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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Resources for faculty, staff and students

Quick links

Penn State Health resources

University resources

Other updates

Official resources

Media requests

All requests for media interviews should be made through the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Any Penn State Health/Penn State College of Medicine employee who is contacted by a member of the media should direct the media contact to reach Marketing and Communications by calling the following numbers:

Penn State College of Medicine is committed to keeping its faculty, staff and students informed and helping people internally and in the community find the most up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19. Click each tab to see important resources.

Updates

March 27, 2020: The Penn State Health and College of Medicine Human Resources team has updated the interim guidance for employee travel and quarantine and made several important changes. See updated information here.

March 27, 2020: The University has clarified guidance related to human-subjects research. This affects studies involving face-to-face contact or the use of PPE, and studies which seek to enroll COVID-19 patients. See details here.

March 26, 2020: A College of Medicine-specific town hall with Interim Dean Kevin Black will be 4 to 5 p.m. Monday, March 30, 2020. Submit questions in advance here.

March 26, 2020: The College of Medicine core facilities are developing a guide to COVID-19-related changes to hours, procedures and services. See it here.

March 23, 2020: The University has created a remote work resource website including HR policies, University IT resources and more. See it here.

March 20, 2020: The College of Medicine has canceled all in-person activities for Commencement weekend, May 15 to 17, 2020. See details.

Penn State Health resources

Public guide including prevention tips

Penn State Health has created a guide for the public on COVID-19.

This page describes the health system's preparedness measures as well as what members of the public should do. It also includes links to updated information from trusted health sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

College of Medicine faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to share this resource when providing information on topics such as hand-washing and other preventive measures, rather than drafting their own suggestions or sharing material from other sources.

See Penn State Health's guide to COVID-19

Where to get questions answered

Employees can submit any non-urgent COVID-19 questions to askaCOVIDq@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. Dedicated staff will triage questions and provide the most appropriate resource or operational area for response.

In addition, a new podcast, Coronavirus Q&A, is designed to help ensure employees and students get answers to their questions. The podcast is currently available on Mediasite (Penn State Health ePass login required); information on subscribing in a mobile app will be posted soon.

Email a question
Listen to Coronavirus Q&A podcast
(On Mediasite; Penn State Health ePass login required)

Employee town halls

All Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health employees may attend one of several COVID-19 town hall meetings. At these sessions, senior leaders and subject matter experts in key operational areas will discuss what's happening to prepare for and address COVID-19.

All town halls will be available online only.

Town halls are being recorded and will be generally available to view the day following the event.

Recordings and recaps available are:

Upcoming town halls are listed here. Click each date to add it to a calendar and get Zoom info and location details.

Note: A College of Medicine-specific town hall with Interim Dean Kevin Black is planned for 4 to 5 p.m. March 30, 2020. College of Medicine faculty, staff and students are encouraged to submit questions in advance of this town hall.

Submit a College of Medicine town hall question

Penn State Project ECHO series for providers

Penn State Project ECHO has launched a COVID-19 ECHO series to inform health care providers and administration of the latest best practices in emergency preparedness and patient treatment for COVID-19.

The goal of this series is to equip health care providers and administration with strategies to address challenges presented as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Together, experts and providers will collaborate to discuss patient and clinic/hospital system cases and develop recommendations for care and/or improvement.

Upcoming sessions are listed here.

See COVID-19 ECHO details

Policies and guidance

A number of new procedures and protocols have been created in light of the COVID-19 situation.

On the Infonet, employees will find important interim policies related to travel, waste handling, patient and specimen transport, screening, clinical care and more. A Penn State Health ePass login is required to view this material on the Infonet.

Please note that certain policies for Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine may differ from or be more specific than broader University guidance. In cases where this is so, please refer to the Penn State Health/College of Medicine information.

See guidance on the Infonet
(Internal network access only; Penn State Health ePass login required)

Event, meeting and travel guidance

In order to be accessible to employees across the University regardless of location, both interim guidance for Penn State Health and College of Medicine employee travel and interim guidance for Penn State Health and College of Medicine meetings and events are available in Box, with Penn State Access ID login required, as well as on the Special Pathogens section of the Infonet listed above, which requires a Penn State Health ePass ID.

This guidance differs from and supersedes the general University travel and meeting guidance. College of Medicine and Penn State Health employees should be sure to read and follow the guidance in these documents.

Note that the travel guidance was updated March 27 with signficant changes. Employees should be sure to check out the revised policy.

See interim guidance for Penn State Health/College of Medicine employee travel on Box
(Penn State Access ID login required)
See interim guidance for Penn State Health/College of Medicine meetings and events on Box
(Penn State Access ID login required)

Research laboratory biosafety guidance

Research Quality Assurance and Biosafety for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine ahve released guidance on potential COVID-19 impacts in research labs as well as rapid lab shutdown and decontamination SOP.

See Biosafety resources

Core facility updates

The core facilities of the College of Medicine have provided information regarding changes to core use during COVID-19 and the subsequent laboratory research slowdown. Updates on general services and individual cores are being added to an overall COVID-19 cores guide as available.

See core facility updates

Harrell Health Sciences Library services

While the physical Harrell Health Sciences Library space is closed until further notice, all online library resources are fully available, as are library faculty and staff.

For reference help, instruction, consultations and other online services, email herref@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

In addition to its general support resources, the library has compiled a guide to free COVID-19 research resources.

See All Harrell Health Sciences Library Online Services
See Harrell Library COVID-19 Research Resource Guide

Technology assistance

Effective March 23, 2020, the Information Services help desk, currently located in the College of Medicine, Room C1742, is by appointment only. Call the Service Desk at 833-577-HELP (4357) to schedule an appointment between 7 and 9 a.m. or 3 and 5 p.m. daily.

Those who need assistance with remote work or any other IT service should call the service desk at the same number.

Financial guidance

Per University guidance, a cost center has been set up in each department’s 217 general fund named "2020 COVID19 EXPENSE COLLECTOR" to track all expenses related to COVID-19.

Any questions on whether an expense should be identified as COVID-related should be directed to the Controller's Office at 717-531-8500.

Employee Health

Hershey Employee Health is available to provide direction on next steps to any employees who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as guidance on how and when to return to work and what documentation may be needed. This is applicable to employees at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (including the Academic Practice Division), the College of Medicine and all Shared Services employees not located in Berks County.

Hershey Employee Health can be reached at 717-531-4208.

Support resources for experiences of bias related to COVID-19

Penn State Health and the College of Medicine are aware of media reports of bias or aggression against the Asian Pacific Islander community, predominantly those of Chinese descent, following the COVID-19 outbreak. The organization does not tolerate nor support any biased, discriminatory or hateful statements, behaviors or interactions toward any individual or group based on their aspect of diversity.

On the rare occasion that an individual treats a member of the Penn State Health/College of Medicine community negatively, such as refusing to interact with that individual because they associate them with COVID-19, the organization has resources available for support.

Specifically for College of Medicine students, the Office for a Respectful Learning Environment is available to provide support.

See full list of support resources on Box
(Penn State Access ID login required)
See Office for a Respectful Learning Environment information

University resources

Forwarding @psu.edu email to @pennstatehealth.psu.edu email

Many University systems used across the College of Medicine will automatically send emails to @psu.edu email addresses.

Faculty or staff who do not regularly check their @psu.edu email separately should make sure they have set up their @psu.edu email to forward to their @pennstatehealth.psu.edu address.

To set up this forwarding:

  • Visit https://accounts.psu.edu/manage/email and log in with the appropriate Penn State Access ID (generally of the format xyz123).
  • At the bottom, in the center, click "Change your e-mail forwarding address."
  • Under email forwarding, choose "Internal server" and enter the @pennstatehealth.psu.edu email address (such as jsmith@pennstatehealth.psu.edu).
  • Hit save.
  • Test the forwarding by emailing the @psu.edu email from a personal (non-work) email address and making sure it appears in the @pennstatehealth.psu.edu email.

Guidance for Faculty and Instructors

Penn State is actively and carefully monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19. The guidelines below provide up-to-date advice to Penn State faculty and instructors regarding teaching. These guidelines will be regularly reviewed and updated as this situation unfolds.

Last updated: March 24.

View the Guidance for Faculty and Instructors PDF

University employee financial guidance

Penn State President Eric Barron announced during an employee Town Hall that Penn State has made a commitment to pay the full salary of workers through at least April 30.

See the PSU News story about worker salaries

HR guidance

University Human Resources has created a website with remote work information. This includes HR guidance for both managers and employees, links to University IT tools and more.

In addition, University HR has a frequently asked questions page including information on telemedicine options, the Employee Assistance Program and other benefits available to University employees.

See the University Remote Work website
See University HR FAQs

Employee Assistance Program

Penn State College of Medicine provides support and assistance to employees during periods of uncertainty and crisis through the University's Employee Assistance Program, administered by Health Advocate.

See EAP information via University HR

Guide to mitigating impacts to research activities

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research at Penn State has created a detailed guide to COVID-19 information for Penn State researchers. The guide includes information on lab and staff management, human research subjects, animal care and use, grants and contracts, funding for COVID-19 research and more.

See COVID-19 information for Penn State researchers

Specific research guidance: Reduction of laboratory research to essential activities

To preserve the health and well-being of members of Penn State's research communities, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, in consultation with Dr. Leslie Parent, Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Penn State College of Medicine, has announced steps to reduce research activity in laboratories across all Penn State campuses. Principal investigators should immediately begin preparing for all on-campus research to be reduced to essential research-related activities by March 24.

Next steps for investigators:

See requirements for laboratory research reduction here

Specific research guidance: Human subjects

A full guide to human subjects research (IRB) is available through the University Office for Research Protections. Guidelines for screening research participants are also available.

Effective March 15, 2020, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research at Penn State issued revised standards for human subjects-related research stating that any studies involving face-to-face interaction with participants with no direct drug or device therapeutic benefit are to be postponed until further notice.

See Office of Research Protections IRB information
See Office of Research Protections research participant screening information
See details on the revised standards for human subjects-related research

Specific research guidance: Animal care and use

The University Office for Research Protections has also provided a guide to animal care and use (IACUC), as animal facilities must be maintained at a level to ensure animal welfare.

Animal Resource Program (ARP) operations at the College of Medicine will continue to operate as normal. If there is a reduction in staffing, arrangements will be made as necessary to continue providing husbandry services.

See Office of Research Protections IACUC information

Potential funding for coronavirus research

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, with support from the Materials Research Institute, the Social Sciences Research Institute, the Institute for Computational and Data Science and the Institutes for Energy and the Environment, has issued a request for proposals for projects that will utilize Penn State’s unique research strengths to contribute to the global coronavirus response.

Proposals should have clear potential for improving public health, as well as the capacity to rapidly leverage external funding. Due to unprecedented interest, only one more round of proposal evaluation will take place, beginning at 5 p.m. March 27, 2020.

All applications submitted between now and that time will be considered at that time for a decision the following week.

Also, Research Development and the Research Concierge Service at the College of Medicine have provided a list of federal funding opportunities related to COVID-19. Investigators across the University can apply for these awards.

See University RFP details on InfoReady
See COVID-19-related federal funding opportunities

University coronavirus overview

At a high level, Penn State is committed to disseminating information about coronavirus response measures being taken across the University. The University has created an online guide that includes answers to frequently asked questions as well as details about mitigation measures.

Note: Much of the general student information in this guide is specific to those at Penn State University Park. Penn State College of Medicine students in Hershey should be in contact with their program leadership and watch for emails from Interim Dean Kevin Black and other members of leadership for specific details.

See the University's full COVID-19 overview

Event cancellations and changes

Several events at Penn State College of Medicine taking place this month have been rescheduled or canceled, or have had changes to attendance policies. Information on these events, including rescheduled dates and times, will be posted here as available.

This list includes events relevant to Penn State College of Medicine. A detailed list showing all known cancellations across Penn State Health, including Penn State Health St. Joseph, is available here.

This list is updated frequently, but may not include all cancellations or changes. If an event is not on this list, please contact the organizing program with questions about whether it has been canceled.

In addition to the specific events listed:

  • The Resuscitation Sciences Training Center has postponed all instructor-led ACLS, PALS, BLS and Heartsaver CPR AED training in the organization until May 1, 2020. Visit COMPASS to reschedule or email RTSC@pennstatehealth.psu.edu for details.
  • Au Bon Pain in Penn State College of Medicine will be closed beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, until further notice.
  • Catholic Mass at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is canceled until further notice.
  • All Center Stage Arts in Health performances scheduled across the College of Medicine and Hershey Medical Center are canceled through the end of April.
  • The Gift Shop is closed until further notice.
  • The physical location of Harrell Health Sciences Library is closed until further notice. However, the library website remains fully available and library faculty and staff are available for any needs by emailing herref@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.
  • The mailroom personal service window (CG701) will be closed through at least March 31. Regular business mailroom operations are continuing weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..
  • The Penn State Store is closed until further notice.
  • University Fitness Center is closed until further notice.
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