Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

For the University of Pennsylvania’s information and resources page on COVID-19, including the latest news and statements to the Penn community, please visit

Students: in addition to the communications archived below, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page


Wednesday, April 1: Message to the Penn Community About the Summer Session
Tuesday, March 31: Wondering how you can support the 2020 Census in your community from home?

You can help ensure a complete and accurate 2020 Census count by phone banking with us. Training and a script will be provided to all volunteers. We will be encouraging households in census tracts with the lowest participation rates to complete the census! OR  We will be calling people in census tracts with low response rates and provide information on why and how they can participate in the census!

Interested volunteers can fill out this form.

Tuesday, March 31: Philadelphia Department of Public Health Volunteer Needs

Dear Students:

Although for the safety of students, patients, and community members we have suspended student involvement in all community outreach programs, we will forward student volunteer opportunities that can be done remotely.  Students are not required or encouraged to engage in any of these initiatives. These opportunities are completely voluntary. Please contact the sites directly to sign up or with any questions.

  • The Penn Health Tech committee is helping to source PPE equipment. They aim to crowdsource 3D printing and distribute materials and work in contactless pickups throughout the nearby area to deliver 100s of units in the next days, 1000 by the end of next week, and 10,000 after that. Student volunteers are needed for the following initiative:
  • A driver will drop off 3D prints (disinfected after printing before bagging) and transparencies that would fit together as a face shield at a QC point to the student’s home. The nursing student would go through a checklist to validate. After a QC check, they would be disinfected, bagged, and left outside for a pickup and delivery to HUP.
  • Remote volunteer opportunities with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
Monday, March 30: Penn provides an additional $4 million of support to communities, small businesses and workforce impacted by COVID-19

The University’s dedication is on top of the $1 million employee assistance fund announced earlier this month by Penn Medicine.

Friday, March 27: Update on Summer and Fall Registration

Dear Students and Faculty,

We are sending some important updates regarding summer and fall registration.

Summer 2020 classes will start on Tuesday, May 19 as scheduled. Summer classes in the School of Nursing will be offered remotely to take preventive measures related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety of our campus community are of utmost importance. Students are not required or expected to reside in the Philadelphia area for the summer term. We anticipate that fall semester classes will be offered in residence.

The date for Summer and Fall 2020 registration has been postponed until April 14 at 7am.

As always, summer registration is live – when you request the course, you are enrolled, unless it requires a permit.

Fall registration is Advance Registration, where you submit your requests in order of priority. Registration will not be finalized until after the system closes at midnight on April 24. You may submit your requests at any time between April 14-24. For more information on Advance Registration, please refer to the documentation on our Courses and Registration page.

All Nursing students must request advisor sign off before they are able to register; the hold must be removed from each semester – summer and fall – if students are registering for both semesters.

Students and Faculty are encouraged to check the COVID-19 information and resources page on the School of Nursing website to stay informed. We have included FAQs on advising, registration, policies regarding P/F, as well as university resources available while we work and study remotely on the following page:

As a reminder, the Office of Academic Affairs is working remotely. We ask that you e-mail all advising questions to and registration questions to

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented time. We remain committed to delivering an outstanding academic experience for you and will continue to provide any updates as they occur.



Isabel Boston


Friday, March 27: Message to Penn Faculty and Staff - Extension of Onsite Operations Suspension
Thursday, March 26: COVID-19 Student Volunteering Update

Antonia Villarruel, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing
Julie Sochalski, Associate Dean for Academic Programs
Rosemary Polomano, Associate Dean for Practice
Terri Lipman, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement


We have heard from many students that you have been approached to support various onsite volunteer efforts in relation to COVID-19.   We call your attention to the email from March 12th regarding student community engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.  To protect your safety, and the safety of patients and community members,  it is essential that the School of Nursing remain consistent in our messaging that we are suspending student involvement in our community outreach programs and any volunteer work until the dangers of COVID-19 have eased and “stay at home” restrictions by the City and State have lifted.

We know that students – like many faculty – are being called on to volunteer.  Therefore, in accordance with the guidelines from AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), we agree that “it is essential to ensure that students do not experience any sense of social coercion to volunteer” and, therefore, “participation should be purely voluntary and not considered for any course credit”.    In addition, it is important to understand that volunteer work in the community, regardless of the nature of this work, could result in exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and may require 14 days of self-quarantine prior to resuming any clinical experiences as part of clinical courses.

Thank you for helping us all be safe at this extremely difficult time.

Wednesday, March 25: Pass/Fail Policy for Spring 2020

Dear Graduate Students,

On March 20, 2020 Provost Wendell Pritchett issued a message stating a change in the pass/fail policy to be enacted for all undergraduate courses and for all PhD courses for Spring 2020 only. This policy applies to courses that count toward degrees awarded by the University, that include the BSN and PhD. 

Application of this pass-fail policy change for Spring 2020 to Masters/Professional Degree programs is the province of individual schools.

For the Spring 2020 term:

  • All APRN programs (MSN—CRNP and Midwifery as well as DNP-Nurse Anesthesia) will follow the pass/fail rules as outlined in the student handbook.
  • Only the MSN students in Nursing and Health Care Administration and Health Leadership as well as the Post-MSN DNP students will be allowed to select pass/fail for their courses

This decision was made because we cannot anticipate nor accommodate the full range of regulatory, certification, and accreditation issues that might arise from allowing these programs to move to pass/fail grading. For those students in the Nursing and Health Care Administration, Health Leadership, and Post-MNS DNP Programs, the deadline to select the pass/fail grading option for a course is April 13th.

We hope you are safe and well during this challenging time. Additionally, we are committed to providing updates as soon as it is possible to do so.

Please email if you have any questions or would like to schedule a remote appointment.

Take good care,


Julie Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Co-Director, Penn National Clinician Scholars Program

Nursing Program Director, Vingroup-Penn Alliance

Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics

Faculty Director, Hill College House

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Wednesday, March 25: Penn Nursing Wellness Newsletter
Tuesday, March 24: Update for Nursing PhD Students

Dear Nursing PhD Students,

I wanted to send a few reminders and updates. First, any student who plans to defend their dissertation in the summer and would like to participate in the May graduation please review the PhD Student Handbook instructions listed under graduation ceremonies. The information detailed in the handbook must be submitted by April 1st. Please note that the May graduation will be virtual. However, there are plans to hold an in person ceremony in the future. Second, the Graduate Division of the College of Arts and Sciences has updated the dissertation deposit instructions for Spring 2020. Please review the updated information via this link.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the this information or if you would like to check-in about anything else.

Take good care,


Janae Lamoureux, M.S.Ed.


Associate Director of Graduate Academic Affairs

Monday, March 23: Vice Provost for Education Newsletter for Graduate & Professional Students

Announcements from Vice Provost for Education Beth A. Winkelstein, Ph.D.

Checking In

This has been a semester of tremendous disturbances and daily uncertainty. Many of you have been uprooted from your homes and asked to travel great distances to settle in with family or friends. Many of you are being asked to move instructional content online without much time or preparation. Many of you are also making the same adjustment to remote learning in your own classes. Many of you will graduate this semester without seeing your classmates and faculty again in person. All of these changes have been disruptive and stressful. I want you to know that we are aware of this. We have been called upon to make difficult decisions under constantly shifting circumstances. I hope at least by now you are settling into a place that is safe in all regards and can turn your attention, as we are, to what will be our new normal for several weeks or months.

Recognizing that you may need extra resources at this time to support you and help you feel connected to campus, I am dedicating this issue of my newsletter to listing some the remote services available to you. Although on-campus operations are suspended, most offices and departments are providing some kind of virtual or remote services / appointments. I am highlighting several University-wide resources, and you should also check with your school and program for additional resources and policies.


General Resources for All Graduate & Professional Students

COVID-19 Information

The most up to date information on University operations and guidance can be found at In particular, we direct students in coursework to look at the Student FAQ for Taking Courses Remotely.


As you may have heard over the last few days, there have been several announcements regarding Pass/Fail course elections for Spring 2020. The FAQ for Taking Courses Remotely specifies that all PhD students may choose to designate any currently enrolled course Pass/Fail for the Spring 2020 term. You may take as many of your Spring 2020 courses Pass/Fail as you choose, and you will have until the end of the day on April 13 to make the request of whether to take any course on a Pass/Fail basis. In order to allow students the ability to continue to be graded should you elect that, you must “opt in” to this expanded Pass/Fail option. Courses you select as Pass/Fail during Spring 2020 will count towards your PhD degree requirements.

Since professional degree programs set their own curricular rules, they may or may not offer a similar Pass/Fail option for their students this term. Please ask your Dean or Program Director if you are unsure.

Counseling & Psychological Services

CAPS remains available to students during these unprecedented times. Services may be performed via phone or video conference, as well as in person. If you are a current client, your counselor will communicate with you about your needs moving forward. CAPS will be offering services from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. Any time our CAPS office is closed, a clinician is still available by phone.

Student Health Service

SHS will have limited hours of operation during the current health emergency. However, If SHS is closed, a SHS provider is available by telephone for medical advice and consultation at 215-746-3535. 

Graduate Student Center

Although the Grad Center will be closed for the remainder of the semester, many of their services and activities will be available remotely. The Grad Center has specifically organized Spring 2020 Resources for Graduate & Professional Students, a collection of resources and opportunities for virtual engagement to help you stay connected and academically successful while campus operations are suspended. Have an idea for a virtual program or resource you’d like to see? Let us know by emailing or submitting this form.

Weingarten Learning Resources Center

The WLRC staff continues to support students by providing academic assistance (e.g., individual consultations with learning instructors, tutoring) through virtual platforms and by overseeing implementation of accommodations for students with disabilities. 

Penn Libraries

The Penn Libraries is working to increase virtual resources and services to support faculty and student; see their Virtual Support for Teaching and Research Guide. In addition, they have been working with academic publishers to make additional virtual content openly available. Even though the Penn Libraries buildings remain closed, subject librarians are standing by to support online teaching, research, and learning throughout the rest of the semester.

Career Services

Career Services is committed to serving students remotely. Schedule a phone or video appointment; learn more at their website


Resources and Information for Specific Student Populations

Teaching Assistants

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Online Learning Initiative (OLI) have partnered to provide a guide to teaching remotely. In addition, Penn Libraries’ Virtual Support page provides a range of guides, tutorials, and support services to help with virtual classes.

Students and Postdocs with Children

The Family Center has gathered virtual resources for students and postdocs with children.

International Students

International Student & Scholar Service’s (ISSS) advisors are available by email or virtual advising appointment. ISSS has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19 and is holding a series of virtual town halls to answer student questions and concerns.

Students Serving as Essential Personnel

As you may know, with the shut-down of research labs, a very few number of researchers have been designated as essential personnel. The Vice Provost for Research has a dedicated webpage for research continuity and guidelines for the safety of those essential personnel. No student should be designated as essential without their consent. If you are designated as essential and feel uncomfortable with that role, please send a note to to let us know and we will help ensure you are replaced in that role. Your safety is our first priority.

Graduating PhD and Research Master’s Students

Recognizing that students and faculty are far-flung, we have instituted special dissertation defense and deposit instructions for Spring 2020.


Virtual Programs and Activities

Language Chats

The Grad Center’s popular language chats are moving online! If you are interested in facilitating or joining a virtual language chat, please fill out this form and we’ll connect you with other students for informal conversation and language practice in your selected language! Learn more and see currently-scheduled chats at


Writing Accountability Groups & Partners

Joining a writing accountability group can help you meet your writing goals. Whether you’re working on a dissertation, journal article, or other writing project, forming a group with other students working on writing projects is a great way to help one another make progress and meet deadlines, by providing accountability and encouragement along the way. Check out resources for existing writing groups or fill out our group matching form and we will help connect you with a writing group or partner!


NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program Virtual Information Session

Monday, March 23, 12:00-1:00 PM (EDT); Zoom meeting
Learn more about the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP), which helps highly motivated graduate-level students grow as the next generation of nuclear security leaders. The one-year, salaried (with benefits) fellowships provide hands-on experience in national security and nonproliferation, professional development and networking opportunities, extensive interaction and collaboration with leading national security technology and policy experts. The program is open to master’s and doctoral students, as well as recent graduates.


Fulbright U.S. Student Program Overview

March 24, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM; online webinar

Staff at the Institute of International Education (IIE) offer an overview of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the opportunities it provides to study, research or teach abroad. Please register in advance.


ORISE Virtual Outreach Fair

Wednesday, March 25, 12pm - 3:05pm; online
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is hosting a virtual outreach fair to highlight a variety of paid internships and fellowships within government agencies and national laboratories across the country. Participants will learn more about research, internship, and fellowship opportunities and chat with mentors from government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and more! If you have any questions, or trouble registering, contact


Assessing Learning and Providing Feedback Remotely

Wednesday, March 25, 2:00-2:45 PM (EDT); Zoom Meeting (Register for Link)

This workshop explores tools in Canvas that instructors can use to assign and assess student work so students can continue to complete the expectations of the course and reach the instructor’s goals: assignments, quizzes, and discussion boards.  We will also explore how to use these tools to give students feedback on assignments so they can improve later and continue to feel connected to the course. Join us for a 45-minute workshop online, including Q&A. The workshop will be recorded for those that cannot attend.


The Off-Campus Services Virtual Housing Fair

Thursday, March 26, from 9:00 am- 5:00 pm EDT. 

Students returning in the fall will have the opportunity to visit virtual booths and live chat with local landlords and local vendors. See for more information.


Running Your Class Remotely: Lecture and Discussion

Friday, March 27; 12:30 – 1:15 PM (EDT); Zoom meeting (Register for link)

This workshop provides a guide to conveying course content and promoting discussion and engagement using online learning tools. Participants in this workshop will learn how to get started with Panopto, a tool for recording lectures, and tools like Zoom and BlueJeans that allow students and faculty to speak together in live sessions. We will also explore discussion boards and how they can be used as an alternative to live online discussions. The 45-minute online workshop will be recorded for those that cannot attend.


Developing a Daily Writing Practice

Wednesday, April 8, 10:00 – 11:00 AM; Webinar (Register for link)

Are you working on a dissertation or lengthy writing project and wish you could develop a healthy daily writing routine that would allow you to make steady progress towards finishing? This webinar will help by identifying common mistakes and sharing strategies to increase your writing productivity without creating unrealistic expectations or additional stress.

Highlighted Fellowships and Opportunities

Wolf Humanities Center Graduate Research Fellowships

Deadline: March 22

The Wolf Humanities Center offers two one-year research fellowships to Penn graduate students in the humanities who are ABD and conducting research related to an annual theme. The 2020-21 theme is Choice. Research fellows receive $2,500 each and are required to attend the Center’s weekly Mellon Research Seminar and to present their work at one of the sessions.

Y.H. Park Fellowship

Deadline: April 14

This fellowship funds a Ph.D. or a master’s student in the humanities, social sciences, international management, international studies, or fine arts whose primary research area is Korea and whose dissertation will be on Korea. The Park Fellowship will cover the cost of Reduced PhD Tuition, a 12-month stipend and health insurance.

Data Incubator Data Science Fellowship

Deadlines: Multiple sessions each year, deadlines vary. 

An advanced 8-week fellowship for PhDs looking to enter industry. Free for admitted Fellows. Participate either in person in New York City, Washington, DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, or online.

To see additional fellowships and award opportunities, visit CURF Resources for Graduate Students and Grad Center Grants and Fellowships webpages.

About the Vice Provost for Education

The Vice Provost for Education oversees the programs and policies that govern teachers and students at Penn. The VPE portfolio includes the Graduate Student Center, the Center for Teaching & Learning, the Family Resource Center, the Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships, the Office of Student Conduct, the Online Learning Initiative, College Houses & Academic Services, Penn First Plus, and New Undergraduate Student Orientation & Academic Initiatives.
Monday, March 23: Pennsylvania Suspends Some Nurse Licensing Requirements to Aid Coronavirus Response 

Harrisburg, PA — The Department of State has suspended certain administrative requirements for nurses, including temporarily extending license expiration dates and waiving associated fees during the coronavirus emergency. 

“We are taking this action to ensure that Pennsylvania has plenty of nurses available to treat patients and that these nurses do not have to worry about renewing their licenses while responding to COVID-19,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “This measure also frees more than 14,000 nurse practitioners to be more flexible in meeting public-health needs in the weeks to come.”

Additional suspensions during this time mean that:

  • Temporary nursing practice permits and graduate permits will be extended beyond one year and extension fees will be waived.
  • Registered Nurses will not have to apply for extensions of their RN graduate or temporary permits. All temporary and graduate permits that would normally expire during the next 90 days will be automatically extended for an additional 90 days.
  • Practical Nurses will not have to apply for extensions of their PN graduate or temporary permits.  All temporary and graduate permits that would normally expire during the next 90 days will be automatically extended for an additional 90 days.
  • Registered Nurses, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) and Certified Nurse Specialists (CNS) can continue to care for patients if their licenses are currently “in renewal” and set to expire on April 30, 2020. These licenses will be extended for an additional three months until July 31, 2020.
  • Nursing school graduates who:
    • have been issued “Authorizations to Test” by the board, and
    • have been unable to sit for the licensure examinations due to cancellation of the examinations because of COVID-19, and
    • do not already have a graduate permit

           can immediately apply for a graduate permit so they can assist in the COVID-19
           response. The graduate permit authorizes graduate nurses to practice under
           supervision of a registered nurse until they can take the examinations. The permits 
           expire if the graduate permit holder fails the examination.

  • More than 14,000 CRNPs can practice to their full capabilities and assist in the COVID-19 response without the usual requirement that they practice within a specific clinical specialty. They also are allowed to prescribe drugs outside the established formulary. 
  • On a CRNP’s initial application for prescription-writing authority, the State Board of Nursing will require only one collaborative physician and one substitute physician, rather than the entire list of substitutes.
  • In the event that board-recognized national CRNP certification examinations become unavailable during the coronavirus emergency, CRNPs will not have to hold national certification in a particular specialty. 
  • Out-of-state applicants for certification as a CRNP by endorsement in Pennsylvania, who are active licensees of other states and have national certification, will not have to meet the educational equivalence requirement.

Earlier this week, the Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs announced that in-state and out-of-state health care practitioners can treat patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency. 

The Department of State is working with the governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to identify regulations and requirements that can be suspended to give medical providers and facilities the flexibility they need to respond to COVID-19. The Department of State website will be updated regularly as additional requirement suspension information becomes available.
Monday, March 23: Message from Terri Lipman Regarding Community Activities

Dear Penn Nursing Family, 

These are extraordinarily challenging times.  As a consequence, a number of activities and initiatives have been suspended.  However, our commitment to under resourced, marginalized communities cannot be put on hold during this time of great need.  Many of you have asked how you can provide support under these circumstances.  Two of our valued community partners, Families Forward Shelter (associated with CHOP’s Homeless Health Initiative (HHI)), and Puentes de Salud have reached out to us. Families Forward is Philadelphia’s largest emergency shelter for families.  Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health) provides high-quality health care and educational programs for Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latinx immigrant population. These partners, that have provided so many opportunities for our students and faculty,  have requested donations to support their tireless efforts to provide resources and services.  We had initially planned to organize drop off sites for the items needed for shelters, but the need for all of us to stay close to home has precluded that effort.  Monetary contributions are ideal for both Families Forward and Puentes de Salud . Any amount will be appreciated.

Puentes de Salud:

Families Forward: Click here to make a gift.

Thank you so much for your ongoing commitment to being the best neighbors that Penn Nursing can be!  Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Warmest regards,


Friday, March 20: A Message from Dean Villarruel to Penn Nursing Students

Dear Students,

We find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances, and it is difficult to fully express just how grateful and proud I am of all of you and how you have responded to the rapid changes in your routines. From the depopulation of campus, to the shift to remote learning, to the news about Commencement—these are challenging times, and it is a true testament to the great spirit and talent in all of you that you have remained flexible and positive as we navigate these uncharted waters together. You have been exceptionally resilient, and I thank you.

Resiliency is something that is at the core of nursing. We learn to operate in stressful situations. That is just what nurses do—and so do Penn Nursing students. I know that you are working hard and will continue to do so, even under these changed circumstances. For our part, Penn Nursing remains fully committed to your education, to giving you the best experience that we can, both inside and outside the (virtual) classroom. We expect next week to be quite busy as we move forward and begin delivering education online, and, with all of us working together, we will succeed as we always do.

I know that this is not the way that you envisioned the final weeks of the semester, but please know that we are all thinking of you and working behind the scenes to make this interruption and transition as painless as it can possibly be. Additionally, we are looking at creative options to bring Commencement and the festivities of the graduation season to you. More on that will be coming soon.

Finally, please remember that, together, we are the Power of Penn, and the power behind Penn Nursing. You are part of a caring community that is committed to your success, no matter the challenges!

Thank you, again. Be well, and take good care.



Dean Villarruel


Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing

Friday, March 20: A Message to Penn Undergraduates About Pass/Fail Options
Tuesday, March 17: A Personal Message from Amy Gutmann
Tuesday, March 17: Penn’s EAP Behavioral Health and Work-life Services
Monday, March 16: Major Changes to Commencement and Alumni Weekend

 Monday, March 16: A Message to Faculty and Staff Regarding University Operations
Monday, March 16: A Message from Penn Nursing’s Office of Admissions
 The Office of Admissions is working remotely starting March 16 through March 31 or longer, if necessary. We ask that you e-mail all questions to

Admissions staff members are still available to answer your questions about our programs. We encourage you to browse our website, listen to previously recorded admissions webinars, and e-mail with additional questions. We are not permitted to meet with prospective applicants in-person.

We are still reviewing all submitted applications and accepting applications for MSN part-time summer 2020 and fall 2020 enrollment through April 1. Please continue to submit all documents electronically. Decision notifications are expected to remain on schedule.

Lastly, we have not received any updates regarding changes in start dates or schedules for incoming students. We will notify you if and when updates are made available.

Thank you,

Office of Admissions
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Monday, March 16: A Message to Faculty, Doctoral Students, & Post-Docs

Dear Faculty, Doctoral Students, & Post-Docs

I am adding to the most recent directive from Provost Pritchett, Vice Provost Bonnell & Dean Jameson.  Their memo focuses on lab research, but it applies to all our our research programs.  In keeping with the intent of this memo, I want to be clear on how to apply this to the Penn Nursing Resarch portfolio.

Faculty please consider your own protocols using the following guiding principles.  Doctoral students & Post-docs work directly with your faculty mentor to determine how to handle your research activities.

Guiding Principles:

  1. Health system partners mandate that only essential clinical contact occur with patients.   Research does not fit that criteria.  Research staff should not be in clinical settings for the purpose of research - whether for enrollment, subject contact, medical record review or any other reason unless you are directly involved with a COVID-19 study.
  2. Research subjects should not be brought to campus.
  3. Community:  Research teams should carefully review their protocols and change to telephone, mail, or web contact only.   Having staff members move throughout the community from subject to subject defeats the purpose of social distancing and mitigating the transmission of this virus throughout the community.
  4. For our lab-based colleagues - the messaging from central university is very clear.  In light of this new directive please revisit the contingency plans you shared with me last week to further determine what is the minimal essential functions (and people) who need to continue.
  5. Keep your research team fully apprised and knowledgeable about what decisions you are making and why.
  6. Keep the program officer from your funding agency apprised.
  7. All research specific updates can be found on the Vice Provost for Research website.   All decisions you make must be consistent with guidance from central university.

I know this is disconcerting,  Thus, I will give you a concrete example.  I have taken my own study in the following direction: 1)  fully halted enrollment at Penn Presby; 2) halted in-home follow-up interviews;  3) moved to telephone follow-up interviews only and we will pre-text the response cards to our subjects; 4) a plan to move to mail (yes - snail mail) if needed for follow-up;  5) tasking my team with other background work that can be completed remotely.  

Remember, everyone throughout the country is in the same situation.  We will bounce back but health and well-being trumps the risks of worsening the transmission of COVID-19. 

Feel free to reach out to Bob or Terry if you need a sounding board to think through your study issues.  ONR (grants management, BECCA, LITNR, and Innovation) is functioning  and here to serve you. We will do our best to be timely in responses but as we navigate transitioning to remote (as are all university research services) please be patient.  Think about productivity even if you have to pause your current protocols.   This could be a terrific time to get data analyzed, get manuscripts out the door, and work on new proposals.  


Therese S. Richmond PhD, CRNP, FAAN

Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing

Associate Dean for Research & Innovation

Sunday, March 15: Important Information About PhD Students and Research Activities on Campus

To Penn PhD students:

I know the last several days have been challenging with many messages, confusing information, uncertainty, and even disappointment. You may have learned already that Penn is asking all researchers to immediately prepare to discontinue all non-essential on-campus research activities on or before March 17.  This note provides additional information and guidance that I hope will help keep you updated and also provides clarifications around some questions you may have related to the news about non-essential research.

Because the University is prohibiting all non-essential laboratory work, PhD students conducting laboratory research should consult with their Principal Investigators and graduate group for guidance on how to continue with your research activities remotely. You should not be expected to enter labs unless in discussing this with your PI you are deemed to be essential to maintaining animal research or cell lines, etc.. All other students should be preparing to work on analysis, writing, etc..  We strongly encourage all PhD students to discuss with your advisor a plan for how you will conduct research remotely and you should actively make arrangements with your advisors to do so.

Please be reassured that if you currently receive a stipend, this will continue through the end of the semester as long as you continue in your coursework online and/or make the academic progress on your research that you and advisor agree is appropriate given this recent change. 

I strongly encourage all students to update your information in Penn In Touch. Share your mobile number, home address, and family contacts (with phone numbers). If you have a temporary address, please update that as well with the dates you will be at that address.

The University has created a student FAQ that is continuously being updated. Please check it frequently to get answers to your questions. As you can imagine, there are still many issues that have yet to be resolved, particularly around student services. Even though instruction has moved online, the campus support offices are still working and remain open but providing services remotely. You should know that most gathering spaces will be or are already closed. As additional decisions are made, the FAQ will be updated.

We continue to work on guidelines for depositing your dissertation this semester and will distribute more information when it is available.

We intend to support you as you complete your academic requirements remotely. My office is developing an FAQ about online courses for students, and it will be posted at shortly.

I know that this is yet another in a series of announcements that we are all adapting to.  I appreciate everyone’s flexibility as the University works through these unprecedented challenges. Please be sure to look out for your health and support yourself and each other. 

Be well,

Beth Winkelstein, PhD

Vice Provost for Education

Sunday, March 15: New Measures for Research at Penn in Response to COVID-19


Sunday, March 15: A Message from Penn Libraries


Saturday, March 14: A Message to Faculty and Students in MSN programs

Dear Faculty and Students:

We appreciate your forbearance as we navigate the thicket of rapid change and conflicting information to bring you clear, coherent direction on how we are moving forward in response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

As you know, a number of our clinical practice partners have imposed restrictions on student clinical experiences, with the goal of keeping our students, staff, faculty, healthcare professional colleagues, and, importantly, patients and the public safe and to the extent that is possible protected from any unnecessary exposure to environments posing risks for the spread of this virus. We are monitoring the situation very closely and are being proactive to address the implications of these restrictions that continue to change..

As of today, we have been notified by the following hospitals/health that they are suspending student placements;  University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine) and affiliated sites, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Temple University Hospital, Einstein Healthcare Network,  Nemours, RWJ Barnabas Health in New Brunswick, NY Presbyterian (NYC), and NYU Langone Health. All students should check with the course faculty and directors for ongoing updated information about their clinical sites and course work. Below we provide guidance for the remainder of the semester:

Clinical Placements Sites:    

1)   For those clinical placement sites that have notified the School of Nursing of suspended clinical experiences for students, students should not report to the practice site or have contact with preceptors until further notice by your faculty. Faculty will be working together to arrange for students to meet their required clinical hours by extending clinical time once these restrictions are lifted and through alternative experiences to meet clinical hours and are compliant with accrediting/certifying bodies.

2)   For sites that faculty have been advised are still accepting students for clinical experiences, students may resume their plans for obtaining clinical hours and should continually be aware that decisions regarding placements may change. Students are to follow the CDC guidelines ( regarding COVID-19 risk and should disclose to faculty any potential risk so further clinical access can be assessed and determined if safe. Students should not report to any clinical site if they have a fever, cough or any flu-like symptoms, have returned from travel from a CDC Level 2 or 3 country that requires 14 days of self-isolation according to the CDC guidelines, or have come in direct contact with a person known to have COVID-19 virus.  

Please be aware that restrictions by our clinical partners may change over time, and that the restrictions are likely to vary. With everyone’s help we will be able to track and be vigilant about these changes and to swiftly deploy all needed training modifications.

Faculty Advising:  All faculty advising will now be accomplished through Bluejeans or remote technology.

Access to the School of Nursing Building:

1)   While students are permitted to come to Fagin Hall if necessary, we strongly encourage accessing faculty/resources at Fagin Hall and on campus remotely to assure proper social distancing.

2)   Faculty will have access to Fagin Hall and are expected to resume normal work at the School of Nursing as appropriate. Department Chairs and Program Directors are connecting with all faculty regarding preparation for remote teaching. While faculty may convene small group meetings, they are encouraged to use bluejeans or other virtual meeting technology to conduct their meetings.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we respond to the restrictions imposed for our safety and the safety of others. The School of Nursing leaders and faculty are working diligently in these stressful times to support all of our students and provide the necessary instructional experience to complete their respective programs. We will redouble our efforts for clear, timely, and accurate communication so that we minimize unnecessary confusion and stay focused on the goal—an excellent program experience that will prepare all students to be the nursing practice leaders of the future.


In health and wellness,


Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor


Julie Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Dean for Academic Programs


Friday, March 13: Penn Libraries information on Virtual Library Assistance for Faculty, Students, & Staff

Dear Penn Nursing Community,  

The Penn Libraries staff will continue to offer services that are beneficial to our faculty and students even as we move to virtual instruction. Please visit our website for the most up-to-date information on the Libraries’ hours, policies, and access to collections: 

COVID-19: Libraries Policies and Information 

I want to assure you that I will be available and working whether from the Libraries or from home. There are multiple ways for you and your students to connect with me.  

  • I am monitoring my email and you and your students can continue to contact me in this way.
  • If we need to communicate by phone, please send me your number and times that you are available, and I will contact you.
  • I am also happy to have a phone call or to set up video conferencing with you or your students using Bluejeans or Zoom. I can talk with you and your students to arrange mutually agreeable times.
  • We monitor “Ask a Question“ submissions throughout the day, and are committed to responding within 24 or fewer hours.

If you have any questions, or need assistance identifying digital resources for your classes, please reach out to me directly.

Stay safe and healthy!


Sherry Morgan, PhD, MLS, BSNEd, RN

Clinical &  Graduate Research Liaison

Friday, March 13: A Message to Penn Nursing Undergraduate Students

Dear Penn Undergraduate Nursing Students,

The School of Nursing prioritizes your health and well-being above all, which guides our actions now and always. Our goal is to provide meaningful academic experiences on your journey to becoming an expert nurse and health care leader. Meeting that goal and assuring your health and safety, however, has been severely challenged with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are Penn Nursing, and we are redoubling our efforts to face the challenge and still achieve our goal.

You have been receiving ongoing correspondence from the University explicating the approach Penn is taking to reduce the possibility of viral spread while carrying on its academic mission. Specifically, the message from President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett notes that  all students should not return to campus. Any students in University Housing and College Houses should depart by Tuesday, March 17 by 8pm. Any questions regarding housing can be directed to

We are writing to bring you up to date on how the School of Nursing is complying with the actions being taken. We hope this note helps to answer many questions that you have about how the rest of the semester will unfold for you, and we will continue to update you and work to resolve any issues and problems that arise.

We received information from Penn Medicine and its affiliates and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that clinical training experiences for all students in these facilities are suspended. The date for which clinical training opportunities will resume remains uncertain. This decision will impact the following Spring 2020 clinical courses:

NURS 215

NURS 225

NURS 255

NURS 390

Didactic and Simulation Course Components

In accordance with University communication to the Penn community, all simulation and didactic components of these courses will be delivered through a range of remote teaching methods. Your course director will be in contact with you about the course activities and will be your point of contact for questions you may have.

Clinical Course Components

We are rapidly assembling and reviewing options for how to complete your clinical hours in consultation with our peer institutions, other schools in the Pennsylvania area, and with the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. These options could include more simulation time, virtual clinical experiences, or possibly in-person clinical hours in the summer and fall (depending on the course). More information will be shared with you over the coming days and weeks as we learn more about these options and how to deploy them.

We appreciate your time and patience as the response to COVID-19 is continues to evolve. The School of Nursing faculty and staff will continue to support you and serve as a resource. 

In health and wellness,


Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor


Julie Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Thursday, March 12: A Message to Penn Nursing PhD Students

 Dear Nursing PhD Students,

This email is a follow up to previous campus messaging referencing steps the University is taking in response to CDC guidelines. Please note that Penn Nursing is always committed to supporting students in making progress in their academic pursuits. We understand that this is a challenging time for everyone but are committed to providing guidance and information as soon as it is made available.

Coursework and Research

  • Courses will be delivered online when they resume on Monday, March 23rd. This applies to seminars, first-year sessions, pod meetings, journal clubs, etc.
  • Please discuss the best way to address your research progression with your Faculty Advisor or Chair.
  • Campus buildings are currently remaining open and accessible for you to utilize, including the Biomedical Library.  However, no larger in person group meetings are permitted at this time.


  • Please continue to schedule and complete Qualifying Exams, Candidacy Exams, Dissertation Defenses as planned.
  • Faculty advisor and committee meetings should also continue as planned (remotely if needed).
  • Annual Progress Reports should still be developed with your faculty advisors and committees for May submission.

Dissertation Defenses

  • Defenses should continue as planned. As Fagin Hall is still open, defenses will take place in your reserved room unless otherwise communicated. Defense committee members can attend in person but are also permitted to do so remotely (this is an exception made for the Spring 2020 semester). Anyone else planning to attend must do so remotely. The Center for Teaching and Learning has provided guidance on remote conferencing tools.
  • The Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences will allow for electronic signatures on all defense documents for the dissertation deposit. Additionally, online deposits are also permitted for the remainder of Spring 2020.
  • We will be in contact with students who have defenses scheduled this semester with more details as they become available.

Teaching Assistants/ Residencies

  • As the Vice Provost of Education Office previously communicated, teaching assistants should be in contact with their course directors to assist with their assigned course for the remainder of the semester.
  • If involved in a Teaching or Research Residency, please be in contact with your faculty preceptor on what is needed to compete and meet the residency requirements.

University Housing

  • If you are a graduate assistant in university housing and are unsure as to whether you are permitted to remain in residence, please contact you house dean immediately.

Academic & Wellness Support Services

Please note that our campus-wide partners will continue to operate providing services remotely and in person. CAPS and Student Health remain open at this time.

We know that this is a challenging time for everyone and are available to meet remotely to address any questions and concerns. Please know that we are committed to sharing information as it is provided to us.

Stay safe and utilize for the most recent University wide information.



Janae Lamoureux, M.S.Ed.


Associate Director of Graduate Academic Affairs 


Wednesday, March 11: Important Message to the Penn Nursing Community

To the Penn Nursing Community,

In follow up to President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett’s recent communication, we are writing to also communicate the School of Nursing’s stand on managing COVID-19. Please note the following:

• Spring Break has been extended an additional week to allow all Schools, including the School of Nursing, the opportunity to transition all in-person courses to be delivered remotely beginning Monday, March 23, when classes will resume in virtual form. There will be more information about this transition for faculty, students, and staff in the next few days.
• Faculty will receive an additional email communication shortly outlining our plans to assess your needs to teach remotely and concerns in the clinical courses. For faculty who traveled or have further questions, please contact your Department Chairs.
• All didactic portions of Nursing classes will be held remotely starting March 23.
• All simulation labs will be held remotely starting March 23.


• The clinical training components of our BSN, MSN, and DNP-Nurse Anesthesia programs are currently being evaluated with our clinical partners. We will notify students if they will be permitted to resume clinical rotations as we learn more information. As these guidelines develop and become formalized, we will keep you informed but it is our priority that our students meet their academic requirements in a timely manner.
• We are focusing on all May 2020 and August 2020 graduates at this time. For second and third year BSN students we are focusing on making up clinical hours in the fall. For ABSN students, we are focusing on making up clinical hours in the summer. We will be in regular communication regarding clinical hours as information becomes available.

First-Year Traditional BSN Students

• NURS 102 will no longer have clinical observations and an alternative virtual experience will be provided. All remaining lectures will be virtual.

All Students Living in the College Houses or University Housing

• All students living in the College Houses should depart campus effective Sunday, March 15 per President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett’s most recent communication.

PhD Students on Dissertation Status

• In conjunction with your Faculty Chair, PhD students should discuss how to best conduct the collection of research data for the remainder of the semester.
• Dissertation Defenses will be held remotely. More information will be provided.

Academic/Financial Aid Advising

• Advanced Registration advising meetings with Faculty Advisors will be done remotely by appointment only.
• OAA Academic Advising and Financial Aid Advising will only be available virtually by appointment through BlueJeans or email. All in-person appointments and walk-in advising hours are suspended for the remainder of the semester.
• Contact for any academic-related questions.
• Contact for any financial aid-related questions.

Additional Considerations

• The Office of Operational Services has been working directly with our Housekeeping Team led by Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services (FRES) to make sure that all areas of the School are properly disinfected.
• For general inquiries regarding COVID-19, email or visit

As always, we appreciate the cooperation of all members of our Penn Nursing community and, in turn, we will continue to be proactive in communicating with you in this rapidly changing situation. Please be reminded that these resources also remain the most current and accurate sources of information: Provost’s Office and Penn Global, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and University emails.

In closing, please take care of yourself. Wash your hands frequently, and stay home if you are sick! And as always, be kind to one another and look out for each other.

Thank you.

Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing

Julie A. Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Jacqueline Lowry Golding
Vice Dean for Administration and Finance

Christina M. Costanzo, EdD
Assistant Dean for Admissions & Academic Affairs

Patricia D’Antonio, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chair, Department of Family and Community Health

Julie Fairman, RN, PhD, FAAN
Chair, Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences


Tuesday, March 10: Message from Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services Concerning Cleaning

The operations and maintenance teams for our University of Pennsylvania facilities are committed to helping members of the campus community to remain healthy, safe and productive in these living and learning environments.

In light of the concerns regarding the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Penn Facilities & Real Estate Services (FRES) Housekeeping has been in close communication with Student Health Services to review our operating procedures related to disinfecting to assist in the prevention and spread of this virus. 

On a daily basis, these operating procedures are reviewed and at times enhanced, in close collaboration with University safety and emergency planning.  These steps include:

  • the ongoing use of an EPA-approved hospital grade disinfectant, which works effectively and efficiently in sanitizing;
  • an increased focus on disinfecting high touch points on a daily basis, such as light switches, door knobs, push bars, hand railings, elevator buttons, key pads at building entrances, and computer labs;
  • daily trash removal and disinfectant of receptacles.

Cautionary measures and best practices to combat the Coronavirus have been reviewed with Housekeeping staff to educate them on the essential steps to prevention of the spread of this virus, including the use of personal and protective equipment and frequent washing of hands. 

We will continue to collaborate with the Student Health Services, make any necessary adjustments, and keep the campus community informed.

FRES Housekeeping will continue to monitor our overall Mission Continuity plans as well to ensure all other essential and critical functions of our operations are being addressed as the situation evolves. 

We will anticipate accordingly for any rapid response plan that may need to be implemented with additional supplies and procedures at the ready, should these conditions escalate or develop further around our campus facilities. 
Information Related to Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely
Our Information Technology Services (ITS) team has assembled a guide to help you navigate remote access.
Penn HR: Coronavirus Health and Safety
Penn is committed to faculty and employee wellbeing as well as the health and safety of the Penn community around the world. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we encourage everyone to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases in accordance with the University’s policies. Information related to remote work guidelines, sick time and leave reference, and more can be found here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The latest information from the CDC on COVID-19 is located here.

American Association of the Colleges of Nursing

Considerations for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in U.S. Schools of Nursing