Returning to Campus

  • Spring Semester Update: January 5, 2021

    The spring semester at IUP will begin as scheduled on Jan. 19, 2021. However, all hybrid classes will be strictly online until Feb. 8. Students are strongly encouraged to delay returning to campus or the Indiana community until the first week of February.

  • Students in masks walking down the streetOur COVID-19 response plan continues to call for bringing fewer students to campus for face-to-face instruction. This helps us keep those who are here safe through distancing and other measures. The students we’re asking to come to campus starting Feb. 8 are those who will benefit the most from in-person classes:

    • New freshmen, although we will work on an individual basis with those who have concerns about coming to campus. This category includes all students who have earned 30 or fewer credits.
    • Students in programs that require being on campus, such as IUP’s Academy of Culinary Arts. See the current list.
    • Most graduate students
    • Students with special circumstances, such as those with special learning needs or those unable to access remote instruction at home

    Our other students are asked to take their classes remotely, to protect both them and their on-campus peers. Students who believe they cannot take classes remotely should contact their department chair or dean to discuss options. Students with face-to-face classes on their spring schedule should hear from their dean's offices about the status of those courses by Friday, Jan. 8.

    Campus resources, facilities, and services (including computer labs, dining halls, and fitness centers) are available to all students, including those taking all-remote classes, as long as they follow safety guidelines.

    Students who will be on campus this spring should get tested for COVID-19 at the KCAC. Testing begins Jan. 11, and it's at no charge to students. We strongly recommend that anyone who will be on campus this spring get tested.

    Employees, students, and visitors who will be on campus must adhere to these expectations:

    • Face coverings are required to be worn by all employees, students, and visitors when in buildings and vehicles owned or leased by IUP. See Face Coverings for exceptions and more information.
    • Use virtual meeting tools, including phone and virtual teleconference (Zoom), in lieu of in-person meetings, whenever possible.
    • If in-person university business is essential, limit meetings to designated areas that adhere to current social-distancing guidelines and behaviors (participants are at least six feet apart and wearing face coverings).
    • Conduct essential, face-to-face university business quickly. Try not to linger and socialize before and after meetings or classes.
    • Avoid social greetings that require physical contact, including shaking hands and hugging.
    • Students and employees who have been in an area with a high number of COVID-19 cases are asked to self-quarantine before coming to the IUP campus or the Indiana area. See the Research and Travel page.
  • Arrival/Return to Campus

    Details on Delayed Return to Campus

    While we encourage all students to delay their return to campus until February, the academic calendar will remain the same:

    • The first day of classes is still Jan. 19.
    • Instead of spring break, students will have seven non-class days spread throughout the spring 2021 semester.
    • The semester will end as originally scheduled in early May.

    This approach allows our students to complete their coursework and graduate on time.

    Because not all students will be able to delay their return, residence and dining halls will open as planned. Housing staff will return as scheduled during the week of Jan. 11. Dining halls will be available for students starting on Jan. 19, and will continue to follow COVID-19 restrictions.

    IUP Health Service will be open for student patient care, using the same format as the fall.

    Next Steps for Students in Spring 2021

    • If you live in on-campus housing: log on to MyIUP to let us know when you’ll be returning.
    • Watch for information on getting tested to arrive on Thursday, Jan. 7.
    • If you are registered for a class that must be face-to-face between Jan. 19 and Feb. 7, your dean’s office will contact you with more details by Friday, Jan. 8.
    • If you have questions about whether a class is face-to-face or remote through Feb. 8, contact your dean’s office.

    Testing Upon Arrival

    IUP strongly recommends that students who do return take advantage of COVID-19 testing being offered at the KCAC starting Jan. 11.

    We have contracted with Virus Geeks to conduct these tests at no charge to those students. (Virus Geeks will bill your insurance when available.) Read more information about the testing process, and how to sign up, our our Health and Safety page.

    Student Athletes

    Student athletes will be returning to campus as scheduled, and will follow the NCAA-required testing schedule.

    Clock-Hour Program Students

    Clock-hour programs at the Academy of Culinary Arts and IUP Criminal Justice Training Center, as well as EMT and paramedic training courses through the Center for Rural Health and Safety, will proceed as scheduled. These classes will not be delayed and these students do not need to delay their return to campus.


    When possible and practical, IUP employees are encouraged to work remotely to limit the number of people on site.

    The guidelines below will assist managers in overseeing employees' return to campus. This information—which follows guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Pennsylvania Department of Education , and State System —enables effective operations and employees’ safe return when in-person operation is required.

    1. Determine which offices are required to be open with personnel on site to best serve students. The goal is to limit the number of people on site.
      • Managers, in consultation with their dean or department head, should plan to limit, to the extent possible, the number of people in offices at any given to time to no more than 50 percent of normal occupancy. Staggered schedules should be considered if additional personnel are needed on site.
      • Facilities staff members returned in July to clean and sanitize buildings and to prepare them for the return of students. Special requests for early access should be directed to the division head, who will coordinate with Vice President Fitzsimons.
    2. Meetings should be virtual when possible. Keep attendance at essential in-person meetings, so contact tracing can be done, if needed.
      • If in-person meetings must be held, remove or redistribute chairs or include signage to ensure proper social distancing.
      • Remove commonly touched items (e.g. pens, tape, white board markers).
    3. Provide materials for self-sanitization of workspaces. Procurement is preparing departmental kits.
    4. Remove guest chairs if office sizes do not allow proper social distancing, or add signage to indicate where individuals can sit.
    5. Stagger employee breaks and meal periods to limit the number of people in communal spaces at one time. Supervisors can alter meal periods and breaks to accommodate social distancing.
      • In communal areas, employees should try to avoid direct contact with hard surfaces, including refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, water coolers/fountains, chairs, tables, etc. Employees are encouraged to use paper towels when touching surfaces and to use wipes to disinfect before and after every use.

    High-Risk Employees

    Note that individual employees with health conditions that might place them at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as defined under CDC guidance, may request a flexible work assignment. Employees wishing to make such a request should follow the process outlined on the Human Resources website.

    Faculty Office Visits

    The following guidelines are to ensure faculty members can safely return to their offices as needed:

    • Those who want to make use of their office should coordinate their visits with their chair, who will maintain a schedule to ensure that offices are limited to no more than 50 percent normal occupancy at any time, as directed in the employee information, above.
    • Chairs must communicate to faculty members that, to prevent overcrowding and maintain safety, unscheduled office visits are not allowed.
    • These department schedules will be made available in advance on a weekly basis to the dean or designee.
    • Deans or their designees will communicate these schedules to Facilities to ensure that any needed changes to cleaning schedules can be accommodated.
    • When entering university buildings, faculty members should follow all safety guidelines indicated on this page.

    Face Coverings

    Masks or other face coverings must be worn by all employees, students, and visitors when in buildings and vehicles owned or leased by IUP.

    Allowable exceptions include the following:

    • When working in a private office or vehicle, alone;
    • When in one’s own personal residential unit;
    • When wearing a face covering creates a medical risk to the individual (evidenced by medical documentation);
    • When wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard.

    Social distancing (maintaining a minimum distance of six feet between you and others) is encouraged whenever possible and required when a face covering cannot be worn.

    When outside, face coverings are required when social distancing (maintaining a minimum distance of six feet between you and others) is not possible.

    IUP students and employees can learn more about IUP's approach to enforcing the requirement on our General Guidance page. Campus police should not be called to enforce rule violations.


    Students who indicate they cannot wear a face covering and, therefore, that they need a reasonable accommodation for the IUP face-covering policy should contact the Department for Disability Access and Advising, Students will need to provide documentation of disability and certification of the inability to wear a mask or other face covering from a physician or another appropriate medical provider. The Department for Disability Access and Advising will evaluate the information, issue an accommodation letter for the student, and copy the Health Service. The student can then present the letter on campus.

    The Department for Disability Access and Advising will ask about the student's ability to wear an alternative, such as a face shield, which the department can provide.

    If the student is deemed not to have a disabling condition but, instead, to have a short-term medical issue disallowing face coverings, the student should be directed to contact the Health Service for options. Alternatively, the student can elect to take the class online, if feasible.

    Face coverings are required in the classroom. Faculty will be encouraged to include that information in class syllabi.


    Employees who are required to work on campus and who are unable to wear a mask because of a medical concern or safety hazard should contact Anna Shively,, in Human Resources.

    Safety Kits


    Before classes begin, we will welcome students who will be on campus with a package that includes

    • hand sanitizer
    • three washable cloth face coverings
    • a multi-use disposable forehead thermometer
    • an informational flier
    • facial tissues
    • other items intended to help keep them safe and healthy.

    On-campus students will receive their safety kits from their RA in their residence hall, and should contact their RA to receive it if they haven't already. Off-campus students can pick up their safety kit at the University Police office.


    Individual employees returning to work on campus and each department will receive a safety kit. Employees do not need to submit separate orders for these items. Instead, each department should delegate one person to collect and submit a reservation for that department’s needs. Ordering information is available on the Central Stores site. Office budgets will not be charged for these start-up kits.

    Currently, IUP has a strong supply of these and additional items related to health and safety. The list of items and information about ordering additional personal protective equipment is available on the Central Stores site.

    Kits will be delivered to offices and departments as Central Stores receives notification of staff members returning to on-campus workplaces. Reach out to Central Stores at 724-357-3015 or

    Employee Safety Kit

    Each office will receive kits for each employee working in on-campus offices.

    These kits are for each faculty and staff member and will include

    • 8-ounce gel hand sanitizer
    • three reusable cloth face coverings
    • 160-count container of disinfecting wipes
    • 1 box of facial tissues

    Department Safety Kit

    In addition to each faculty and staff member receiving a kit, each department will receive a kit which will include

    • gallon container of gel hand sanitizer and pump
    • 50-pack of disposable masks
    • 155-count container of disinfecting wipes
    • 1 box of facial tissues

    Classroom Safety for Spring

    For those classes that will be held face-to-face at IUP campuses and centers, social-distancing recommendations will be followed.

    Class Structure

    Many lecture classes will follow a hybrid model, which means they will be divided into groups that rotate between being physically present in the classroom and being connected with the class via Zoom or similar technology. Classroom occupancy will be reduced to approximately one-third the normal occupancy, depending on the room’s configuration, to maintain a distance of six feet between students.

    When possible, classes will be moved to rooms large enough to allow all students to attend together while following social-distancing guidelines.

    Students who wish to complete all components of a hybrid class remotely will be allowed to do so, unless that is not possible within the program's requirements. These students should contact their department chair with questions.

    Courses already scheduled for online delivery will continue in that mode. If that's an option you prefer, please work with your faculty advisor to select the right courses for you.

    During the beginning of the semester, faculty members will finalize arrangements for your class structure and clearly communicate what you are to do. Expectations related to health and safety guidelines will be publicized widely, including on class syllabi. (Suggested wording for syllabi about safety measures, hybrid class structure, Zoom etiquette, and other topics was made available to faculty members.) Support for students with specific needs related to online learning or to learning in a hybrid format is available through IUP’s Department for Disability Access and Advising.

    More information about the academic calendar, courses, and support for students can be found on the Academic Information and Resources page.

    Students with Health Concerns

    If you are a student who has the option of learning face-to-face but you have health issues or you live with a person at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, you may wish to take as many of your courses as possible online.

    Options are available for students to receive instruction through distance learning. The hybrid classes that allow for part-time, in-person instruction can be easily shifted to real-time classes that are fully online. In addition, new course sections that are entirely online are being added to the fall schedule.

    Of course, not all courses or experiences can be offered online. For example, state regulations prevent some nursing coursework from being completed remotely.

    Because every student’s situation may be different, your faculty members will be your best source of information and advice. Please work with them to determine how best to continue your coursework while maintaining your health and safety.

    The Department for Disability Access and Advising is also available to discuss accommodations for your online learning.

    Sanitizing Classrooms

    To help you feel more comfortable in the classroom, cleaning supplies will be available so that you can sanitize your seat and desk. We ask that students and faculty members sanitize their areas when they leave the classroom. Course syllabi will reflect these new student and faculty responsibilities.

    We will continue to follow rigorous cleaning protocols and guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state for common and high traffic areas, such as hallways, elevators, and restrooms, to keep buildings safe. Employees are being trained on these processes.

    Classroom space will be used for extracurricular activities only through an approval process designed to keep everyone safe.

    Teaching Podiums

    Highly visible tape will be used to mark appropriate distancing from the podium in classrooms.

    If faculty members are uncomfortable wearing just a mask, they can check with their dean's office about wearing a face shield instead.

    Classroom Seating

    Stickers will be placed on seats that students can use. In some rooms, seats not designated for use will be taped off and/or set aside.

    Modifications to Buildings and Spaces

    Signs will be placed at the entrances of all buildings and throughout the buildings reminding people to wear face coverings.

    Hallways will be equipped with signage reminding people to maintain a safe distance from others. Where feasible, one-way traffic flow will be indicated and “stay-in-your-lane” traffic-flow markers with directional arrows will be displayed.

    Elevators will be limited to three riders per trip, with priority given to students, faculty members, or staff members who are handicapped. Appropriate signage will be posted at each elevator.

    Cleaning and Sanitation

    Cleaning priority will be assigned to high-touch surfaces (door handles, elevator buttons, bathroom stalls, stair railings, etc.).


    Hand dryers in restrooms will be disconnected or taped off.

    Public Labs and Spaces

    In public computer labs, alternating computers will be made inactive, and chairs at those stations will be removed or labeled. These spaces will be stocked with cleaning supplies, and users will be responsible for wiping off equipment when work is completed. 

    Disinfectant and hand sanitizer should be left in each designated meeting area, and individuals are encouraged to wipe down all surfaces and equipment utilized. Furniture in student seating areas will be spaced apart, with accompanying signage to encourage social distancing.

    Building Use

    All interactions in non-classroom facilities must follow up-to-date Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonwealth, and State System guidelines for social distancing and group gatherings.

    Occupancy limits will be determined by IUP's Office of Engineering and Construction according to social-distancing guidelines.

    A limited number of facilities and rooms have been identified for essential meeting activities, allowing for focused IUP building sanitization efforts.

    Academic Buildings

    The use of academic buildings will be reserved for classes and department daily work activities only, unless otherwise approved as a meeting space for prescheduled activities. Classroom areas should not be utilized for elective activities during off-hour periods, so the focus can remain on providing a safe environment for face-to-face classroom activities.

    Department offices should limit in-person contact with students, faculty and staff members, and visitors. Barriers should be installed as needed. Office hours and advising should be conducted virtually.


    Pay-by-space machines will be cleaned at the beginning of each day’s shift by Parking security officers as part of a daily maintenance check. The Passport Pay-by-Phone app will be promoted to make no-contact payment available.

    IndiGO Bus

    IndiGO will operate the campus shuttle route according to current social-distancing guidelines, reducing bus occupancy, spreading out seating, and requiring riders to wear masks. All active students with an I-Card will continue to have free IndiGO bus service.

    County Status Change (Red/Yellow/Green)

    IUP will comply with guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the State System to comply with status change.

    Communication Plan

    IUP will use a digital-first strategy that provides all of our audiences a clear overview of what to expect during the 2020-21 academic year, including general guidelines to keep the community safe.

    Overall methods of communicating include this website, the MyIUP student portal, electronic newsletters, IUP social media channels, email, videos, printed materials and packets, and campus signage.

    We will report confirmed student cases of COVID-19 via our COVID-19 Dashboard. The dashboard notes if the student is an on-campus or off-campus resident.

    Information about testing and quarantine procedures are found on the Health and Safety page as well.

    Student Communication Methods

    Students will receive an informational flier in their safety kits. They will also receive information and updates through MyIUP, email, a mailed letter, and additional methods.

    Parent Communication Methods

    Parents will receive a COVID-19 Parent and Family Orientation Packet during parent receptions on move-in days. Information and updates will also be available via the parent newsletter and this website.

    Employee Communication Methods

    Employees will receive information through the electronic newsletter, email, communications from Human Resources, and this website.

    Community Collaboration

    IUP and Indiana County leadership are collaborating on communication campaigns to promote responsible behavior that protects the health and safety of the entire county and of students’ home communities.

    Contingency Communication Plan

    If needed, emergency notifications will be sent through the Everbridge system, which includes text messages, phone calls, and emails. If you are not registered for these emergency notifications, you can do so online.

    Emergency messages will also be shared on the IUP website (alert banner on the home page, updates to this site, news item), through MyIUP announcements for students, and on IUP social media channels.

    If necessary, messages will be sent to additional audiences outside of the campus community, including alumni, friends, and prospective students.

    This site will have the most recent and current information.