Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This page is designed to present helpful guidelines, recommendations, and tools for faculty, staff, and students at the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) in response to the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

New developments are emerging quickly, and above all, we urge you to follow the recommendations and guidelines from local, state, and federal authorities. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

The following organizations have set up official coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pages, in an effort to keep the public up-to-date:

University of Pennsylvania resources are available here:


Spring break has been extended for one week, through Sunday, March 22nd. The timing of the semester end will not change in May. Beginning on March 23rd and continuing for the remainder of the regular semester schedule, all courses will be taught remotely through an online platform, such as Zoom. All classes will be taught during the regularly scheduled time period already assigned to each class (EST).

All summer classes scheduled between May and June will also be taught remotely.

Online learning resources are available on SP2’s Online Learning webpage.

Field Placements, Practica and Internships


All MSW students will not be returning to their field placements after spring break. Field supervisors, in conjunction with practice faculty, liaisons, and students, will be asked to make a plan to responsibly end remotely with clients and/or projects. For some students, certain field projects may be determined to be completed remotely. The practice instructors and field liaisons will work with the students, field instructors, and the Field Office to devise a plan for the students to end their placements or to finish the spring semester’s field work remotely through the work in their practice classes. All work, whether completed remotely or assigned by a practice professor, will be relevant to students’ area of practice and associated CSWE competencies.


MSSP students are required to complete a minimum of 150 hours for the MSSP internships during the spring or summer semesters. The majority of the students complete their internships in the summer, starting in May/June, but several students are currently completing spring internships. There is flexibility on how students complete the balance of their hours. Options for remote work have been sent to practicum partners and include video meetings with staff and stakeholders, policy research and evaluation, and literature reviews, among others. The program will work with internship partners to devise individualized plans for students to work remotely, complete their internship and graduate on time. Advising meetings will be available via Zoom or Skype.


NPL students are required to complete a minimum of 180 hours for the Leadership Practicum between October and April, so most of the hours have been completed already. There is flexibility in how students complete the balance of their hours. Options for remote work have been sent to practicum partners and include video meetings with staff and stakeholders, developing online materials and social media for organizations, policy and program reviews, and fundraising and grant work, among others. Monthly practicum meetings are already available through Zoom.

Campus Libraries

Effective immediately, all Penn Libraries, including the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, will be closed to the Penn community until further notice. Additional information is available here: COVID-19: Libraries Policies and Information.

Fortunately, the majority of the Libraries’ collections are available in digital format. Staff have been working to digitize course materials and faculty-selected works for classes.  In addition, delivery of books from our print collection (FacultyExpress) and BorrowDirect, EZBorrow and ILL services have been, out of necessity, discontinued.

Please contact SP2’s Librarian Anne Larrivee with any questions.


Based on the recent recommendations of the CDC and leading public health experts, who are now directing against any public gatherings of more than 50 people for the next two months, we cannot responsibly plan to bring thousands of people to campus for our traditional Commencement and Alumni Weekend in May. To protect the health of our graduates, their families, alumni, and faculty and staff of the University—our highest priority in the face of this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic—we are cancelling this year’s on-campus Commencement events and moving them to a virtual ceremony that will be broadcast online.

Commencement is such an important tradition at Penn, a time of abundant joy and pride, where we all publicly celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our graduates. While it will not be the same as our traditional ceremony, we are committed to finding the best way possible to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020, and we will strive to make the virtual event as meaningful and celebratory as the circumstances permit. We are also exploring the possibility of an on-campus celebration for this year’s graduates that could be held in the fall. We will let you know details of that as they become clearer.

Faculty & Staff

Effective beginning March 16th and until further notice, faculty and staff are expected to work remotely. With the approval of school/center leadership, only staff who perform critical procedures or processes and are therefore essential to University operations should be coming onsite, and those staff are expected to practice social distancing and take other recommended precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19. At this time, no University paid employee will be put in an unpaid status.

Please review SP2’s remote tools and resources available on the Tools and Resources for Working Remotely webpage. Nicole Auge is offering virtual workshops to help with Canvas, Zoom, and Panopto every weekday at 4PM; join the workshops here.

Information Technology will be available during normal business hours Monday through Friday to provide remote support. During this time, requests that support SP2’s academic and research missions will be prioritized over non-critical requests.

Please refer to the University webpages below for additional resources.


Penn is committed to the health and well-being of those in and visiting our community. As of March 13th and until further notice, all University-related travel, including visitors coming to campus, is prohibited. No exceptions will be made to this policy.

All SP2 on-campus events have been cancelled or postponed. Meetings of more than ten people are prohibited.

Admissions is unable to host accepted student visits to campus. The on-campus Accepted Student Open Houses scheduled for March 18th and April 4th have been moved online.

Building Access

Effective Monday, March 16th, SP2 will be operating on “holiday hours.” During “holiday hours,” all SP2 buildings will be locked during normal business hours and only accessible to faculty and staff using Penn ID swipe access. Students will not have access to the buildings during this time. Holiday hours are in effect until further notice.

“Since the outbreak of the virus in January, we have worked closely with the University, students and staff to provide information and support about coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All members of our SP2 community are asked to follow University of Pennsylvania guidelines with respect to responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. At SP2 we are working closely with all departments at the University to ensure that we are responding in a timely fashion and with the most current information available.”

– Dean Sara S. Bachman

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