Dear EMS community,
As we are all aware, this is a constantly evolving situation. We have compiled coronavirus information that you may find useful into one place. Please check back often for updates.
Presently, there are no known cases of coronavirus at Penn State. For the latest information about the presence of coronavirus in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Read the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Penn State extends remote course delivery through spring semester
Spring commencement ceremony plans are postponed; students must have University approval before accessing on-campus residences
Penn State implements governor’s mitigation plan
Essential employees only should continue to report; baseline operations will continue
Penn State Coronavirus Information
Website serves as the hub for Penn State coronavirus information for members of the University community who have questions about the outbreak.
- Read the latest updates and messages on coronavirus being shared with the Penn State community
- Read more about the steps Penn State is taking in response to the outbreak.
- Read answers to frequently asked questions
- Read about information for travelers
- Read HR specific information
Information for Students
- Student Care and Advocacy
Funds available to students in financial need across the commonwealth who apply for emergency assistance
- COVID 19 Updates for Graduate Students
Graduate students enrolled in resident courses should plan on participating remotely, and not coming to campus specifically for face-to-face instruction. Graduate students involved in the instructional mission, research, and/or who are on assistantships with activities other than the instructional mission and research, should refer to the information on the COVID 19 Updates for Graduate Students webpage.
- Remote Learning
Website serves as the hub of information for Penn State students who have questions about how the outbreak will affect continued studies. Resources on transitioning from the classroom to remote learning.
Tools for Online Teaching and Meetings
Resources to Support Teaching and Learning
- John A. Dutton e-Education Institute Faculty Development
- Resources to help instructors plan, develop, teach and assess your students, and evaluate online courses. To schedule a consultation, contact Stevie Rocco at email@example.com or at 814-863-1560.
- Remote Teaching
Transitioning from the classroom to remote teaching: resources to help Penn State faculty be prepared to offer courses remotely in case teaching on campus is not an option.
- TLT: Continuity of Instruction
Resources to help Penn State faculty to be ready to take their courses online in case teaching on campus is not an option.
- Contingency Planning for Undergraduate Education
Suggestions for how to handle various teaching challenges.
- Managing disruptions in remote classrooms
Please be aware that some faculty have experienced online classroom “raiding” by participants who are not enrolled in the course, nor at Penn State. These are individuals who have managed to obtain Zoom class information and have chosen to participate for the purposes of disruption. Currently, we do not have the technical mechanisms to block such participants. Website contains recommendations to help instructors manage and prevent this type of disruption as proactively, quietly, and as swiftly, as possible.
- Conferencing and Media Management
Penn State has adopted Zoom and Kaltura to work together to provide the University with an optimal conferencing and media-management service.
- John A. Dutton e-Education Institute Canvas Resources
Website contains helpful sites and to training materials that will assist you as you work in Canvas, the University's Learning Management System.
- Penn State Canvas
Website offers help and support, training, news and tips, and how to get started resources.
- Penn State Canvas Learning Center
The Canvas Learning Center is a gateway for all Penn State faculty and support staff to learn how to get the most out of using Canvas for teaching and learning.
Can I record a Zoom meeting?
Yes. While Zoom gives the option to record a meeting, users must comply with all applicable laws and Penn State policies. Specifically, everyone on the Zoom meeting must be told if the meeting is being recorded and give their consent to be recorded. Also, discussion of High-risk or Restricted data (as defined in AD95) is not permitted while recording.
You also will need to securely store the recordings and destroy them at the end of the semester. If you intend to use the recordings after the end of the semester, any type of identifying information must be removed. In addition, you must inform students that they are being recorded by sharing the following language with them: “Video and audio recordings of class lectures will be part of the classroom activity. The video and audio recording is used for educational use/purposes and may only be made available to students presently enrolled in the class. For purposes where the recordings will be used in future class session/lectures, any type of identifying information will be adequately removed.”
- Penn State Zoom
Penn State’s license allows for 500 simultaneous participants per “room.” There is also the option to create a Zoom “webinar” instead of a meeting. Penn State’s license for webinars also has a limit of 500 simultaneous participants. The main differences between meetings and webinars are as follows:
- All participants can share their video
- Participant list visible to all
- No breakout rooms incorporated
- Only host/panelist(s) can share their video
- Participant list visible only to host/panelist(s)
- Breakout rooms available
For more comparisons, see https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115005474943-Meeting-and-Webinar-Comparison
Instructions for Incorporating Zoom into Canvas:
- Login to Canvas
- Select the course you are teaching
- Click on “Settings” from the left-hand bar
- Then click on “Navigation” at the top
- Scroll to the bottom and click on the menu next to Zoom
- Select “+Enable”
- Hit the Save button at the bottom
- Zoom should now appear in the list on the left-hand side of the page
- Click on “Zoom” and you can schedule meetings
- IT Learning and Development: Share and Collaborate with Microsoft Teams
For class sizes over 500 where synchronous communication is desired, Microsoft Teams Live can handle up to 15,000.
Adapting Assessment to an Online Environment
- Penn State’s Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence
Institute has put together information that can instructors decide what they can/should do about planned assessments like quizzes, exams, presentations, etc. while moving to remote instruction.
Because students may have left their textbooks in their dorm room when they left for Spring Break, access to text may be limited. Faculty should explore alternatives which may include:
- VitalSource and Publishers to Provide Free Access to eTextbooks to Students Affected by COVID-19 Campus Closures
Students will be able to access their class materials through VitalSource’s Bookshelf app at no cost; View VitalCourse Help page; Notes about VitalSource:
- Students are restricted to 7 books in total. Therefore, if they have any textbooks that are being offered directly from the publisher (like Cengage, Elsevier, or Wiley), they should use that option first to not use up one of their allowed books (if they don’t know the publisher, remind them to check the syllabus).
- They do NOT get access to any supplementary information that they would have gotten with the access codes.
- Encourage them to check the syllabus for the correct ISBN for their text. There are multiple versions of texts in VitalSource and books are “non-returnable” so if they choose the wrong one they have used up one of their 7 books (tell them to click on the “I” to get information on the book such as the edition and year published).
- This is TEMPORARY. Access ends May 25.
- They MUST create an account at https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/user/registration using their PSU email (it must be a .edu email to gain access).
- Printing is limited to 2 pages at a time.
- Remote Resources for Penn State Library Users
- E-books available from Penn State Libraries
- Open Educational Resources
Faculty may want to point to comparable online resources that are available as OER or in other formats, giving students a choice of readings. Finally, an additional option may be having material scanned and uploaded, either through Penn State Library Electronic Reserves or through department staff. Be flexible and creative in working with students to identify reading assignments.
With the rapidly evolving circumstances regarding COVID-19 and our focus on social distancing and the health and well-being of the community, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, in consultation with the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Medicine, has issued these revised standards related to laboratory research. Specifically, Principal Investigators should immediately begin preparing for all on-campus research to be reduced to essential research-related activities by March 24.
- Please review the complete guidance for reducting research activities in Penn State labs
For Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) related questions, contact EHS at:
- Phone: 814-865-6391
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit the EHS COVID-19 website for resources on the below topics:
- Research Continuity Guide - Guidance provided to aid Deans, Department Chairs, Safety Officers, and Principal Investigators (PIs) in considering the additional steps that should be taken to protect laboratory personnel and the valuable research being conducted at Penn State during a temporary campus shutdown.
- Laboratory Ramp Down Checklist - Tool to guide researchers during the ramp down and interim closure of their laboratory.
- Cleaning Guidance - Laboratory - Guidance provided to laboratories and research facilities to help identify approved COVID-19 disinfection methods researchers can follow for their high touch work areas and equipment.
- Lab Suspension Sign - Signage to post on entrances to laboratories and research facilities closed during COVID-19 pandemic. Provides emergency contact information for space if needed.
Undergraduate students who are doing research for credit may not continue to work in labs and other areas on campus to complete their work. Faculty are asked to identify alternative ways of achieving the learning outcomes for the experience. If a student is completing a research thesis, faculty will work to navigate best practices for completing the thesis. If an undergraduate student taking research for credit is essential to the research mission, an academic unit executive must approve an exception for the student to continue research and ensure safe social distancing in the lab. Undergraduate students who are employees performing essential work may choose to continue work on campus if good social distance practices can be maintained.
CATA Bus Service
To protect its employees and the community, starting Thursday March 19, CATA will not collect fares on any of its services and are encouraging passengers on fixed route service who are able to, to board the bus from the rear door. Any passenger using a mobility device would still board the bus through the front door.
At this time, due to the nature of this crisis, this will continue until further notice.
The frequency of the K (Cato Park) Route will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes throughout the day. The frequency of service on the N (Martin St./Aaron Drive), R (Waupelani Drive), and V (Vairo Blvd.) Routes will be reduced from every 20 minutes during peak operating times to every 40 minutes. Complete revised schedules may be found for these routes below.
Complete revised schedules may be found for these routes can be found below. **Please note that trips highlighted in yellow will NOT operate.**
- K (Cato Park) Route Revised Service Schedule
- N (Martin St./Aaron Drive) Route Revised Service Schedule
- R (Waupelani Drive) Route Revised Service Schedule
- V (Vairo Blvd.) Route Revised Service Schedule
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020
Effective Monday, March 23, all CATABUS fixed route service will cease operations at 8:00 p.m. daily. Specific details for final trips will be available by Thursday, March 19 at catabus.com. CATAGO! microtransit service will cease operation at 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:00 p.m. Saturday, as the service does not run on Sunday. CATA asks that those working second and third shifts who will be adversely affected by these changes please contact CATA's Customer Service Center at (814) 238-CATA (2282) during regular business hours to share their feedback on this change.
- CATA will not operate the following routes: The A (Park Forest Village), B (Boalsburg), C (Houserville), F (Pine Grove), G (Gray's Woods), and S (Science Park) routes. We will notify the community when we are able to return these routes to service.
- The XB (Bellefonte) and XG (Pleasant Gap) routes will also be discontinued, however CATAGO! microtransit service will be expanded to provide service to Pleasant Gap during this time. CATARIDE services will continue in the 3/4 mile zone around the XB and XG routes.
- The changes in frequency to the K (Cato Park), N (Martin St./Aaron Dr.), R (Waupelani Dr.), and V (Vairo Blvd.) Routes scheduled to start on Thursday, March 19 will remain in effect.
- CATA is working with Penn State to determine the impact of today's announcement on the Blue Loop and Red Link service so no changes are being made at this time.
- CATARIDE service will now end at 11 p.m. each day except for Bellefonte /Pleasant Gap where service will end at 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. In addition, call in hours for reservations for next day trips will now be Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
- Beginning Thursday, March 19) and continuing until further notice, all faculty and staff with a valid daytime-access parking permit and all students with a valid Commuter parking permit may park throughout the day at the following parking areas:
- East Deck
- Eisenhower Dec
- Nittany Deck
- Red A
- To enter and exit the East and Nittany decks, permit holders must scan their permit's barcode at one of the in-lane machines.
- All other campus parking regulations remain in effect, to include no student parking at campus decks between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., seven days a week.
- This temporary allowance is being implemented to provide central campus parking options for additional users while parking demand in these areas is diminished due to remote learning and teleworking and while CATA operates on a reduced service schedule.â€¯Transportation Services will continue to monitor parking usage and any updates or further changes will be communicated to permit holders via email.
- If there are any questions, please email email@example.com or call 865-1436.
- RIDEpass participants and evening/weekend permit holders may park throughout the day at the Commuter lots (Jordan East, Stadium West, Porter North). We will continue to monitor parking usage and if any additional adjustments are appropriate, we will notify permit holders by email.
EMS Specific Resources
- Mail service will continue, and is necessary for our regular ongoing business and research efforts.
- Because of security concerns, the shared mailroom in Hosler that serves Deike, Hosler and Steidle will be temporarily closed. We have made arrangements for the mail delivery and packages to be received in 248 Deike, and will be available for pickup in the hallway in front of the ADGER office from 10am-2pm on weekdays. Please feel free to contact Diane Ault (865-7659 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if questions come up.
Building Lock/Unlock Schedules
- In response to the Governor’s order to close non-life-sustaining physical locations to the public, the University will be keeping all buildings locked until further notice. While all of you will still have access to the buildings (for which you have key or swipe-card access), you are encouraged to continue to work remotely (stay at home) as much as possible.
All library locations are closed - read press release>>
If any of your students are trying to complete their senior thesis, honors thesis, or other papers please encourage them to reach out to the EMS librarians for assistance. Linda Musser and Elise Gowen are available for consultations (via Zoom or phone) to assist students with their background research and can aid them in accessing print resources if needed.
As a reminder, the Credo Information Literacy modules are available for use in your courses. There are videos, tutorials and quizzes on library topics from searching techniques to bias to citations.
Linda Musser (email@example.com) - contact for engineering classes (EME, MATSE, etc.) and non-College of EMS courses
Elise Gowen (firstname.lastname@example.org) - contact for earth science classes (GEOG, GEOSC, METEO, etc.)
- Janitorial personnel are considered essential staff by OPP and their work and schedule will not change.
- OPP has changed disinfectants to be sure it is effective in killing this virus and are being very thorough in cleaning the restrooms and public areas. The residue left by this new cleaner is a little bit stickier than the previous cleaner. The cleaning schedule and trash removal schedules remain the same.
OPP Area Services
- OPP technicians are considered essential staff by OPP and their work and schedules will not change. They will respond to issues and requests as usual.
- Renovation projects will be continuing and there will still be regularly scheduled meetings. Some of those have already been converted to Zoom. Frank Driscoll will serve as contact for these projects. As of now, Penn State is not stopping the contractors from working, but we cannot control any decisions the contracting companies make about their workers. The renovations in progress do have signed contracts and Frank thinks the contractors will want to keep working, as long as they are healthy.
Support for Research in Labs
- It is important that our technical support staff remain accessible and continue to provide onsite lab support and safety oversight. It is possible this can be done in somewhat reduced hours, but the decision on what is appropriate should be worked out between the technical support staff and their supervisor. Safety levels must not be compromised.
Shared Gas Tank Area (Hosler Loading Dock for Hosler, Deike, and Steidle)
- Access to this area will be open the same as the mail hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. Researchers are requested to plan ahead for their needs. If gas bottles are needed outside scheduled hours, the lab support staff in Hosler, Deike, and Steidle have a key for access, if they are available.
Adherence to normal safety practices and policies does not change. In fact, we need to be more vigilant. EH&S has guidance already in place for insuring safety when there are less people around: See page 39 of Laboratory and Research Safety Plan.
7.4.2 Procedures for Working Alone
No one should work alone in a laboratory. More specifically, this means that someone else should be in close proximity (down the hall) and check in periodically on the individual. When it is not possible to have someone close by, the individual should arrange to call someone every half hour to provide updates on their status. Likewise, new lab work that presents hazards should never be done alone.
If faced with a situation where you feel it is necessary to work alone in a laboratory:
- Reconsider the need. Is the work really that critical?
- Reconsider the timing and setup of the work. Can the task be accomplished another time when others will be present?
- If the timing of the task cannot be changed and you still feel it must be accomplished is there any other person trained in laboratory procedures who can accompany you?
- If not, is there anyone else within the building who could act as a “buddy” to check on you periodically during the time that you feel you must work alone?
- If no one can accompany you and you cannot find a “buddy,” do not proceed with the work. Speak to your PI/supervisor to make arrangements to complete the work in a safe manner.
7.4.3 Supervision Requirement
Everyone needs to have a supervisor, or someone acting in that capacity, at all times in order to ensure that the supervisory responsibilities listed in Section 3.0 and in SY01 are followed. If a faculty member or supervisor will be out of town, especially long term, someone else must be clearly assigned to take on those responsibilities and be familiar with the activities the individual is doing, including the potential hazards of the work.
The University remains open for business during the remote-learning period. In the interest of the health and safety of the community, University leadership is allowing telecommuting on a temporary basis as an option to increase social distancing, while recognizing that each unit has unique circumstances.
- All departmental, institute, and college offices are asked to remain closed with signs posted with contact information. (Please copy and use sign template below.)
- Contacts listed need to be responsive to requests (phone or email).
- Faculty and staff may come to their offices but should practice social distancing and other preventive measures to avoid exposure.
- We will be reassessing the situation and communicating with the central administration, and the situation may change in the future.
- Faculty and staff should be continuously monitoring their email accounts during working hours.
- Telecommuting Agreements (HRG02) have been waived for the remote-learning period. Managers will be responsible for tracking the teleworking schedules and arrangements of their reports. Managers need to send an email detailing the telecommuting agreement to EMS HR (John Barlett and Sara Lobb) for approval.
- The Penn State Human Resources (HR) webpage contains guidelines and FAQs regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for faculty and staff. They will be updating the page on a regular basis.
Department/Unit Name | College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
Based upon the March 11, 2020 message from President Barron, our office staff are telecommuting until at least April 6, 2020. Please see below for specific contact information.
For routine questions, please contact XXXX at (814) XXX-XXXX and/or XXXXXX@psu.edu.
For (specific questions, i.e. Advising), please contact XXXX at (814) XXX-XXXX and/or XXXXXX@psu.edu.
We apologize for any inconvenience but hope you can understand this unique and emerging situation.
- Faculty and staff may use the Jabber software telephone to make and receive phone calls using a computer. To sign up and for installation instructions, please see KB0011544 . Elevated privileges are required to install on Windows or Mac OS X computers.
- If an employee chooses to telecommute, they need to have access to the internet, computers/laptops, and phones needed to perform their duties. EMS IT can assist with laptop needs, but internet and phone access and associated costs are the responsibility of the employee. If an employee isn’t able to perform their duties from home, they will need to work in the office or take vacation time.
- IT has about 50 laptops available for loan. For staff who will be working remotely and do not have a suitable work laptop or home computer to perform their work, please contact email@example.com to arrange for a laptop. Note: this is a short-term loan, not a for long-term use.
- As desktop computers are scheduled for replacement, IT encourages replacement with laptops to enable staff to work remotely in future situations.
Minimum computer requirements for telecommuting
- For home computers, a modern version of Microsoft Windows is needed (10 preferred; version 8 may work) or Mac OS X (10.14 Mojave or better). Other operating systems and computers may be workable but could pose security risks if out-of-date or may not provide a stable environment.
Remote desktop capability is needed to work with mainframe applications and a few others. This requires authorization; please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request this access. You will connect to your desktop so will need to know the computer's network name. IT can help you find this information (just ask). Instructions for remote desktop can be found here: https://it.ems.psu.edu/node/734. Note there are two cases:
- If your computer is on the EMSWIN (college) domain, follow the first set of instructions in "Windows Remote Desktop Connection Instructions."
- If your computer has been migrated to the new Enterprise Active Directory (EAD) follow the second set of instructions in "EAD Windows Remote Desktop Connection Instructions.”
If you aren't sure which case applies, just ask.
Employees will need high-speed Internet access at home to take advantage of either of these options. Cellular modems or a cellphone operating as a hotspot may be a good alternative for the next few weeks. Note: It is the employee's responsibility to provide Internet.
Cleaning Guidelines - Computer and Related Products
- Guidance provided for the personal care and disinfecting of sensitive electronics, computers, and related products.
IT staff will be physically present but in a reduced capacity. IT will be following a call/email contact protocol and will not be accepting walk-in visits at 246 Deike. We IT will be performing as much work as possible with TeamViewer and other remote assistance tools to limit exposure. Contact information:
Cleaning computer equipment
- Please consider regular cleaning of workstation surfaces, especially keyboards and mice. High-concentration alcohol is best if you have it, otherwise bleach or other anti-viral cleaners are good. When cleaning mice and keyboards consider first unplugging the device and avoid using an excessive amount of fluid. You might clean at the end of each day and allow the device to dry overnight before reconnecting in the morning.
- As a reminder, the college operates a network firewall between computers in the college and the rest of the University networks. While some computer resources are available through this firewall, others require the use of the college's VPN service. Information about the EMS VPN service can be found at https://it.ems.psu.edu/node/357 .
- Duo two-factor authentication is required to use the VPN service. Be sure to have a device enrolled in Duo that you will have with you when connecting remotely. Duo enrollments are managed from https://accounts.psu.edu .
If you regularly use the resources below in your teaching, research, or administrative duties please verify you are able to connect to the VPN service from an off-campus location and are able to access the needed resources. Note the list is not exclusive so it would be good to test your typical workflows. Contact email@example.com if you have any trouble with the test connection, or firstname.lastname@example.org if you find a needed resource isn't available without the VPN.
The VPN service uses a shared pool of addresses. While this pool is large, it isn't infinite. In the event that we have a University-wide need to telecommute, please be sure to disconnect from the VPN when you are not actively using the service.
Resources which require the EMS VPN
- Remote Desktop
- MATLAB and other license servers
- Network drives
Resources which do not require the EMS VPN
- Office 365 suite (Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, etc.)
- Google suite
- FTP Secure Shell (SSH) to login hosts such as laurasia.ems.psu.edu and idocrase.geosc.psu.edu