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August 11, 2020

Penn shifts to virtual classes for fall semester, slashes tuition

COVID-19 crisis prompts move from hybrid instruction model

Education Penn
penn students online school Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The University of Pennsylvania will conduct classes entirely online this fall due to the COVID-19 crisis. Students will not be permitted to live on campus, with limited exceptions.

The University of Pennsylvania is instructing most undergraduate students to remain home this fall, dropping its plans for a hybrid learning model. 

The first semester of the 2020-21 academic year will be held mostly online due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Penn officials announced Tuesday. With the exception of some international students and others with "significant housing or personal hardship," students will not be permitted to live on campus. 

The announcement does not pertain to graduate schools, which will make their own learning plans.

The shift from in-person learning was prompted by a national increase in COVID-19 cases, testing delays and recommendations that many out-of-state students complete 14-day quarantines upon arrival, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett said in a joint statement. 

Some limited in-person instruction, including clinical requirements for nursing students, will go forward as planned. 

Penn also will cut fall tuition by 3.9%, reverting to last year's rate. The general fee – an approximately $5,000 cost that is separate from Penn's annual $55,000 tuition – will be slashed by 10%.

All housing and dining fees will be credited or refunded in full

About 4,000 freshman, sophomore and transfer students were promised on-campus housing for the upcoming school year. They planned to live in dorms that typically housed about 5,500 students prior to COVID-19.

Students who had secured housing by Tuesday will have on-campus housing guaranteed for the spring semester. Any student who was still seeking one of the limited housing options available must re-apply by Aug. 17. An application will become available Tuesday night.

All classes will take place under similar circumstances to last spring, when students were sent home due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

Penn students will have the option to take pass/fail classes if they register for the option by Oct. 30. 

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