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University Life News

A Message to Penn Students

Mamta Accapadi, PhD, Vice Provost for University Life
Benoit Dubé, MD, Associate Provost and Chief Wellness Officer
Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD, Deputy Provost

As we move into this long weekend, we want you to have all the tools and information you need to make safe and informed decisions for yourselves and each other. For those of you living on or near campus, please note that the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has issued new guidelines for college students, asking them to avoid social gatherings with people outside their households. This is a change from previous recommendations, and we ask you, whether you are living on or off campus, to follow this data-based guidance to help stop community transmission of the virus. This means limiting guests in our residential spaces and limiting our face-to-face social interactions, regardless of where and with whom we live and socialize. Since we are noticing that community spread of the virus is happening in smaller, intimate gatherings, we should as a Penn community do our part to help minimize risk that the virus will spread.

COVID-19 Image

Moving forward, you may consider creating limited ‘social pods’ to minimize your own exposure to the virus and exposure to others. As members of our local community, let’s be good neighbors and remember our commitment to keeping our local community safe. We remain grateful for the choices you are making to care for one another during this time. The most powerful thing we can all do together is protect ourselves and one another through the simple actions of washing our hands regularly, wearing masks/facial coverings, and practicing physical distancing. You have done a great job of limiting larger gatherings, and we thank you for taking this seriously. As always, you have access to testing on campus, so please make use of that service, and please share with your friends.

We are here for one reason: your holistic well-being as you pursue your academic goals and personal dreams. There are many resources and community supports available to you to build community, to get involved, and to take care of yourselves. Your courage, leadership, and strength during this unprecedented start to the school year are an inspiration for us, and we are thankful for the flexibility, patience, and compassion you have demonstrated as we begin the academic year differently from how many of us hoped or imagined.