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As part of Penn State’s Back to State initiative, the University is communicating several behavioral expectations to help every member of the Penn State community stay safe and healthy. It is important that all members—faculty, staff, students, and visitors—take responsibility for their own health and safety and act in a manner that demonstrates respect and consideration for those around them.  

While we expect each Penn State community member to assume personal responsibility to protect the Penn State community, we understand that missteps and oversights with compliance may occur. We understand that these changes are significant in a person’s day-to-day activity, and it may make time for new norms to be fully implemented. Generally, issues with compliance will be addressed with care, understanding, and information sharing. The overarching goal will be to de-escalate the situation while encouraging compliance.  

Possible Outcomes

Ask Offer Leave Report
Not wearing a mask
Ask if the individual is aware that face coverings are required  If available, offer to give the individual a mask If non-compliance continues, either ask the person to leave or remove yourself from the area  For ongoing violations and/or egregious violations, please report*

 

Not Social Distancing
Ask Offer Leave Report
Ask the individual to please honor social distancing space and allow for 6ft distance  If in a location that makes it challenging to effectively social distance, offer to relocate to a space that is more conducive  If non-compliance continues, either ask the person to leave or remove yourself from the area  For ongoing violations and/or egregious violations, please report*

 

Not Following Directional Signage
Ask Offer Leave Report
Ask if the individual is aware of posted directional signage Offer to show the individual the posted signage and routes  If non-compliance continues, either ask the person to leave or remove yourself from the area  For ongoing violations and/or egregious violations, please report*
Violating a University COVID-19 Expectation
Ask Offer Leave Report
Ask if the individual is aware   Offer information and/or options If non-compliance continues, either ask the person to leave or remove yourself from the area  For ongoing violations and/or egregious violations, please report*

*Student concerns should be reported to the Office of Student Conduct; faculty concerns to the department head or Human Resources; staff concerns to the supervisor or Human Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I report someone for violating a University COVID-19 expectation?

Reports will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate University department and follow up with the involved individual will occur.

What are the possible consequences students face for violating COVID-19 expectations?

Each situation is different and unique. Outcomes will depend on various considerations such as impact of the behavior, prior conduct history, demonstrated learning, and willingness to make necessary changes to behavior. Sanctions are designed to be educational in nature and intended to provide the student with an activity or intervention to increase their knowledge and perspective and encourage positive decision-making. Generally, outcomes of non-compliance could include the following: 

  1. A written notice
    • The notice could include a reminder about University expectations and consequences for subsequent failure to comply. A record of the matter will be made and may be considered if there are subsequent issues of non-compliance. 
  2. An informal meeting
    • A meeting with the student may be requested to discuss the report. A record of the matter will be made and may be considered if there are subsequent issues of non-compliance.
  3. Formal conduct action
    • A student may face formal conduct action which could include being charged with violations of the University’s Code of Conduct and sanctions ranging from a warning to separation from the University. Egregious, significantly threatening, and/or repeat violations may be addressed by the student being immediately suspended from the University on an interim basis while the matter is addressed through the University’s formal conduct process.
What if a Registered Student Organization (RSO) violates COVID-19 requirements?

Again, each situation is different and unique. For minor issues, the group may receive a written notice or be asked to engage in an informal meeting. For more significant matters, when warranted, the RSO may be issued an interim suspension while the matter is investigated. Conduct action for RSOs may include probation, revocation or restriction of social privileges, or withdrawal of recognition. When appropriate, advisory, national, and/or governing bodies will be notified.  

What consequences will students experience if they violate COVID-19-related expectations or laws off campus?

Violations of the University’s expectations or local or state laws related to COVID-19 will typically result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). OSC will enact its conduct process, and students who are determined to be responsible for a violation will be subject to sanctions, up to and including separation from the University. It is important to note that any large gathering in violation of local ordinances will be considered a serious violation and will likely result in a suspension.

What consequences will students experience if they violate COVID-19-related expectations or laws in the residence halls?

Violations of the University’s expectations or local or state laws related to COVID-19 will typically result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). OSC will enact its conduct process, and students who are determined to be responsible for a violation will be subject to sanctions up to and including loss of housing or separation from the University. It is important to note that any gathering exceeding residence hall restrictions (typically only two guests allowed per room) will be considered to be a serious violation and will likely result in a loss of housing, at minimum. Students should also be aware that guests from other residence halls are not permitted, and they may not visit other residence halls. In addition, as stated previously, visitors from other areas, universities, regions, etc. also are not permitted in the residence halls. This includes parents and family members. Violations of these expectations will be considered a serious violation.

How should I enforce expectations in my classroom or office environment?

Guidance has been developed for these environments and can be accessed here

Additional Resources and References

To access the full list of resources and reference for this document, or to print, you may download the full text.

This guidance is current as of August  17, 2020  and is subject to change or as additional information becomes available.