As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to calm down in the United States and we begin to return to a new sense of normalcy, Penn State has announced plans to transition its masking and physical distancing policies for the summer and fall semesters. The changes align with those set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, relaxing COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals.
Following CDC guidance, face masks will still be required while on public transportation as well as several additional settings, such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities or conducting in-person research. Students and employees who are not vaccinated are expected to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing while inside campus buildings. In recent updates, all students no matter the vaccination record, will be wearing masks in indoor spaces.
Although the university has not required students, faculty or staff to get the vaccine, they are strongly encouraging all individuals to do so. They recently announced an incentive program designed to encourage students and employees to get the vaccine and upload their status with the university. From June 7 to Aug. 23, weekly drawings will be held, one for students and one for employees. Some of the prizes you can win include a $1,000 payment, a $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a football signed by Penn State football coach, James Franklin.
To be eligible for the drawings, students, faculty and staff must have received their final vaccine dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or have received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. They must also upload proof of their vaccination status as well as complete the online incentive program opt-in form. Students at University Park, any of the Commonwealth Campuses and Dickinson Law can upload their vaccine records through myUHS. Employees and World Campus students must use Salesforce Health Cloud, a secure online platform that collects health data, to upload their vaccination status.
The incentive program is open to all students and employees who have already received the vaccine — not just those individuals who get a vaccine in the future. Regardless of whether students or employees wish to participate in the incentive program, everyone is encouraged to share their vaccination status with the university. This information will help inform their decision making for the fall semester.
While the university does not have any more vaccination clinics scheduled, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website features a map of vaccine providers around the Commonwealth where students and employees can receive their vaccines. Students from other U.S. states and territories can also use the CDC’s vaccine finder tool to find a vaccination site near them. International students are also strongly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine available in their location.