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COVID-19 Contingency Resources

Guidelines for conducting research on campus
during COVID-19 restrictions

Following Penn State’s announcement about easing masking and distancing requirements for vaccinated individuals, here are some guidelines on how the new measures apply to research groups in the Eberly College of Science

For more information, please refer to the University’s COVID-Related FAQs for Research Administration and Researchers

Between June 1 and June 28

•    All researchers approved in the Return to Work database and students approved in the departmental database can return to research and use their offices. Please follow existing lab safety plans and sanitizing/disinfectant protocols and work with your facilities coordinator as you reoccupy spaces.

•    Anyone not yet approved to return to campus needs to submit requests and have them approved before returning to campus. 

•    Meetings of less than 10 people can be conducted in person. 

•    All researchers—regardless of vaccination status—must wear masks and practice physical distancing (minimum six feet) at all times while in buildings, with the exception of single occupants of private offices with the doors closed. Unvaccinated individuals are expected to continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing while outdoors. Vaccinated individuals, however, are not currently required to wear masks or practice physical distancing while outside.

•    Occupancy of lab and office spaces should continue to consider specific lab arrangements and ensure that occupants maintain a working distance of at least six feet. Researchers may work closer than six feet for brief periods (i.e., less than 10 minutes). If a procedure requires two people to work closer than six feet, they must have approval from their department head. 

After June 28

•    PIs in the Return to Work database can transition their research groups to pre-COVID densities. 

•    Anyone not yet approved to return to campus needs to submit requests and have them approved before returning to campus. 

•    All researchers (regular employees*, postdocs, and students) who have not been fully vaccinated will still be expected to wear masks inside University buildings at all times.

•    Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks indoors (except in certain settings, such as when visiting on-campus health care facilities and when conducting in-person research involving human subjects).

•    The physical distancing and outdoor masking requirements will be lifted for all individuals.

•    This system will remain in place until at least August 16; continued use after August 16 is not yet determined.

*Note: This applies to regular employees only. Teamsters Local Union No. 8 negotiated a separate masking agreement for technical service employees in accordance with changing local, state, and federal guidance. As a result, there will be slightly different guidelines for different populations of the University.


Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible and share their vaccination status with the University so we can better assess vaccination rates. 
•    Employees and World Campus students can provide their vaccination status to the University using SalesForce Health Cloud, a secure online platform for collecting health data. A step-by-step guide to help the University’s employees with submission will be available as well via the COVID-19 Vaccination web page on the Return to Work website.

•    Students at University Park, Commonwealth Campuses, and Dickinson Law can upload their vaccination records through myUHS.  
After registering their vaccination status, students and employees who wish to participate in the incentive program must also complete an online form to become eligible for the weekly drawings.