'Back to State:' How Penn State Plans to Reopen Campus

Mark Wogenrich

Penn State announced plans to reopen its campuses Aug. 24, welcoming back the majority of students after a five-month absence. And those students will be asked to sign a pledge promising they will adhere to public health guidelines both on- and off-campus.

Penn State's new 2020 academic calendar looks promising for football. The on-campus portion of fall semester is scheduled to end Nov. 20 as a precaution against another wave of COVID-19 infections later this year. Penn State is scheduled to play two football games after that, including its home finale Nov. 21 against Maryland.

In its announcement, Penn State covered significant ground regarding testing and contract-tracing to identify and mitigate viral spread. Class sizes will be limited, with classes larger than 250 students continuing to be held online. Penn State will offer a mix of online and remote classes, the release said.

"The Penn State experience may look somewhat different this fall, but I am very much looking forward to seeing our campuses busy with students, faculty and staff once again," President Eric Barron said. "I know I speak for the leadership at each of our campuses when I say we are looking forward to welcoming our students back and greeting, for the first time, our new students.”

As other colleges and athletic departments are doing, Penn State will ask students to sign a pledge promising to adhere to public health guidelines. Distancing and face masks will be required during the fall semester, according to the announcement.

Penn State's plan offers a positive sign that sports will resume, though likely under restrictions. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour recently told season-ticket holders that she anticipates "a full of Penn State Athletics this fall."

Earlier this spring, Barbour had said that football games at Beaver Stadium would be unlikely without students on campus.

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