COVID-19 Information and Digital Resources Remote Resources & Activities

The Grad Center is committed to supporting all graduate and professional students and is working with campus partners to provide resources and opportunities for virtual engagement to help you stay connected and academically successful while on-campus operations remain limited. 

Announcements  Grad Center Resources 

Resources and Support   Virtual Activities  

Have an idea for a virtual program or resource to promote academic skills or community building? Know of a program or resource you would like us to highlight here or on social media? Share it with us using this form

Grad Center Resources and Support

The Graduate Student Center remains closed at this time, in accordance with state and University policies and guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Grad Center staff are available to provide assistance and support to all Penn graduate and professional students. Email gradcenter@upenn.edu or use this form to connect with us.
Stay connected and informed: 

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Be sure to check out our full Resource Guide for helpful information, links, and resources related to ​​​Student Wellness & EngagementAcademic Policies and Support; Diversity, Equity, & InclusionFunding & Finances; and more! 

Announcements and Official Information
University Announcements and Operations

The University of Pennsylvania has instituted mitigation practices and policies in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Student Campus Compact
ALL students enrolled during the 2020-21 academic year are expected to adhere to the expectations for physical distancing and public behavior detailed in the Student Campus Compact. 

Student Campus Compact

Please note: In addition to behavioral and COVID-19 testing expectations, the Campus Compact requires all enrolled students to receive a flu shot this year. PSIP and many other insurers cover the flu shot for free. Students can receive a flu shot at Student Health or your primary care provider.

COVID-19 Testing Information 

Any Penn student who needs to schedule a one-time COVID-19 test can do so by following the instructions provided on the Wellness COVID-19 page. This includes students who believe they may have been exposed to or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

Students who are living or working in congregate settings or who otherwise wish to participate in more routine testing should sign up to participate in surveillance testing. Students should complete this form and agree to show up for weekly testing in order to participate.

Students can look up their own test results in the new student results portal at: https://sct.wellness.upenn.edu 
 

2020-21 Academic Year Information
The University will allow many students to return to campus for Fall 2020 in a limited and careful way by incorporating online and virtual learning with on-campus classroom instruction and research where it can be provided safely and when it is essential to an academic program or curriculum. 

Spring 2021: The University will be opening up limited on-campus housing and expanding testing during the Spring 2021 semester. Instruction will still continue to be virtual with limited exceptions. Graduate and professional students engaged in research activities on campus or living in the area will be required to be tested for COVID-19 once per week.

University Coronavirus Information Page  

Presidential Messages

University Spring 2021 Planning 

Academic Issues and Resources

COVID-19 FAQs for Students

FAQ for Current International Students

Research Resumption Plans and Resources 

Penn Cares Button

 

Wellness at Penn and Penn Public Health have partnered to create new social media accounts to serve as a central source of COVID-19 information for the Penn community.

Be sure to follow @COVIDPenn on Instagram & Twitter for the latest guidance & public health information from Penn!

last updated: November 2020
Campus Facilities and Basic Services

March 21, 2020: The University has suspended all on-campus operations except for those that are life-sustaining. Most campus departments and offices are continuing to provide services remotely. Please check official websites for the most up-to-date information. 

Safety 
Unfortunately, bias-motivated attacks have been reported in Philadelphia and around the country. Penn’s Division of Public Safety supports the physical and emotional wellbeing of all Penn communities. Should any member of our community receive any threatening messages or become the victim of a criminal act, or see suspicious activity that should be indicative of a future act of violence, regardless of the location of the occurrence, please call the Division of Public Safety’s Emergency Communications Center immediately at 215-573-3333

Request a Walking Escort: Penn Public Safety and the University District Ambassador Program are available to provide Walking Escorts from 10:00am until 3:00am between 30th & 50th and Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue. Students can call 215-898-WALK (9255) 

Penn Transit and Parking
Penn Transit is operating on a limited schedule. All Penn Transit riders will soon be required to display a valid institutional identification card and a “green” PennOpen Screening Pass before entering a vehicle.

The Transportation and Parking Office is open Monday - Friday from 9AM to 4PM. Beginning Friday, August 21, daily hours will expand to 8:30AM – 5PM. Staff may also be contacted at parking@upenn.edu. For up-to-date transit and parking information, go to: https://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/transportation/coronavirus-information

Penn’s on-demand Evening Shuttles and Penn Accessible Transit services will continue to operate as normal. Shuttles provide free transportation from campus stops to anywhere in the service boundaries between 20th & 50th and Spring Garden Street to Woodland Avenue.

Students who purchased Spring Semester Penn Transit Passes should visit http://septa.org/pass-refund-info.html for instructions and additional information about requesting a refund.

Penn Libraries 
At this time all Penn Libraries buildings remain closed, in-person events are cancelled until further notice, and access to library facilities is limited to a small number of library staff. 

More information about Library services can be found under "Academic and Research Support" on this page. Learn more about phased library service availability on the Penn Libraries' COVID-19 FAQs page.

Penn Dining 
Penn Dining is open and is providing limited service. Visit the Penn Dining Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources page for the most up-to-date information. Please be aware that hours and locations are subject to change. 

Penn On-Campus Housing 
Information and resources for campus residents can be found at https://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/residential-services/coronavirus-information

last updated: August 18, 2020
City of Philadelphia

Official Information & Updates

The City of Philadelphia has announced "Safer at Home" Restrictions effective November 20, 2020 to January 1, 2021, which prohibit all indoor gatherings of people from more than one household and place restrictions on various indoor and outdoor activities. Read the full order here

These restrictions are in addition to existing general guidance for colleges and universities, as well as special guidance for university students to limit all in-person social interaction to those within their household until further notice. 

Additional information and updates: 

  • Statewide: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Guide at www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/
  • Philadelphia
    • Philadelphia COVID-19 website : www.phila.gov/COVID-19
    • COVID-19 Text Alerts: Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
    • Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline: Call the 24/7 helpline to speak with a health care professional. 1-800-722-7112
       

Schools
The School District and City of Philadelphia have announced a plan to provide grab-and-go meals and drop-in activity spaces for all Philadelphia students while our schools are closed. Details, including the list of sites, are available here

The School District's coronavirus information web page for families: https://www.philasd.org/coronavirus/ 

Transit
SEPTA, PATCO, and NJTransit are all running, though with cancellations and changes due to decreased ridership and staffing issues. All transit authorities are taking preventive steps by boosting cleaning efforts.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike will stop accepting cash and credit for tolls at 8 p.m. on March. 16. All tolls will be collected by E-ZPass or “toll by plate.”

Utilities and Essential Services 

Learn more about city services and support for individuals.

All non-essential City of Philadelphia government operations have halted, and all City government buildings are closed to the public. Find out which essential City services are still open and how you can get them.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is still operating on a regular schedule, and is reviewing and revising its contingency plans.

The Free Library of Philadelphia is closed. The Montgomery County Libraries are closed. If you have a library card, you can access a number of materials for free online.

Information for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and others needing public assistance. Please check the Assistance Programs section of this page for additional assistance available to those in need. 

Helplines and Crisis Services 

  • Philadelphia’s mental health and addiction services hotlines are operating.
  • The Community Behavioral Health hotline is open 24 hours a day at 888-545-2600.
  • If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, call the city’s 24-hour crisis hotline at 215-685-6440.
  • If you need immediate help with opioid addiction treatment, call the NET Access Point, the 24-hour service that connects people with treatment, at 844-533-8200 or 215-408-4987, or visit their website.
  • If you need intellectual disability services, call 215-685-5900.
  • The city also has a website providing free online behavioral health screenings, available 24 hours a day.

Grocery Stores 
Many grocery stores are providing designated shopping hours for those over 60 and/or immunocompromised, including:

  • Giant: 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. every day, for 60+ and the immunocompromised. Find your local store at giantfood.com/store-locator.
  • Acme: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. every weekday, for people over 60 and those with compromised immune systems. Find a store at local.acmemarkets.com
  • Target: An hour before normal store opening every Wednesday, for seniors and people with health conditions. Find your local store at target.com/store-locator
  • Whole Foods: An hour before store opening time. Find your local store at wholefoodsmarket.com/stores.

Protections from abuse and domestic violence 

  • Legal advice and support related to domestic violence
    During normal business hours, residents can call the Women Against Abuse Legal Center at (215) 686-7082 and leave a message with a safe number for an advocate to call them back.
     
  • The Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline remains open 24/7. For help, call at (866) 723-3014.
     
  • Protection from Abuse Orders
    Residents can file for emergency Protection from Abuse Orders (PFAs) at the Stout Center for Criminal Justice. Services are available 24/7 at:
    Stout Center for Criminal Justice
    1301 Filbert St., Room B-03
    Philadelphia, PA 19107

The Women’s Law Project has information about protection from abuse orders and other domestic violence resources.

Southeastern PA Region

Pennsylvania

Statewide

Visit PA.gov's COVID-19 page for statewide alerts and notices. https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Individuals in Pennsylvania who lost a job or have reduced hours due to coronavirus may be eligible for food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, cash assistance, or assistance with utilities. Visit https://clsphila.org/public-benefits/benefits-coronavirus/ for more information.

Montgomery County 
Visit the Montgomery County Alert Center for updates on COVID-19 related alerts. https://www.montcopa.org/AlertCenter.aspx

Delaware County
Visit the Delaware County Coronavirus web page for updates on closures and restrictions. https://www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/coronavirus.html

Bucks County
Visit the Bucks County COVID-19 web page for updates on closures and restrictions. https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com/

Chester County
Visit the Chester County Alert Center for updates on services, restrictions, and notices. https://chesco.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?CID=1

Southeastern New Jersey

Statewide
Visit NJ.gov's Health website for COVID-19 information https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml or call the hotline: 1-800-962-1253 

Camden County
Visit the Camden County News Page for updates and information. https://www.camdencounty.com/news/

**Please note: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has issued guidance for college and university students to avoid ALL social gatherings with people outside of their household. Penn students in the Philadelphia area are expected to comply with this and other guidelines, as indicated in the Student Campus Compact **

Resources and Support
Health and Wellness

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
CAPS is offering counseling sessions by phone or video conference, as well as in person. CAPS is available for students seeking drop-in or individual appointments. To schedule an appointment, dial 215-898-7021 and press 2 to speak to the Front Desk (M-F, 9am-5pm) or you can press 1 to talk to a clinician 24/7. For more information, visit https://caps.wellness.upenn.edu/

CAPS also provides support groups for students on various topics, including groups for those experiencing racial trauma and grief.

Your Mental Health and COVID-19: Tips and resources to help you cope with COVID-19, including dealing with issues of bias, coping skills, and more.  
 

The Office of the Chaplain | SPARC
The Chaplain / SPARC staff is available to students, faculty and staff for pastoral support, guidance, or informal advising and counseling via phone or video chat. 
 

Student Health Services
Student Health Services remains available for students in need of medical services. Visit their website for more information: https://shs.wellness.upenn.edu/. SHS services are available for free to all students who pay the clinical fee.  

Students with medical emergencies should utilize emergency medical services and dial 911. 

Please note: In addition to behavioral and COVID-19 testing expectations, the Campus Compact requires all enrolled students to receive a flu shot this year. PSIP and many other insurers cover the flu shot for free. Students can receive a flu shot at Student Health or your primary care provider.
 

COVID-19 Testing Information
Any Penn student who needs to schedule a one-time COVID-19 test can do so by following the instructions provided on the Wellness COVID-19 page. This includes students who believe they may have been exposed to or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

Students who are living or working in congregate settings or who otherwise wish to participate in more routine testing should sign up to participate in surveillance testing. Students should complete this form and agree to show up for weekly testing in order to participate.

Students can look up their own test results in the new student results portal at: https://sct.wellness.upenn.edu 
 

Important changes to PSIP in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

Please contact the Insurance Office at 215 746 3535 or vpul-shsinsur@pobox.upenn.edu with any questions.
 

HELP LINE
One call to the HELP LINE can assist you in finding personal and mental health support, 215-898-HELP.

last updated: October 2020

 

Technology & Software Access

 

All Penn students have unlimited data storage via Penn+Box, a cloud-based collaboration service for securely managing and sharing files and folders within the Penn community and externally. Users can access, create, manage, and distribute content across various device types and operating systems. 

Used to using a whiteboard for teaching, research, or office hours? CTL has some low- & medium-tech solutions you can use in live and recorded sessions! Many also recommend low-cost tablets for simulating whiteboards

Penn Libraries Virtual Support page provides a range of guides, tutorials, and support services to help with virtual classes. The Penn Libraries software guide includes tutorials and information on virtual meeting platforms — including Adobe Connect, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, and Zoom

The Using Electronic Resources provides information on accessing e-resources, optimal browser settings, as well as common connection problems and solutions.

Internet and Phone Service 
Information about free and  low-cost internet & wi-fi access and updates made to mobile phone service plans to help support individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

IT Support
Penn Information Systems & Computing (ISC) has put together a Remote IT Support Guide to assist students with accessing and using virtual instruction and software. Please click on a link below to jump to a section in the guide: 

Academic and Research Support

Academic Resources and Support

COVID-19 Related Academic Resources and FAQ 

Penn Libraries 
Penn Libraries Virtual Support page provides the information you’ll need to access digital content, collaborate with research partners, and directly consult with librarians. They have been working with academic publishers to make additional virtual content openly available. In addition, subject librarians are standing by to support online teaching, research, and learning throughout the rest of the semester.

Penn Libraries is providing the following services for physical books located in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, the Libraries’ Research Annex (LIBRA), Fisher Fine Arts Library, and the Museum Library:

  • Books by Mail for current Penn students, faculty, and staff within North America. International requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Pickup@Penn enables members of the Penn community to request books and pick them up outside Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center.

**Update** A limited number of seats in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center are now available to reserve for individual study on a pilot basis. In accordance with the latest University guidelines, current students who are living in campus housing and participating in the University's COVID surveillance testing/screening program are eligible to reserve seats. This includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Seats must be reserved at least 4 hours in advance through the web-based system. Same-day reservations must be made by 5pm.

Please note: In order to enter the library, students will need to present both a confirmed reservation and a green pass through the PennOpen Pass system. Traffic flow will be regulated, and no public access to book stacks will be granted.

Assigned study carrels will not be available this fall. If you have books or personal materials in a carrel, email vpcircdk@pobox.upenn.edu to arrange to pick up books or personal materials outside Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Or register for Books By Mail, and we will ship books and personal items to you.

More information on the Phased Library Service Availability can be found on the Penn Libraries COVID-19 FAQ page

Additional resources from Penn Libraries: 

Additionally, the Penn Bookstore is open with health protocols in place and is still processing online orders.

Weingarten Learning Resources Center 
The Weingarten Center staff is working remotely but will continue to support students by providing academic assistance (e.g., individual consultations with learning instructors, tutoring) through virtual platforms and by overseeing the implementation of accommodations for students with disabilities.

  • The Office of Learning Resources (OLR) is offering virtual access to academic support resources and advising. Students can schedule 50-minute virtual meetings or sign up for 25-minute virtual drop-in sessions with a learning instructor via the MyWLRC portal to discuss their study strategies and approaches to a variety of academic assignments and assessments. More details at www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc/lr/

  • Student Disabilities Services staff members are available by phone and email to answer questions from members of the University community about accessibility and accommodations. For information explains how SDS will provide the most common support services in the virtual classroom environment, visit www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc/sds/. Contact SDS directly by email or phone (215-573-9235) with any additional questions or concerns.

Contact the Weingarten Center at 215-573-9235 to get updated information about Student Disabilities Services, Office of Learning Resources, and Tutoring Services and to be connected with a staff member who can address your needs.

Writing Center 
The Writing Center provides writing support to graduate students enrolled in credit-bearing courses. You can find graduate hours hereSchedule appointments at upenn.mywconline.com.  

A guide to scheduling and attending online writing consultations is available at writing.upenn.edu/critical/wc/files/Online_Appointments.pdf (PDF, opens in new tab) 

Those students in timezones not well-suited to Writing Center hours should contact Stacy Kastner, PhD, Associate Director of The Writing Center.   

last updated: November 4, 2020
Support for Teaching Remotely

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Online Learning Initiative (OLI) have partnered to provide a guide to strategies and tools for teaching remotely. Check out the guide to teaching remotely at www.ctl.upenn.edu/resources-and-strategies-teaching-remotely.

CTL is also offering a series of online workshops related to teaching remotely. More details at www.ctl.upenn.edu/events

Used to using a whiteboard for teaching or office hours? CTL has some low- & medium-tech solutions you can use in live and recorded sessions! Many also recommend  low-cost tablets for simulating whiteboards

Penn Libraries Virtual Support page provides a range of guides, tutorials, and support services to help with virtual classes.

The Penn Libraries software guide includes tutorials and information on virtual meeting platforms — including Adobe Connect, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, and Zoom

The Using Electronic Resources provides information on accessing e-resources, optimal browser settings, as well as common connection problems and solutions.

last updated: March 22
Student Groups and Organizations

Until further notice, all student group and social activities should be conducted virtually to the extent possible.

Current guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health instructs college and university students to avoid ALL social gatherings with people outside of their household. Penn students in the Philadelphia area are expected to comply with this and other guidelines, as indicated in the Student Campus Compact.

All student groups should review and comply with the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Fall 2020 Rules for Student Group Operations (9.2.20). Additional updates and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) can be found on the OSA website

There are a number of resources and tools available for groups planning virtual activities and engagement, including: 

General Tips and Suggestions 

  • Update your group's PennClubs page, website and social media pages - stay active online and engage new members! 
  • Create new goals and objectives for your organization to reflect the nature of this semester. 

Group Meetings 

  • Continue to meet virtually on a regular basis 
  • Consider alternating or varying meeting times to accommodate members in other time zones 
  • Meet with your group faculty/staff adviser, OSA, or the Grad Center Director for support and guidance
  • Establish a communication plan with your exec team, adviser, and organization
  • Continue to build community with your organization members with online group activities
  • Maintain an online social media presence as an organization
  • Make an effort to recognize members and their contributions online
  • Try to conclude each meeting with a discussion of "what happens next?" - Summarize the meeting, review tasks that were assigned, discuss next meeting time or when you will talk next

Connection and Communication 
Think creatively about the best ways to share information and connect with one another while remote. 

  • Communication platforms and tools include: FaceTime, GroupMe, Phone calls (!), Social media groups/pages, Slack/Teams/Discord 
  • Social media takeovers: assign a member for a day/week to take over the org’s account and share their personal story, reflections, or favorite posts 
  • Video challenges: Use TikTok, IG Reels, or other tools to challenge your members - or other student groups - to fun video challenges 
  • Q&A: Use social media or online polls to help other students learn more about your organization and how to get/stay involved
  • Memories and Stories: share older posts or photos as a way of highlighting favorite events and memories or to share stories about your members and activities. 

See additional resources and information for student groups in our resource guide.

Support for Specific Populations

International Students
International students who have questions about travel and visas can contact ISSS directly to schedule virtual advising:   https://global.upenn.edu/isss

Although International Student & Scholar Service's (ISSS) in-person services remain suspended, ISSS advisors are available by email or virtual advising appointment. For instructions, visit https://global.upenn.edu/isss/advising.

ISSS has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19 at https://global.upenn.edu/isss/coronavirus-FAQ and is scheduling a series of virtual town halls and webinars (https://global.upenn.edu/isss/coronavirus#townhalls).

Students leaving the United States do not need a travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 before exiting the country. Before you return to the US, please complete the Travel Signature request form in iPenn. Once your request has been approved, please complete the Shipping Request form and your document will be mailed to you. 

last updated: August 14

Students and Postdocs with Children 
The Family Resource Center facility will remain closed through the fall semester. Family Center staff remain available to advise and meet with students, postdocs, and campus partners via phone, email, or Skype. 

Visit the Family Center Virtual Resources Page with special resources for parents and families during the COVID-19 outbreak and connect with other student, faculty, and staff parents through the Parents at Penn group on Facebook. 

Working from home while juggling caregiving can be a challenge, and many of you have asked for neighborhood-based approaches to help meet your caregiving needs. In response, Penn has launched Caregiver Connections, a new online platform for faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdocs who are also caregivers to build connections and find support in our local neighborhoods. We welcome feedback on this pilot program as we aim to develop the most useful solutions for members of the Penn community.

last updated: November 11

Students with Disabilities 
Student Disabilities Services is currently offering virtual support services for students in online classes. While the physical office is closed, SDS staff members are available by phone and email to answer questions from members of the University community about accessibility and accommodations.

For information about how SDS will provide the most common support services in the virtual classroom environment, visit www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc/sds/. Contact SDS directly by email or phone (215-573-9235) with any additional questions or concerns.

last updated: March 16

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Resources

Visit the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion section of our resource guide for additional resources and information. 

Public Assistance Programs

Benefits.gov Coronavirus Resources
On Benefits.gov, you can find government benefits related to unemployment assistancehealthcare, and food and nutrition. You can also use the Benefit Finder to find additional benefits for which you may be eligible. 

To learn more and stay up to date about the steps you can take to keep safe and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, refer to Coronavirus.gov, offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House. You can also visit USA.gov to learn more about the government's response to the outbreak. 

Public Benefits for PA Residents 
Individuals in Pennsylvania who lost a job or have reduced hours due to coronavirus may be eligible for food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, cash assistance, or assistance with utilities. Visit https://clsphila.org/public-benefits/benefits-coronavirus/ for more information. 

Assistance for Philadelphia Renters and Homeowners
There are resources available to help Philadelphia renters and homeowners facing housing issues during the pandemic. For more information, visit: www.phila.gov/2020-03-20-help-with-housing-during-covid-19/

  • Philadelphia COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program
    Applications accepted: May 12 at 10am to May 16 at 5pm (ET).
    The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will make rent payments for people who have lost income because of COVID-19. The application opens Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 10 a.m. The deadline to apply is Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 5 p.m. To be eligible, renters must: 1) Rent an apartment or house in Philadelphia; 2) Have a valid and current written lease signed by landlord; 3) Have lost income because of COVID-19; 4) Meet income guidelines. Renters do not have to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to be eligible. Additional resources for renters and homeowners can be found at www.phila.gov/2020-03-20-help-with-housing-during-covid-19/

  • Rental Agreements + Roommates leaving early
    By law, all individuals named as tenants on a lease are responsible for the terms of the lease they signed, whether or not they have relocated. If your roommate has departed, they are still responsible for paying their portion of the rent. If the departing roommate is a Penn student, the departing roommate should apply for assistance for duplicate rents or housing costs. Off-Campus Services (OCS) can assist you and provide resources related to the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, addressing issues related to off-campus living, legal resources, and subletting your apartment.

  • Moratorium on evictions and foreclosures
    Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order to prevent foreclosures and evictions until July 10. Homeowners concerned about potential foreclosure can call the Save Your Home Philly hotline at (215) 334-HOME (4663). Learn more about the postponements and resources to help Philadelphia renters and homeowners.

Unemployment Resources 
If you are facing unemployment or a lapse in employment due to the coronavirus, the following resources may be available to you:  

Under the Federal CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expanded eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for unemployment benefits. Individuals covered under PUA include the self-employed, those unable to start a new job, those seeking part-time employment, individuals lacking sufficient work history, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits.

To apply for unemployment assistance, please contact your State Unemployment Assistance Agency. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Unemployment Assistance Page

Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks)
According to the IRS, stimulus checks will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Eligible taxpayers, who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents will receive $500 for each qualifying child. Visit the IRS Economic Impact Payment Page to learn more. 

For more information specific to Social Security during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the U.S. Social Security Administration's Coronavirus Disease Page

Resources for Families in Need
For families requiring temporary assistance during the outbreak, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program can help provide financial assistance and related support.

Philadelphia residents who are pregnant or caring for an infant or toddler: see a list of resources and free supplies available to you and your family during COVID-19.

Food and Nutrition
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves millions of people annually, ensuring that they and their families have access to nutritious food options. The SNAP for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides for the special dietary needs of nursing and pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of five.

Additional federal programs can be found on the Benefits.gov Food and Nutrition Page. See additional food assistance programs and food banks in the "Other Assistance Programs" box on this page. 

Utilities
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps provide low-income families with their heating and cooling energy costs. See a state-by-state list of utility assistance programs on the  Benefits.gov Housing and Public Utilities Page 

  • PECO
    Customers experiencing challenges in paying their bills or who have a disconnect notice can contact PECO at 1-800-494-4000. PECO is also working to help customers determine if they are eligible for assistance programs. Effective March 13, 2020, PECO is suspending service disconnections and waiving new late payment charges through at least May 1, 2020.
     
  • Philadelphia Water Department
    Effective, March 16, PWD and the Water Revenue Bureau will work together to restore water service to all delinquent residential and commercial customers through Friday, May 15, 2020, and the restoration fee will be waived. Residential customers who have been shut off for meter non-compliance will also have their water service restored until May 15, 2020. Visit the Philadelphia Water Department COVID-19 Statements and Updates page for more information.
     
  • Philadelphia Gas Works
    Effective March 13, PGW is suspending non-payment terminations until May 1, 2020. PGW also plans to waive new late payment charges. Visit the PGW COVID-19 Updates page for more information.
Other Assistance Programs & Discounts

211 Help
United Way-supported 211Help connects you to a specialist in your area who can put you in touch with organizations that provide critical services like food, housing and utilities programs and more.

Banking and Credit
Some banks and credit card companies are waiving fees on missed credit card payments or waiving early withdrawal penalties for those who are out of work and need access to money. Visit official websites for more details 

Wifi, data, and internet. 
See information about free and low cost Internet and Phone Service available to local residents.

Comcast is offering unlimited data for customers, and making its wifi hotspots free for everyone. Customers can sign up for the service by visiting www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

Numerous Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have signed an FCC Agreement stating that from March 13 until May 12, 2020, companies will not terminate service for customers, will waive late fees, and will open access to public WiFi hotspots.

Many ISPs are making additional accommodations to assist customers. Offerings may change, so please check with your provider(s) for current promotions and be sure to check their eligibility requirements, terms, and conditions.

See this guide to internet and mobile service plans for those with financial need for more information about qualifying for discounts on internet, computers, and resources to stay connected remotely. 

Free meal services in Philadelphia
While schools are closed, the school district is coordinating with the City’s Office of Children and Families, Parks & Recreation, and many other departments and nonprofit partners to provide meal service in safe spaces throughout the city.

Food Assistance 
Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services offers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to help low-income households get more food. Applications can be submitted online  or filed in person at your county assistance officeFor additional information and resources, visit the Department of Human Services website.

The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education; provides resources to a network of food pantries; and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions to food insecurity. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity, you can call the WHY Hunger Hotline at 1-800-5-HUNGRY or visit http://www.auntbertha.com

  • Philadelphia 
    The City of Philadelphia and partners are providing free food for households and students at sites throughout the city.  
     
  • Montgomery County 
    Visit MontCo Anti-Hunger Network for latest information on food pantries in Montgomery County.

Many area food banks were still operating with adjusted or limited hours. Please call in advance.  Many food pantries and banks are also accepting volunteers and donations. 

  • Philabundance 3616 South Galloway Street Philadelphia, PA 19148
    215-339-0900
  • Food Bank of South Jersey 1501 John Tipton Blvd. Pennsauken, NJ 08110
    856-662-4884
  • Share Food Program 2901 W. Hunting Park Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19129
    215-223-2220
  • Mary's Cupboard 100 Levittown Parkway Levittown, PA 19054
    215-945-2550
  • Manna on Main Street 606 E. Main Street Lansdale, PA 19446
    215-855-5454
  • Narberth Community Food Bank 201 Sabine Avenue, 2nd Floor Narberth, PA 19072
    484-278-4579
  • St. Mark's United Methodist Church Food Pantry 220 S. Sproul Rd. Broomall, PA 19008
    610-325-0130
  • Chester County Food Bank 650 Pennsylvania Drive Exton, PA 19341
    610-873-6000

Virtual Activities and Things to Do
Health and Wellness

The Basics

In order to be there for anyone else, you have to first take care of yourself. 

Outdoor Recreation

Social distancing doesn't have to mean staying indoors. Explore new parts of the city or visit one of Philadelphia's many urban parks! Remember to wear a mask and stay 6 ft away when other people are around. Not in Philadelphia? Look for parks and other outdoor recreation opportunities near you. 

Mental Health and Coping Resources 

Mindfulness and Meditation

Fitness 

Campus Recreation and Fitness Centers

Penn Campus Recreation facilities and programs remain suspended until further notice. For more information visit the Penn Campus Rec COVID-19 page.

Campus Recreation has developed a remote resource hub to help keep the Penn Community active and connected to favorite Philadelphia area studios, Penn Alumni, and more! You can also learn more about individual programs and schedule virtual consultations by visiting the Campus Recreation member portal

Group Fitness classes will be offered remotely during the Fall semester. Franklin Field will be open for free recreational use in a limited capacity on Wednesday, September 23rd. Learn more on their Fall Recreation Programs website.

Online Fitness Classes

Feeling restless or missing your regular workouts? Try out these online fitness routines and streaming workouts you can do from home! 

 

Social Connection

Penn Community Connections

Want to connect with other members of the Penn graduate and professional student community? Here are a few ways you can meet new people or engage with the community from a distance. 

Peer Accountability Groups 
Whether you're working on a long-term project, writing a dissertation, trying to maintain healthy habits, or want to connect with others with similar goals, forming an accountability group with other students is a great way to help one another stay motivated and make progress towards reaching your goals, by providing accountability and encouragement along the way. Learn more and sign up at gsc.upenn.edu/peer-groups.

Grad Center Virtual Coffee Hours
Fridays at 12:00 PM (Eastern) starting in September
Bring your favorite cup of coffee and connect virtually with graduate students and Grad Center staff. Details on our events page

Virtual Skill Share 
Share Your Skills!
Do you teach yoga, knit/crochet, or have another hobby or skill you think other grad students would be interested in learning? Share it with the Penn graduate community in a virtual program or video or through one-on-one skill sharing. Use this form to get started!

Penn Cultural & Identity Centers Weekly Virtual Chats
VPUL cultural and identity centers offer weekly virtual chats to connect with students and staff. 

Information for Student Groups 
The Office of Student Activities has put together a Frequently Asked Questions page for Student Groups in response to altered University operations during the pandemic.

Staying Connected Beyond Penn 

Quarantine Chat 
Speak on the phone with someone else who is stuck at home due to COVID-19 (via iOS or Android). QuarantineChat simulates the magic of having a surprise conversation with someone—something that is becoming increasingly rare during the times of a viral epidemic.

StoryCorps 
StoryCorps gives people of all backgrounds, typically two at a time, the opportunity to record meaningful conversations and archives the recordings at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps conversations can be recorded in person, with the StoryCorps app, or through your web browser. 

 

 

Last updated: August 30 
Academic and Professional Development

We understand that the disruptions and uncertainty of this period make it difficult or even impossible to balance life with school and work obligations. We encourage and support you in prioritizing your own wellness and relationships at this time.

The resources and suggested activities below are provided for those who wish to dedicate some time to academic and professional development or who are seeking concrete ways to continue learning and growing while research or other developmental activities are suspended. 

Online Learning Platforms, Open Courseware, and MOOCs

  • Coursera
    hundreds of free courses taught by top instructors from world-class universities and companies, on a wide range of academic, professional, and personal development topics. Free courses give you access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. 

  • edX
    Supporting learners at every stage, whether entering the job market, changing fields, seeking a promotion, or exploring new interests, edX delivers courses for curious minds on topics ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications. 

  • Alison 
    Alison is one of the world’s largest free learning platforms for education and skills training. It is a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to making it possible for anyone, to study anything, anywhere, at any time, for free, online, at any subject level. Through our mission we are a catalyst for positive social change, creating opportunity, prosperity, and equality for everyone.

  • CodeAcademy
    Basic coding lessons are free 

  • LinkedIn Learning
    Online tutorials and courses on a wide selection of topics, including software products widely used on campus such as the Microsoft Office suite, Google Analytics, and Drupal, as well as topics to enhance key business skills such as project management, marketing, and collaboration. 

Learn (or practice) a language

  • Grad Center Language Chats 
    The Grad Center’s popular language chats have moved online!  Learn more and see currently-scheduled chats at https://gsc.upenn.edu/graduate-life/chats.

  • Mango Languages
    Mango uses semantic mapping to help you learn languages through conversations, movies, and other exercises. Access Mango Languages with your Pennkey and password.

  • Duolingo
    Learn a language by translating webpages. Duolingo provides free language courses; you provide the web with translations while you learn.

  • BBC Languages
    BBC Languages offers courses, interactive videos, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and exercises. Listen to the BBC World Service news in 27 languages.

  • Visual Link Languages - Learn a Language
    Created by the U.S. Institute of Language, Visual Link courses offers free language lessons, games, vocabulary, and cultural information.

         See additional language learning resources at https://guides.library.upenn.edu/c.php?g=476057&p=3255637

Research and Writing  

Teaching

Career Development 

Build Your Network 

  • QuakerNet is a database of Penn graduates and is searchable by industry, employer name, major, degree, student clubs, and more. Update your profile and connect with Penn alumni in your field(s) of interest. Wharton alumni may also wish to access the Wharton Alumni Directory to connect with the global Wharton alumni newtork. 

  • Over 42,000 Quakers have joined the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Group on LinkedIn. This site is a great resources for connecting with classmates, engaging in career-related discussions, learning about job opportunities, and joining Penn school and industry-specific subgroups.

 

Academic and Intellectual Programs 

Academic Resources and Support 

Service & Engagement Opportunities

We encourage students wishing to engage in service and volunteer opportunities to identify established organizations addressing community needs and to get creative about finding needs and opportunities you can participate in remotely. 

DONATE or share VIRTUAL SUPPORT related to the pandemic

  • MASK ON! Philly
    The MASK ON! Philly Project sews face masks for those in need. Volunteers are needed to help sew masks, cut fabric, and drop off the masks to distribution partners. Donations of fabric, mask making materials, and funds are also greatly appreciated. 
     
  • PHL COVID-19 Fund
    The PHL COVID-19 Fund will rapidly and equitably deploy solutions and resources to help our nonprofit community navigate near-and longer-term challenges from COVID-19 and ensure that critical resources remain available for those in our community who need it most.

     
  • Donate PPE and Supplies to Penn Medicine
    Penn Medicine is now accepting donations of personal protective equipment and supplies from the community. For more information, visit https://www.pennmedicine.org/coronavirus/donations
     
  • Penn Medicine Spread the Love Campaign
    Send notes of gratitude to front line staff at Penn Medicine. Leave your messages of support, encouragement, and gratitude, and they will be spread system-wide and delivered to our staff. No name or contact information is required but if you'd like to sign your first name and location, you're more than welcome.
     
  • Support local small businesses (safely)
    Though their locations may remain closed, you can still safely support your neighborhood shops and restaurants 
     
  • Donate blood to support scientific discoveries
    The purpose of Wistar's phlebotomy service is to collect blood from healthy donors to be used for conducting biomedical research that impacts many areas of human health, particularly cancer and infectious diseases. 
     

VOLUNTEER and HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS
There are many established organizations in Philadelphia seeking volunteers. Students are not required or encouraged to engage in any of these initiatives. These opportunities are completely voluntary. Please contact the sites directly to sign up or with any questions.

  • Remote Volunteer Opportunities with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
     
  • PHT Rapid Response: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    Penn Health-Tech is rapidly assembling interdisciplinary teams to address emergent unmet needs related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) with technology solutions. Submit your COVID-19-related unmet need and breakthrough solution or volunteer to join a team.
     
  • The Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service is working to connect residents to volunteer opportunities with these critical organizations. Residents who wish to support these efforts can sign up for shifts on serve.volunteermatch.org
     
  • Netter Center Virtual Community Engagement Opportunities
    The Netter Center has adapted outreach and community partnerships for virtual civic engagement, in collaboration with our community and K12 school partners. Learn more about opportunities through the Netter Center and see a list of remote engagement opportunities
     
  • Corona Connects is an online database created by Penn students that lets you filter remote and in-person volunteer opportunities by U.S. location and time commitment. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours; want to teach others or flex your crafting skills; or want to get out or stay inside, there are many ways to make a difference.
     
  • Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) 
    MANNA uses nutrition to improve health for people with serious illnesses who need nourishment to heal. By providing medically tailored meals and nutrition education, we empower people to improve their health and quality of life. Individual and group volunteer opportunities are available. 
     
  • Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) 
    PhilWP is a practitioner network, connecting K-university educators with teachers, principals, parents, and out-of-school-time leaders to explore literacy, writing, teaching, and learning across grade levels and disciplines.PhilWP is currently looking for judges to identify exceptional writing among local and regional student work in January 2021. Panels of judges will judge all local writing submissions remotely. Online information sessions and training will be scheduled in November.
     
  • Give Blood 
    the American Red Cross has an ongoing critical need for blood product donations as uncertainties remain during this coronavirus pandemic. Giving blood is considered an essential community service. As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, healthy individuals can still donate even in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations.
     
  • Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
    Become a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help us make historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible.
     
  • BookShare Virtual Volunteer Opportunities
    Book Share offers thousands of books to people with reading disabilities. As an online volunteer you can scan books to be added to the collection, edit books that have been scanned and add text descriptions to images.
     
  • Be My Eyes 
    Be My Eyes is a free app that connects individuals with visual impairments with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.
     
  • Translators without Borders (TWB)
    TWB is a non-profit organization offering language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies, and other non-profit organizations on a global scale. If you are fluent in at least one language other than your native language you can help! TWB also utilizes volunteer support in graphic design and website design.
     
  • United Nations Online Volunteer Opportunities
    You can help with writing and editing, translation, technology services, research, and advocacy, to name a few, and there is a variety of short and longer-term opportunities.
     
  • The Spruce Foundation 
    The Spruce Foundation is an all volunteer, next-gen-led nonprofit based in Philadelphia focused on cultivating the next generation of philanthropists through community giving and grantmaking in support of Philadelphia’s youth. The Foundation offers offer year-round opportunities to engage young professionals in the local philanthropic scene through Spruce Council and opens applications for the Spruce Foundation board every spring. 

Check out our Weekly Ways to Get Engaged posts for even more ways to stay engaged or make a difference in your community! 

OTHER WAYS TO HELP

  • Call or leave a note for your neighbors, particularly seniors and those who live alone. Help them get the essential supplies they need. 

  • Remind others of social distancing guidance, including young adults and teens who may still feel inclined to hang out with friends. 

  • Order take-out or delivery from a locally-owned eatery.

  • Wear a mask and sew masks to donate to neighbors or essential employees. 

  • Post drawings/art, or words of thanks or encouragement in your window and/or offer a wave of thanks when you see essential employees, especially our healthcare workers and first responders.

 

Campus Engagement Opportunities

Creative, Performing, & Fine Arts

Penn Museum
The Penn Museum is open now through the purchase of timed tickets. Learn more about their plans to ensure a safe visit for all. They are also still offering virtual content via YouTube videos and an online collections database. The museum will be sharing objects from their collections, links to lectures, & more on social media with the hashtag #VisitFromHome.

Check out the Penn Museum's Facebook page for the Digital Daily Dig. Virtually tour their galleries here: https://bit.ly/397aeWW.

For more information, go to: https://www.penn.museum

New York Metropolitan Opera
The Nightly Met Opera Streams, which start at 7:30 p.m. (EST), pull from the renowned opera house’s award-winning Live in HD series, which includes encore presentations such as 19th-century French composer Georges Bizet’s Carmen. The recordings will be available to view for free on the Met Opera homepage for 20 hours after they’re streamed.

Color Our Collections 
Over 100 libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world have shared free coloring sheets and books based on materials in their collections. Download, print, and share your favorites!

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems! 
Join Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence at Home for a live daily doodle lesson at 1:00 PM EDT.  Videos will be available after live on the Kennedy Center YouTube channel. 

Join the McHarper Manor weekdays on Facebook for a daily art project tutorial. Art projects will range from watercolor paintings to chalk art to canvas painting and will take place live at 1:00 PM EDT. Videos will be available after the live class on the McHarper Manor Facebook page.  

Penn Coloring Pages 
Alumni Relations has created Penn print-at-home coloring pages for adults and kids, alike! 

Many museums and galleries provide virtual tours of their collections or special exhibits. Explore new and inspiring art from around the world. 

Google Arts & Culture Virtual Tours
Digital collection of over 1,200+ museums and galleries that anyone with wifi can peruse at their own leisure. Depending on the museum, viewers can scroll through select images from renowned collections, and, in certain cases, navigate a “street view” of the gallery space, functioning as a virtual tour.

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)
To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and in accordance with University of Pennsylvania guidelines, ICA is now temporarily closed to the public until further notice. All public events taking place at the museum have been canceled. ICA staff will have remote office hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., also until further notice. You may experience some delays with publication orders and archival requests. We thank you in advance for your patience. To reach an ICA staff member please email hello@ica.upenn.edu

last updated: August 14
Just for Fun

Virtual Backgrounds & Desktop Wallpaper Images 

  • #MaskUpenn 
    Grab some of these great images for your social media #MaskUPenn, your mobile background, or even virtual background for those Zoom classes!
     
  • Penn Campus Backgrounds
    A collection Penn Campus Backgrounds from Alumni Relations 
     
  • Penn's free photo library
    University Communications has a Flickr stream site where you can download Penn images. 
     

 Pick up a new Hobby

 

Virtual Tours

Interactive videos of Philadelphia's Famous Landmarks or live feeds and video tours of Philly museums, cultural centers, zoos, and more!

List of 100 Things for Kids (and Students) to Virtually Tour by UpgradedPoints

Video Games that Allow You to Travel by Nerd Bear

Explore the outdoors and beyond, from national parks to the surface of Mars!

 

Watch Animal Webcams 

Visit the Zoo 

 

Puzzles, Games, and Entertainment

Host a Virtual Party or Game Night with Friends

Crossword Puzzles

Online Puzzles:

Sudoku:

Offline Activities

Need a break from staring at screens? Try some of the activities below! 

Calendar of Events 

This section is updated frequently. Be sure to check back often! 
Have a suggestion for resources or activities you'd like to see offered? Let us know