Penn State extends remote course delivery through spring semester

Spring commencement ceremony plans are postponed; students must have University approval before accessing on-campus residences
Credit: Patrick Mansell

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Based on evolving federal guidance and statewide mitigation plans announced by Gov. Tom Wolf around the growing coronavirus pandemic and the global efforts underway to stop its spread, Penn State has extended the remote-delivery period for all classes through at least the spring semester. Examinations will also be administered remotely. Additionally, spring commencement ceremonies will be postponed while the University explores options for celebrating the achievements of our students. These decisions align with recommendations from the federal government that call for restricting of all gatherings of more than 10 people. 

“Graduation is a significant milestone for our students and while it may not be the same as our traditional ceremony, we are committed to finding the best way possible to recognize the achievements of our graduates,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “However, as the world works together to slow the spread of COVID-19, these decisions must be made with public health at the forefront along with the health and wellness of our students, faculty, staff, their families, and our local communities.” 

The University will announce soon a schedule for students to return to campus to move out of their on-campus residence halls. It is essential that students know they will not be able to swipe into their on-campus residences until they receive specific information and detailed instructions regarding the schedule. This is critical to the University’s efforts to create as much social distancing as possible and maintain a low level of exposure risk to our students as well as all of our local communities.  

“The University will also work with local authorities, landlords, and student leaders, where we can, to develop strategies to minimize the impact of students returning to our communities to retrieve personal belongings,” said Barron. “We encourage all students to be patient as they await further guidance and support.”

With this announcement there will be other questions about room and board refunds, on-campus jobs, internships, research projects and many other topics. University leadership is working on these issues, and more information will be forthcoming soon.

“We also know that this is causing significant distress for many in our Penn State family, for a variety of reasons. Please know, while we are not together physically, we are here to support you virtually in any way we can,” Barron continued. “The administration, faculty and staff are doing everything we can to manage disruptions to your learning, teaching, working and living arrangements as much as possible, given these extraordinary circumstances. And there are services and various support mechanisms in place or in development.”  

Penn State will continue to communicate frequently in the coming days and weeks — including directly via Penn State student email accounts and the Penn State Go app — about accessing their belongings on campus as well as through University announcements. There are various resources available for students, including newer announcements regarding free e-textbook access from both Barnes & Noble and VitalSource. Please bookmark and continue to visit for the latest information.

The University also understands that these decisions have an impact in our local communities and will work closely with our local partners as we continue to address our shared challenges and needs together.

The University continues to raise funds for students in need. To the extent available, funds from the Student Care & Advocacy Emergency Fund will be made available to students in financial need across the commonwealth who apply for emergency assistance. For those looking to contribute, please visit