Wharton Spring ’21 Semester Plans

This page was last updated on January 14, 2021 @ 4:00pm

Program Dean Announcements

Update from Vice Dean Diana Robertson

Like all of you, we are anxious to know what the spring semester holds. We are committed to the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and believe a successful implementation of plans for the spring semester will come from collaboration and understanding on the part of all members of the community. Any policies and decisions about the semester are made in close collaboration with the Provost’s Office and the other undergraduate schools.

As noted in the recent notification email from the University, most all classes will be online, undergraduate students will have the chance to return to on-campus housing, though in smaller numbers and with limitations, and Penn will be conducting testing for all students twice a week.

Please continue to check the following websites for the most up-to-date information and resources:

Important Community Updates

  • For the latest details about the number of cases at Penn, visit the COVID-19 dashboard.
  • All of us in the Penn community have a communal responsibility to balance health and safety needs with the educational, academic, research, and service missions of our University. The Student Compact outlines the behavioral expectations for all Penn students regardless of where you are living during the 2020–2021 academic year.

Curricular Overview

At the direction of Penn, the large majority of classes for all undergraduates will be conducted online in the spring semester. Our faculty continue to develop best practices for student learning and engagement in synchronous and asynchronous online courses.

Curricular Details

Remote Classroom Guidelines

All classes will be recorded, with content made available asynchronously.


Clubs & Student Leadership

Penn Student Compact Compliance

The Penn Student Compact outlines the behavioral expectations for all Penn students regardless of where you are living during the 2020-2021 academic year.

School-Wide Safety Protocols


Testing, Health & Safety

Student Testing

Visit Penn’s Student Testing Resources: Spring Semester page for specific instructions for each student degree program.

Gateway Testing

Testing before students arrive on campus is not a requirement; however, as students arrive on campus for the spring semester, they must receive COVID-19 gateway testing (also known as day-of-arrival testing) to establish baseline prevalence in the student community. Students living on or off campus must quarantine in their place of residence until they are cleared with a negative gateway test result. Students living on or off campus must complete their gateway test no later than January 18, 2021.

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. All other faculty, staff, and post-docs engaged in any on-campus activities are encouraged to participate in screening testing.


Facilities Access & Guidelines

In-Person Classroom Facilities

Students can only enter a Wharton building where they have a scheduled class or activity. At this time, we expect the following Wharton buildings to be utilized for the spring semester:

  • Jon 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.


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

Frequently Asked Questions

Please be sure to check Undergrad Inside for the latest updates as well as links to Penn’s FAQ pages.