Spring 2021 General Information

Out of concern for the health and safety of our entire community, the Annenberg School is conducting the majority of its operations remotely for the Spring 2021 semester. This includes:

  • Limiting access to its physical buildings in order to create a safer environment for those who need to be on premises,
  • Holding all of the school’s graduate and undergraduate courses virtually,
  • Asking all non-essential staff to work from home, and
  • Hosting all school events in a virtual format.

For more information on the University of Pennsylvania’s overall plans, please visit its COVID-19 Response page.

Protocols for Annenberg School Facilities

The following protocols apply to the Annenberg School at 3620 Walnut Street. Social distancing and other safety protocols also apply at the Annenberg facilities located at 3901 Walnut Street and Richards Hall, though individual building procedures may differ. Individuals who are not compliant with the identified protocols may be asked to leave the building.

  • All Penn faculty, students, and staff must use the PennOpen Pass app in order to gain entry into any campus building. A green “CLEARED” Penn COVID Day Pass must be presented and displayed to building security upon each visit.
  • Only Penn faculty, graduate students, staff, and approved contractors will be permitted access to the building.
  • All visitors to 3620 Walnut St. will enter through the Walnut Street doors and exit through the 2nd floor Plaza Lobby. Entrance and exit signs will be clearly marked.
  • Masks must be worn in the building at all times.
  • Congregating in open spaces will not be permitted.
  • Social interaction inside the building should be kept to a minimum and must always follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Only one person at a time may occupy an office space or a printer/copier room.
  • Office doors should be kept closed and individuals should knock before entering a closed office.
  • Workstations and desk spaces should be disinfected before and after use.
  • Only one person at a time may occupy an elevator.
  • Only one person at a time should occupy a bathroom, even if the bathroom has multiple stalls.
  • Where possible, individuals should use the bathroom closest to their geographic location, which will limit the number of individuals sharing these spaces.
  • Suite 200 will only be accessible to those with offices in that area. Mail will be sorted every two weeks and delivered to mailboxes throughout the building. Please continue to have mail and packages delivered to your home. Email Rose Halligan with any questions about mail.

COVID-19 Testing

There are several significant changes to the university’s testing program for the Spring 2021 semester. While all community members visiting campus will be expected to continue using the daily PennOpen Pass symptom tracker, those who intend to consistently be on campus should review the following information carefully to understand the university’s testing requirements and mechanics.

Who Must Enroll in Penn Cares Testing

  • Annenberg graduate students who intend to come to campus each week during the spring semester must be tested once per week. Students who live in on-campus housing must be tested twice per week on selected day pairs of their choosing.
  • Annenberg faculty, staff, postdocs, lecturers, and others who will regularly be on campus for four or more hours each week throughout the entire semester must be tested once per week.

Faculty, staff, and others who meet the testing criteria must enroll by January 18 using the online scheduling application.

These criteria have been established based on federal, state, and local guidelines as well as in consultation with public health experts and are subject to change.

Gateway Testing

Gateway testing, or day-of-arrival testing, is required by the university for all students who are reporting to campus for the spring semester. Students who live off campus must perform a gateway test as soon as they arrive in Philadelphia, and no later than January 18. Students coming from outside Pennsylvania should follow the university’s most recent quarantine guidance at the time of their arrival. As soon as students take their gateway test, they must enroll in their regular testing schedule using the online scheduling application.   

Use of PennOpen Pass

For those who will continue to work or study remotely, the university still strongly encourages enrollment in PennOpen Pass. A Green Pass is required to enter all university buildings or board Penn Transit, even for those who only occasionally make campus visits. Reporting symptoms or exposure in PennOpen Pass also expedites access to the clinical guidance of Penn Medicine clinicians and diagnostic testing if necessary.

For More Information

You can find more information about the university’s testing program on the Penn COVID-19 Response website. If you have any questions about the Penn Cares testing program, please email Donna Burdumy, Annenberg School Director of Human Resources.

Annenberg School Library

The Annenberg School Library will be closed for the Spring 2021 semester, but Annenberg library staff are available remotely to assist with research, Canvas courseware support, streaming, and e-book requests. The communal reading/seating area in the library will not be available for public use.

All Penn Libraries materials will be picked up outside of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library and arranged through Pickup@Penn. For the latest on this and other library services, consult the main library homepage as well as the Phased Service Availability FAQ. Please email Katie Rawson with any questions.

Requesting Building Access

  • Staff who need access to the building should complete and submit the Staff Building Access Survey here. Requests will be reviewed and approvals will be sent via email.
  • Faculty who need access to their office space should email Kelly Fernández.
  • Graduate students who need access to their office space should review the Graduate Student Information page.
  • Faculty and graduate students who desire access to the building to resume research should follow these guidelines.

If You Are Sick

In accordance with current guidelines, if you are feeling unwell, seek medical guidanceAdditionally, if you are unable to teach or work remotely due to illness, please email the following according to your role:

Penn-Affiliated Travel

Penn-affiliated travel is currently suspended due to COVID-19, both domestic travel with an overnight stay and international travel. At this time, faculty and staff with essential travel needs, may submit a petition for travel approval. Please find more information on Penn's Travel Guidelines and Procedures page

Official Resources Pages for COVID-19

The following organizations have set up official COVID-19 pages, in an effort to keep the public up-to-date: