Wharton Spring ’21 Semester Plans

DeanErikaJames-20200812-full-4 (tile)

Message From Dean Erika James

To the Wharton Community — On March 9, 2021, the University provided an update on their plans for this spring’s commencement activities at Penn. In it, they outlined several important details, including the announcement of an in-person ceremony for Class of ’21 undergraduate seniors, to take place on Franklin Field. They confirmed this event would not allow for any outside guests, families or friends to be in attendance, and also would not be able to accommodate graduate or professional Penn students. Lastly, their statement relayed that all graduate ceremonies must be presented virtually, with no options for in-person events or celebrations for the graduate-level Class of ’21 population. You can read the full communication here.

These limitations are no doubt disheartening for many of you. I want to say I share your disappointment that we will not be able to recognize your graduation in a traditional manner. Yet we remain committed to celebrating you and your accomplishments as you conclude your time at the Wharton School. As such, we will host a “One Wharton” virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 16 to honor and uplift every member of our graduating Class of ’21. This live, online event will allow your family & friends around the globe to join us in recognizing all you have achieved through these most challenging times.

Details of the virtual ceremony, including a full list of guest speakers, will be communicated via email by your program deans in the coming week. Additionally, program staff are enthusiastically working with student leaders and others to envision a series of activities for the weeks preceding the online event. Please be on the lookout for those details as well.

I want to again acknowledge the Class of ’21 for all you have endured and overcome. Your resilience is inspiring, and I personally look forward to celebrating you all.

Warm regards,


Dean, The Wharton School
Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise
Professor of Management

Dean's Message on Spring 2021 Protocols

Message From Dean Erika James

In January, the University released a series of updated COVID-19 protocols, many of which were outlined in the most recent letter to the Penn community sent January 14. Irrespective of your on-campus plans for the spring, I encourage everyone to read the message and associated materials in advance of the start of the new semester.

A key update to the University’s communications is the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Levels. Ranging from Alert Level 1 (lowest alert) to Alert Level 4 (highest alert), the phases detail measures the University will take to oversee the safety of the Penn community, as well as outline the potential triggers for each level. Given the University’s governance overall on-campus matters, these levels should be considered the authority on Penn — and Wharton’s — ability to conduct in-person activities or provide access to campus, and thereby Wharton will adopt these as formal pivot criteria, replacing those outlined in the fall.

As of today, January 15, Penn is at Alert Level 2: Heightened Awareness. At this level, Wharton is able to conduct our various hybrid scenarios, which are set to begin for the Full-Time MBA program on January 20, and for the other degree programs to commence their hybrid models in the following days and weeks. Level 2 requires the community to “continue to follow universal public health guidance: practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently.”

The determination of Alert Levels is made by public health review of a distinct set of data conducted daily, and considers the following factors “as a group rather than individually”:

  • Philadelphia weekly case counts
  • Asymptomatic test positivity (of faculty, staff, and students in the testing program)
  • Symptomatic test positivity (of faculty, staff, and students in the testing program)
  • Isolation and quarantine utilization and capacity for students
  • Change in 7 day rolling average case counts
  • Faculty/staff absenteeism

With the semester’s start fast approaching, I ask that you stay vigilant by ensuring you are up-to-date on these and other recent communications from your program offices or other University contacts. Our commitment to bring students together safely and thoughtfully remains our number one focus, and to do so continues to be a shared responsibility for us all.

Thank you for your commitment to the Wharton community!

Warm regards,


Dean, The Wharton School
Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise
Professor of Management

Important Community Updates as of March 10, 2021

2021 Graduation Celebration NEW

  • In alignment with the University’s plans around commencement, Wharton will host a “One Wharton” virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 16 to honor and uplift every member of our graduating Class of 2021.

COVID-19 Alert Levels

  • A key update to the University’s communications is the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Levels. Ranging from Alert Level 1 (lowest alert) to Alert Level 4 (highest alert), the phases detail measures the University will take to oversee the safety of the Penn community, as well as outline the potential triggers for each level.
  • As of today, January 15, Penn is at Alert Level 2: Heightened Awareness. At this level, Wharton is able to conduct our various hybrid scenarios.
  • The determination of Alert Levels is made by public health review of a distinct set of data conducted daily, and considers the following factors “as a group rather than individually”:
    • Philadelphia weekly case counts
    • Asymptomatic test positivity (of faculty, staff, and students in the testing program)
    • Symptomatic test positivity (of faculty, staff, and students in the testing program)
    • Isolation and quarantine utilization and capacity for students
    • Change in 7 day rolling average case counts
    • Faculty/staff absenteeism

PennOpen Pass

  • Everyone who comes to campus will be required to enroll in PennOpen Pass.

Remote Operation

  • All administrative functions that are able to continue operating remotely will continue to do so during the spring semester.

Programs

Our staff has determined specific strategies for their programs in the spring. Visit your page to see the latest updates.

School-Wide Safety Protocols

planningIcon_health_line

Testing, Health & Safety

Student Testing

Visit Penn’s Student Testing Resources: Spring Semester page to find instructions for undergraduate and graduate students. Please refer to your degree program’s Spring Plans page for specific testing guidelines.

Travel Quarantine

Anyone coming from outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is asked to be mindful of guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the City of Philadelphia. Although this guidance is fluid and changes frequently, the University requires students complete a 14-day precautionary travel quarantine, which is the gold standard of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students will receive gateway testing immediately upon arriving on campus. Results of the gateway test do not change the requirement to quarantine for 14 days. One cannot test out of quarantine.

Faculty & Staff Testing

All faculty, staff, and post-docs who are on campus for four or more hours each week interacting with other community members, or whose activities on campus involve teaching, or who are regularly in an aggregate setting of ten or more people in a single shared space on campus will be required to complete screening testing.

planningIcon_access_line

Facilities Access & Guidelines

In-Person Classroom Facilities

Students can only enter a Wharton building where they have a scheduled class or activity. Not all degree programs will use the same facilities. Please refer to your program’s Spring Plans page for specific guidelines.

At this time, we expect the following Wharton buildings to be utilized for the spring semester:

  • Jon M. Huntsman Hall
  • Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
  • Wharton Academic Research Building

Building Cleaning Protocols

All Penn buildings are maintained, cleansed, and disinfected in accordance with CDC guidelines. Hospital Grade Disinfectant is utilized when disinfecting buildings daily, and the schools have implemented a fluorescent marking system that allows us to verify cleaning techniques. In addition, Wharton has multiple hand sanitizing stations through the facilities (not just in restrooms) and wipe stations strategically located between classrooms for individuals to access and to wipe down surfaces.

PennOpen Pass

Everyone who comes to campus (faculty, staff, and students) will be required to enroll in PennOpen Pass. PennOpen Pass is a daily symptom checker and exposure reporting system designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the Penn community. Daily symptom checks or exposure reporting on PennOpen Pass are required of those who are on campus.

planningIcon_governance_line

Student Compact & Governance

Penn Student Compact

All Penn students agree to adhere to the guidelines detailed in the Penn Student Conduct Compact. The updated Compact includes 4 distinct categories of governance: Health & Wellness, Campus Movement, Travel and Guests, and Social Life and Recreation.

The Compact outlines protocols for all Penn students, regardless of where they are living during the Spring 2021 semester. As always, the university is closely monitoring public health guidance and will communicate updates to the Compact as needed.

Compact Violations

Compact violations will be reviewed by the Compact Review Panel and may be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct for disciplinary review and action per the Disciplinary Charter of the University of Pennsylvania.

Individuals can bring infractions to the attention of the review panel by submitting their information here: https://upenn.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6R4DIR9Pm2ziKsl

Wharton FAQs

How will the University handle a COVID outbreak on campus?

Penn has a panel of public health experts who will be continuously reviewing the state of the disease on campus and in the local community, will be assessing trends, and will make any necessary adjustments in the academic schedule or student life directives based on this evidence.

What cleaning protocols are in place for campus buildings?

All Penn buildings are maintained, cleansed, and disinfected in accordance with CDC guidelines. We use a Hospital Grade Disinfectant when disinfecting buildings daily and have implemented a fluorescent marking system that allows us to verify cleaning techniques. In addition, Wharton has multiple hand sanitizing stations through the facilities (not just in restrooms) and wipe stations strategically located between classrooms for individuals to access and to wipe down surfaces.