advise?
    For Penn students AND visiting scholars, if you start to feel unwell upon returning from travel, we recommend calling Student Health at (215) 746-3535.
    For all students, it is cold and flu season, and there are many steps you, and your peers, can take to keep yourself healthy and well:
    • Get a flu vaccine: They are free for students at SHS by online appointment or by phone (215-746-3535). For all other Penn Community members, they are available by walk-in at local pharmacies or by your primary care provider.
    • Use good hand hygiene: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Limit the spread of germs and illness: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
    • Stay home if you are feeling unwell; that includes classes and social activities. If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical guidance.

    What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
    • Symptoms related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) include fever and symptoms related to lower respiratory illness (e.g. difficulty breathing). Cough and travel alone are not enough to elicit concern.
    • Please visit the Campus Health coronavirus page for more information.

    I’m sick, how do I know if its novel coronavirus or something else, like a cold or the flu?
    Cough and travel alone are not enough to elicit concern. Symptoms of the novel coronavirus are more severe (e.g. pneumonia).
    A cold is common this time of year, and it is also flu season in Philadelphia and on campus. If you’re feeling unwell, make an appointment online at Student Health Service or call to speak to a nurse (215-746-3535).

    I am worried about someone else that is sick. What do I do?
    They should call Student Health and speak with a nurse (215-746-3535) to discuss recent travel and current symptoms.

    The CDC has also published a Travel Health Alert Notice (THAN) for travelers from China, listed below in English and Simplified Chinese.


    What is my risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
    The Penn Community remains most at risk for negative outcomes related to influenza. On 2/3/2020, the CDC came out with an updated Risk Assessment. The graphic below shows the exposure risk categories.

    I think I have been exposed to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), now what do I do?
    As always, if you’re feeling unwell, contact Student Health Service (215-746-3535) and select the option to speak with a nurse. Please visit the CDC website for up to date Risk Assessment stratification.

    I know someone (friend, roommate, classmate, etc.) that was recently in a CDC Level 3 country, but they aren’t sick. Should I do anything?
    Unless the person is experiencing fever AND lower respiratory symptoms (e.g. difficulty breathing) AND has travel history to these countries OR contact with a confirmed case, you can use traditional precautions:
    • Get a flu vaccine: They are available by walk-in at local pharmacies or for free at SHS by online appointment or by phone (215-746-3535).
    • Use good hand hygiene: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Limit the spread of germs and illness: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
    • Stay home if you are feeling unwell. If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical guidance.

    Should I participate in campus activities and events?
    At this time individuals without any symptoms can continue to participate in campus events. The University, following guidance from the PDPH, CDC, and WHO, has not cancelled any activities or events due to the current novel coronavirus concerns. Some departments and student organizations may make the decision to postpone or cancel events, though this is not a University requirement at this time.

    How do I stay up to date on the situation?
    Penn continues to monitor and provide updates online. You can check the Student Health Service and Campus Health websites for updates. Major notifications and announcements may also be shared via email.
    If you have any questions, please email chiefwellnessofficer@upenn.edu.

    How are we protecting the Penn community?
    The University is actively communicating with Penn community members who have traveled to CDC’s high-risk Level 3 countries. Student Wellness departments are supporting Penn community members throughout their isolation period with regular symptom and wellbeing checks.

    How can I help?

    • Get a flu vaccine: They are available by walk-in at local pharmacies or for free at SHS by online appointment or by phone (215-746-3535).
    • Use good hand hygiene: Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Limit the spread of germs and illness: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow. Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, cups, vapes/JUULs, etc.
    • Stay home if you are feeling unwell. If you are not feeling better after 24 hours, seek medical guidance.

    Are there cleaning guidelines I can follow?
    The University housekeeping staff has been actively following COVID-19 cleaning guidelines since January. Housekeeping does a full disinfectant cleaning every day. No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    Business services is proactively sanitizing all the interiors of the Penn transit fleet daily with the recommended sanitizing solution. The exteriors of all vehicles are washed weekly and in some cases daily.

    At work, you personally can:
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • Use disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.

  • At home, you can:
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

  • This is a list of all approved cleaning products for COVID-19.

    This is a great link to review to feel more prepared at home and at work.

    Our hearts go out to our Penn community and families around the globe that have been impacted by the recent coronavirus outbreak. Let’s stand together to keep Penn healthy, welcoming and understanding.

    Regulatory

    Literature, External Resources

    Penn Department Websites