Fall 2020 Information

This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Plans for Fall 2020

Review email communication regarding plans for Fall 2020 classes below.

Dear Members of the SP2 Community,

As many of you already know, the School of Social Policy & Practice and all other Penn Schools have been informed that the federal government is changing its rules with regard to our international students, which would mean that students enrolled in online programming would have to leave the country.

These recent changes to immigration policy are not ones that we accept; in fact, we wholeheartedly disavow this decision and any policy shift that seeks to threaten or compromise the educational goals and personal well-being of our international students.

It is undoubtedly a disheartening, frustrating, and unacceptable turn of events during an already tumultuous time for our students.

While we cannot predict what will happen next, we can—with utmost certainty—assure you that we, alongside our colleagues and collaborators at Penn and beyond, will be monitoring the situation closely and are committed to doing all that is needed as educators, administrators, and social changemakers to protect our international students and their best interests.

Our international students are not just a part of our SP2 community and are integral to the very fiber of the learning experience, intellectual discourse, and foundational tenets of what our School stands for.

To our international students: I affirm that you have a place at SP2, and you are indisputably essential to our mission and the commitment we have made to foster a more just, equitable, and compassionate world. We will remain engaged, proactive, and as communicative as possible as these circumstances evolve and we will stand by you every step of the way.


Sally Bachman

Sara S. Bachman, Ph.D.
School of Social Policy & Practice
University of Pennsylvania
3701 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Dear SP2 Students,

Our community and our world have endured tremendous trauma, sadness, and uncertainty since March 2020. With that at the forefront, your role as leaders in social change at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) is more critical than ever. With the University’s announcement today, SP2 will begin the implementation of a combination of online and in-person courses and allow us to continue our mission of the passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact, and justice.


Throughout this trying time, we have listened to our community’s concerns about safety, physical and emotional health, and the overall well-being of each of us to meet the demands of a flexible program. With these concerns and possibilities in mind, the faculty and staff have been meeting regularly to prepare a robust, safe, and rigorous course of study for all of our students.

All courses with more than 25 students enrolled will be meeting online. Courses with fewer than 25 students may be offered online or in-person based on safety considerations and available space. We will have information for students on all courses by the end of July. Students with concerns for their safety and welfare will not be required to attend classes in person. For in-person classes, faculty will make materials available in real time online. Faculty are engaged in ongoing and individualized training on best practices and plans are in motion for all students to receive an appropriate placement or internship as part of their academic experience at SP2.

Academic Calendar & Resources

Classes will start on Tuesday, September 1, as planned. Details regarding orientation and class meetings for the rest of the semester will be coming shortly. All students, regardless of where they are living, will have access to resources such as Penn LibrariesCareer ServicesCounseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)Student Health Services (SHS)Student Disabilities Services (SDS), and Weingarten Learning Resources Center.

Building Community

SP2 is committed to bringing together students, faculty, staff, and alums with the greater Penn and Philadelphia community to create a vibrant, engaged, intellectual community and to bridge physical and virtual spaces. We will continue to engage and support students in social justice action.


SP2 is enacting safety protocols in our buildings to minimize large gatherings and to organize public spaces in ways that minimize the threat of contagion. We are installing hand sanitizers throughout the building, designating one-way staircases, staggering class time arrivals and departures, and indicating dedicated entrances and exits, where feasible.


We will to continue to update you through the summer. Further, we want to continue to hear from you as you prepare for your return to graduate education. Please join us in July and August for an information session with an overview of policies impacting teaching and learning at SP2 and a Q&A with faculty and staff. The dates and time for these meetings are as follows:

  • Incoming Students: July 8th 7-8pm
  • Continuing Students: July 15th 7-8pm
  • Incoming Students: August 12th 7-8pm
  • Continuing Students: August 19th 7-8pm

We will send more information about these sessions next week, including links for registration and an invitation to send questions in advance. Additionally, we will send weekly email blasts regarding fall plans as details become available. Information will also be updated regularly on our website.

Our goal is to provide an unparalleled educational experience to all our students, as we have all come to expect from Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice. I look forward to seeing you all in the fall—either virtually or on campus!


Sara S. Bachman, PhD

A Message to the Penn Community from Amy Gutmann, President; Wendell Pritchett, Provost; Craig Carnaroli, Executive Vice President

The events of the past four months have shown us, more than ever before, the profound importance of our shared communities. In March, our on-campus community became a virtual community, dispersed across the world. We began to live literally apart, our faces covered. Then we were powerfully reminded of the fragility of our human community, of the bonds that can both bring us together and tear us apart, in relation to the most significant issues of social equity and racial justice.

In this context, we are writing to you today about our plans for the fall semester. We are one Penn community and we look forward to coming together on campus as soon as we can. In the meantime, we have a communal responsibility to preserve our shared health and safety, all the while sustaining our commitments to teaching, learning, research, and service. We are asking every member of our community to do your part, as we will too, to uphold these ever more essential missions.

To develop our plans for the fall, the University convened a Recovery Planning Group (RPG), made up of representatives across all the major areas of our campus. Their planning has been guided by the latest medical information and governmental directives, and we want to thank the RPG members and all who supported them for their tireless work in addressing the myriad details involved in bringing students back to campus and in restarting our research enterprise.

Based on the meticulous recommendations of the RPG, we are announcing today a fall semester that will be a hybrid model. It will allow many students to return in a limited and careful way by incorporating online and virtual learning with on-campus classroom instruction where it can be provided safely and when it is essential to the academic needs of the course curriculum.

Campus life under this new model will need to be different for the fall semester. Large lectures will all be online, as will some graduate and professional programs. Gatherings will be limited in size. Housing accommodations will be at lower density. Everyone on campus will need to practice physical distancing, wear face coverings, and agree to testing and contact tracing. Administrative and academic support functions that can do so will continue to operate remotely. We are confident that we can provide our students with both a world-class education and also a campus experience that will be rewarding and meaningful. With everyone on campus affirming their willingness and doing their part to help themselves and others stay safe, we can provide a robust and meaningful Penn education in a manner that is as safe as possible for all involved.

Read the entire letter here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions for SP2 students, faculty, and staff regarding Fall 2020 classes.

How do I stay connected with the SP2 community during this time?

The SP2 community spans far and wide already, as students and alum. We will be conducting many events throughout the semester to keep the community together and aligned to meeting our common vision of the passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact, and justice. Programs will include lecture series, student bonding experiences, support groups, and individual check-ins. There also will be regular communications and updates as SP2 continues to confront injustices in Philadelphia and throughout our nation and world.

How has the Fall calendar changed now that we are going hybrid?

SP2 will be following the University calendar by eliminating Fall breaks and having Fall classes be completely virtually after Thanksgiving. We are working with Penn Housing to have everyone in field placement return to housing a­fter break so they can continue their assignments after Thanksgiving.

How do I know which of my classes will be online and which will be hybrid?

Both faculty and students have received surveys asking for their preferences for the Fall. We will be compiling that information through July and will be able to share the results of that work then.

Can I still virtually attend a class that will be taught in-person?

Yes, classes that are taught in-person will also be available to students virtually. If there are multiple sections for the same class, we will try to section in-person classes separate from virtual classes, unless there is a specific request for a faculty member that may be teaching in-person where the student wants to take that faculty member’s class.

Will classes be taught synchronously (live) or asynchronously (recorded)?

Some classes will be taught synchronously, while other will be taught asynchronously and others will be a combination of both. This will mainly depend on the results of the survey and availability of students across time zones.

How will I stay connected with my instructor and academic adviser while remote?

Faculty will continue to have office hours as always. Additionally, you may ask to meet with your instructor and/or academic adviser as needed.

How will Penn accommodate classes that occur across time zones?

The results of the surveys that students are returning will determine how we manage students taking classes across time zones. We will work towards having synchronous classes at times that are manageable for faculty and students.

Will my class schedule change as a result of going hybrid?

The goal is to avoid changes in class schedules as much as possible. As we work to identify classrooms on campus, or manage students across time zones, changes may be needed. If a conflict in class timing should occur, we will work with the individual student to correct that as quickly as possible.

What if some one from my class is diagnosed with COVID-19?

In the event that a student or teaching faculty is diagnosed with COVID-19, that individual and their close contacts would be asked to self-isolate. Close contacts would be identified after a contact tracing interview done by someone from Penn’s Public Health team; close contacts are defined as individuals who were closer than 6 feet apart for more than 15 minutes. Based on the public health rules put forth for in-person instruction this Fall, namely requiring face coverings and respecting distancing of more than 6 feet, no one in attendance during class would be deemed a close contact. Confidentiality rules will apply when sharing information regarding a COVID-19 case—the notification to those that were in contact with the affected individual will not include the person’s name who has the condition.

What is being done to protect the Penn community from COVID-19?

Everyone on the Penn campus will be required to wear a mask, regularly wash hands, maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others, and avoid crowds of more than 25 people. Each student will receive a “Student Campus Compact,” and staff and faculty will receive “Return to Campus” guide that will outline the measures the University and each of us will need to take to make sure we stay safe while on campus together.

Why is there no change in tuition and fees if we won’t be on campus?

We have put an enormous amount of time and effort into our academic year planning to develop robust virtual courses and opportunities for you to get to know one another and our faculty. SP2 is fortunate to have faculty members who are ready for online teaching and learning. Our curriculum will ensure that our students experience the most innovative, high-quality, and personalized educational experience possible. Similarly, support services covered by the general fee generally remain intact whether provided on-site or via an online realm. In fact, Penn has made significant additional resource and technology investments to allow students to continue to utilize support services, access resources, learn, and receive full academic credit.

What do I do if I have technology problems while trying to access my class?

Students have 24/7 IT support through the Student IT support desk—please visit the support page here for contact information. You can also email sp2help@sp2.upenn.edu.

What are the minimum systems requirements to connect with my class and where can I purchase an academically discounted computer?

The recommended hardware specifications for computers, and link for academically discounted computers, is available here.

What if I don’t have enough internet bandwidth for video conferencing?

We understand that there will be glitches and challenges to using video conferencing for classes and meetings. We have asked instructors to be flexible with students who encounter technical difficulties and to provide alternative ways that students can access course content. If you have a weak internet connection, please contact your instructor and program manager before your class begins to alert them to your situation. You could also try to “mute” your video, which might give you sufficient bandwidth to be able to see the instructor, his or her shared screen, and the other students. You can also try turning off video and using only the audio feature, or try dialing in from your phone. If your instructor has only sent a link as a meeting invitation, please ask them to share the dial-in phone number.

What will the classrooms look like for in-person fall classes?

Classrooms will all be large enough to provide sufficient physical distancing during the class, and will be held outside of Caster due to space constraints in the building. Since in-person classes will include 25 students or less, the classrooms will be quite large and could include fixed seating or flexible seating, depending on the availability of rooms during your class time.

How is my field placement, practicum, or internship impacted by COVID-19?

We are working hard to ensure everyone has a field placement in time for the academic year. Some placements could be in-person and some could be virtual. Requirements for Personal Protective Equipment may vary based on the agency where you are working, but you should never place yourself in a position of harm and should always wear a mask, physically distance yourself, and wash your hands frequently. A waiver should be completed before beginning your placement.

Can I find my own placement or internship?

If you’ve identified a placement or internship agency, you should speak with the SP2 Field Office in the MSW Program, or with your academic adviser or program coordinator in other programs, before speaking with any agency about placement or internship.

If Penn announces in-person classes in the spring, may I continue to study virtually?

We are reviewing this possibility now. It is our hope that we can have everyone back on campus in the spring. That is dependent on the most current conditions at the time.

When will a decision about spring be made?

There is little to no predictability regarding this pandemic, and while we hope there will be vaccine by the end of this year as has been stated, there are no guarantees. With our without the vaccine, we do not yet know what the state of the virus will be at the end of this year. As further information becomes available, we will include that in our regular communications to you.

How will exams be handled while hybrid?

The format and administration of exams will be determined by each instructor.

Do I need a PennCard?

If you will be on campus and you do not have your PennCard or your PennCard has expired, then you will need to get a new PennCard to get into the various buildings on campus. If you are a current student, please email the PennCard Center at penncard@upenn.edu for an appointment to get your replacement PennCard. If you are a new student, then please visit Campus Express.

If you will be remote in the fall, please be assured that, regardless of your return date, your access to PennKey-protected electronic resources is not dependent on your PennCard so there is no need to replace your PennCard prior to your return to campus. You will be able to make an appointment to renew your card when you return to campus.

Will I be able to remain in Penn Housing throughout the Fall term so I can return to my field placement?

If graduate students are living in Sansom Place East they will likely be granted exceptions to remain on campus for academic requirements. The final determination of this should be made shortly. Penn Housing’s website can be found here.

How do I receive my textbooks from the Penn Bookstore for the Fall?

Students are able to order their books from the Penn Bookstore and have them shipped or obtain via ebook download. Purchase and rental, new and used, and price matching with Amazon and BN.com remain available. Once enrollments are assigned to each course-section, students are invited to log in and choose to have materials either shipped to them or held for pick up. This year, the digital catalog is significantly expanded. For spring, in response to the crisis, the store entered into an agreement with the major publishers to provide all students access to the digital versions of the books. That ebook infrastructure remains in place making literally tens of thousands of titles available for purchase, based on faculty submissions of text needs.

Can I access the Penn Library and its resources?

The Penn Library System is in a phased return to service. For the latest information for library access, please visit here.

Must I subscribe to Student Health Insurance in the Fall?

If a student is in Philadelphia, they will need to comply with Student Health requirements by either subscribing to Student Health or providing proof of adequate insurance. If a student is in the United States, health insurance is required, but does not necessarily need to be compliant with Penn’s requirements. All students are eligible to enroll in PSIP. For more information on Student Health, please visit here.

What mental health resources are available to me if I am having trouble coping with the pandemic and my studies?

Penn’s Wellness site has links for in person and telehealth services at Student Health Service, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Campus Health, and Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives. You can call CAPS 24/7/365 at 215.898.7021, or drop in during hours at 3624 Market Street, 1st Floor West.

Will grades be Pass/Fail in the Fall?

Fall 2020 courses will be graded according to Penn’s regular grading policies.

What if I get sick and need to miss class?

The usual policies and procedures around absences apply for both in-person and online classes. If you are sick and cannot participate in classes or finish assignments, notify your instructor.

Will classes be recorded?

We are working with faculty and Penn’s Computing to address this questions for a variety of issues. Zoom and Penn are currently in negotiations for HIPAA compliance, which could address some of the issues regarding this. More information will be provided about this shortly.

Where do I get help studying and learning remotely?

The Online Learning Initiative offers Remote Learning: Tips for Students with guidance on developing a study plan, creating space for learning, connecting with other people virtually, and other ideas for how to adapt to remote learning. Weingarten Learning Resources Center also has a list of Resources for Remote Learning and offers virtual individual consultations.

I am not able to get a visa to come to the United States to attend classes. What are my options?

An international student who is enrolled full-time in a degree program can take courses online without an F-1 visa if permitted by the institution and subject to certain government exceptions. The University supports this option, so eligible international students who are not able to come to the United States will be able to take online courses provided they are enrolled full-time in a degree program. For more information, visit ISSS.

How does this impact CPT/OPT training?

We are working closely with ISSS on this issue. Please visit the ISSS website for the latest information regarding this issue.

Is COVID testing available on campus?

It is anticipated that COVID testing will be available on campus from Student Health. More information regarding this will be available shortly.

Will students have access to the computer lab and printing at Caster?

It is currently planned that the computer lab will be closed at Caster, but printing will be available to students on campus. Printing software will be available for students to print documents to a printer located on the 2nd floor of Caster.

When will Canvas be ready for students to view?

Once the instructor for the Canvas site “publishes,” the Canvas site, students will be able to view it.

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How is research being handled on Penn’s campus this Fall?

Penn has implemented a Phased return to research plan. Details of that plan can be found here. Most research at SP2 can be done remotely, but if there is a need to go onto campus, please be mindful of the on campus requirements of wearing a mask, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds of greater than 25 people. You also are required to take the Knowledgelink COVID-19 training at this link, and search for the “COVID-19 Training for Penn Essential Employees” as shown below.

For general information for faculty and staff, please refer to the “Return to Work Guide.”

How do faculty request a Canvas site for their course?

Faculty can request a Canvas site for their course(s) by linking here or by contacting their SP2 Program coordinator (please also copy SP2’s Online Learning Coordinator, Nicole Auge). Directions are provided here.

What kind of support is there for Canvas?

Canvas support is usually handled by the Program Coordinators and the Library. You can email canvas@pobox.upenn.edu with support questions. SP2 IT can provide backup support at SP2help@sp2.upenn.edu.

What are my options for online teaching in the Fall?

Using Zoom will likely be the most common form of online teaching, but the centrally pooled classrooms have other options available to you as well. Studios will be available for either broadcast use or recording use. For broadcast use, you can use the studio to synchronously use the whiteboard/blackboard in the front of the room as part of the teaching. For recording use, you can record your class using similar space for broadcast at a later date. More information about studio use, including how to reserve the space, will be coming shortly.

How do I learn more about Zoom in preparation for the Fall term?

The Center for Teaching and Learning has a number of classes available for faculty. Starting in the second half of July, CTL will provide a series of workshops for faculty on many of the technology tools faculty may use in teaching online. It may be possible to provide an SP2-specific training if there are distinct things faculty need and if we are confident that the school has sufficient demand for it. Each full-time and part-time faculty member should have received individualized technical instruction from SP2’s Online Learning Coordinator, Nicole Auge, as well. All faculty and staff also have access to a number of Zoom tutorials in Penn’s Linkedin Learning.

When will I find out about my classroom for the Fall?

Through July, surveys from students and faculty will be sorted and coordinated with available classrooms throughout campus. Once classroom assignments are confirmed with the Central Classroom Committee, communications to faculty and students will begin.

Can I still order books from the Penn Bookstore?

Yes, all services related to supporting faculty course materials remain available. Please let the Bookstore team know whether or not you will need to utilize their services by emailing lewclaps@upenn.edu or bsd-coursebk@upenn.edu, so the bookstore can properly update its records, and in turn, inform the student community that may be relying on the Bookstore to provide them with the information. Please forward all new course material request as soon as possible to lewclaps@upenn.edu or bsd-coursebk@upenn.edu. If you are a registered FacutlyEnlight user and wish to submit orders through FacultyEnlight, for your convenience, please click www.facultyenlight.com.

What upcoming teaching opportunities are available at the Center for Teaching and Learning?

Below is a list of upcoming opportunities.

Technology Tools: Introduction to Canvas

This workshop will introduce basic Canvas functions that will allow you to post documents, files, images and videos; organize information for students; and allow students to submit work online.
Mon., July 20, 11am – 12 pm: Register here
Tues., Aug. 4, 4pm – 5pm: Register here

Technology Tools for… Running Synchronous Class Time

In this technology spotlight, we will demonstrate how you can use the conferencing tools Zoom and BlueJeans to run live class sessions, including breakout rooms for small group work, and live whiteboard and annotation tools.
Thurs., July 23, 3pm – 4 pm: Register here
Tues., Aug. 11, 10am – 11 am: Register here

Technology Tools for… Asynchronous Interaction

In the online environment, what students do outside of traditional class time is a central part of learning, engagement, and community-building of a course. In this session, participants will discuss ways to create interactive asynchronous components as crucial elements of the course. We will explore tools such as Discussion boards, Perusall, Google Docs, and Piazza.
Tues. July 28, 9:30am – 10:30am: Register here
Thurs. Aug. 6, 2pm – 3 pm: Register here

Technology Tools for… Recording Lectures

This technology spotlight will explore tools that allow instructors and students to record material and upload it into Canvas, including Panopto, Zoom, and BlueJeans. We will discuss how these tools can integrate whiteboards and PowerPoint, as well as quizzes in Panopto that can help instructors create more engaging lectures and help students retain content.
Mon., July 27, 11:30am – 12:30 pm: Register here
Mon., Aug. 17, 2:30pm – 3:30 pm: Register here

Technology Tools for… Assessments, Exams and Assignments

In this technology spotlight, we will demonstrate some of the functionality of Canvas assessment tools, including assignments, quizzes, gradebook, and Speedgrader, as well as how you might use these features in your own course.
Thurs., July 30, 3pm – 4pm: Register here
Tues., Aug. 18, 10am – 11 am: Register here

Creating Community in Your Online Course

In this workshop participants will explore various ways to build a sense of community in class, from the beginning of the semester and throughout. While live sessions will be part of this discussion, we will also consider how asynchronous elements – such as, discussion boards, peer review, feedback, and student-created presentations of content – can help students connect to each other, the instructor, and the course. The session will also consider the nature of online participation, and how to identify and reach out to students who may be struggling with that.
Wed., July 22, 10am – 11 am: Register here
Thurs., Aug. 13, 1pm – 2pm: Register here

Asynchronous and Synchronous Components in Your Course

This workshop is designed to address how the different components of your course interconnect and build on each other to support your course goals and student success. We will consider ways that the synchronous (live meetings where instructors and students are together) and asynchronous (activities students engage in on their own time) inform one another, and design a course plan that sees both of these as important to the other for student learning and engagement.
Mon., Aug. 3, 2pm – 3pm: Register here
Wed., Aug. 19, 11am – 12 pm: Register here

Communicating Expectations and Keeping Students on Track

In online classes, clearly expressed expectations are crucial both to guide and motivate students. This discussion will consider how to help students to navigate the Canvas site and how to prepare students for the work the course demands. The session will consider ways to build expectations into the course site and to communicate with students before and after they complete work to help them focus on the course’s goals and stay motivated.
Fri., July 24, 12:30pm – 1:30 pm: Register here
Mon., Aug. 10, 3pm – 4 pm: Register here

Assessing Students – Alternatives to Proctored Exams

Assessing students in online classes often requires thinking about assignments and exams in new ways — particularly for instructors who typically rely upon proctored exams. This discussion will explore strategies beyond traditional tests, from changing our exam formats to replacing exams with other assignments.
Wed., Aug. 5, 12pm – 1pm: Register here
Fri., Aug. 21, 2pm – 3pm: Register here

Facilitating Live Sessions

This discussion will focus on ways to use live class meetings effectively, both to pursue course learning goals and to foster a sense of community and student engagement. Zoom or BlueJeans requires some different approaches than the classroom space to make this happen.
Wed., July 29, 10am – 11am: Register here
Fri., Aug. 7, 1pm – 2pm: Register here

Facilitating Asynchronous Engagement

In the online environment, the time students spend working on the course outside of live meetings is essential for facilitating student engagement with course concepts and thinking, interaction, and community building. In this discussion, participants will consider ways to create interactive asynchronous components and how to make quizzes and discussion boards and other elements more rigorous and valuable for student learning.
Wed., July 29, 12:30pm – 1:30pm: Register here
Fri., Aug. 14, 10:30am – 11:30am: Register here

For general information for faculty and staff, please refer to the “Return to Work Guide.”

Additional guidance for staff to assist with the flexible workplace can be found here.

Penn has provided a guide for employees working remotely, with information on how to best work productively while not on campus. The guide can be found here.

General guidance, including what to do if you or an employee has COVID-19 symptoms, can be found here. Please pay particular attention to the privacy concerns of some one who is being tested for COVID-19, reports to have COVID-19, or has been in contact with some one who has COVID-19.

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Should I return to campus this fall?

Staff should speak with their supervisor about returning to campus if there is a business need. No one will be compelled to return to campus this Fall if the staff member has COVID-related concerns. If there is a staffing need that can’t be met because of the unavailability of staff, please inform Karima Williams, Associate Director of Human Resources, so business needs can be met. Before returning to campus, you should complete the Knowledglink COVID-19 training at this link, and search for the “COVID-19 Training for Penn Essential Employees” as shown.

What if my PennCard expires?

If you will be on campus and your PennCard has expired, then you will need to get a new PennCard to get into the various buildings on campus. Please email the PennCard Center at penncard@upenn.edu for an appointment to get your replacement PennCard. If your PennCard has expired but you will not be on campus, please be assured that your access to PennKey-protected electronic resources is not dependent on your PennCard so there is no need to replace your PennCard prior to your return to campus. You will be able to make an appointment to renew your card when you return to campus.

New developments to the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are emerging quickly, and above all, we urge you to follow the recommendations and guidelines from local, state, and federal authorities.

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:

Updated International Student Guidance

SEVP published an FAQ document containing additional information about how the new rules will affect international students’ immigration statuses. Please see the document here.

The University recognizes that departing or returning to the United States would pose great challenges to many of you, and we are prepared to do everything in our power to make it possible for you to stay or study remotely outside of the US. Please stay tuned for updates and any action items that you may be required to complete in the coming days.

As Penn’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) has received huge volume of email inquiries, you are invited to participate in a virtual town hall, where they will address these changes and how they may affect you. Two town halls will be held, and both will be recorded. You can register at the links below (please only sign up for one session):

Will my SEVIS record be terminated if I take courses online from abroad given that Penn has adopted a hybrid model?

While the SEVP guidance originally suggested that the SEVIS records of such students would need to be terminated as “authorized early withdrawal,” the update from July 7 states the following: “[C]ontinuing F and M students may remain in Active SEVIS status while studying online, outside the United States.”

I am an international student currently in the United States. Do I have to leave?

The SEVP guidance suggests that students present in the United States may not take a fully online course load and must be enrolled at a hybrid school and attending courses in person to remain in the country. Penn has adopted a hybrid model for undergraduates, and ISSS is working diligently with Penn Schools and academic departments at all levels to ensure that international students who want to stay in the US to pursue their studies do not need to leave the US.

How do I reach the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for more questions, or for their complete list of FAQ’s?

Visit their website here for the latest FAQ’s and contact information.

Building Access

SP2 is 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.

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