​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Coronavirus Update
ADVISORY: Monitor communications from your home university
for the most up-to-date information you need.

 UPDATE 5/19/2020

​Dear Friends:

First to our recent graduates, and on behalf of the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, allow me to say congratulations on obtaining your degree!  Even though in-person ceremonies could not occur this semester, I pictured seeing you as it might have been under normal circumstances—wearing your robes, tassels, and mortar boards, with your proud families there cheering you on. The Chancellor and I—along with other members of the Board—always relish commencement as a highlight of the year, and we can't express how sorry we are that this important life event could not take place as planned. Nevertheless, we know that you will continue to achieve greatness as you write the next chapters of your lives.  

To our other students, our faculty, and our staff, allow me to express our most sincere gratitude for the patience, perseverance, and determination that all of you embodied this past semester in the face of an extraordinary situation due to COVID-19. You have come together to stand against the odds and to demonstrate what it means to be part of the State System family. It means that even when the obstacles are high and the road is long, you find a way and move forward.  We are right here with you and always will be.
We honor each and every one of our graduates along with the rest of the State System family that helped them achieve their goals. Congratulations and many thanks to everyone!  
Cynthia D. Shapira
Chairperson, Board of Governors
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education​

 UPDATE 3/25/2020

Dear State System Family:
This week, about two-thirds of our universities are providing all of their classes through some form of remote instruction, and the rest will join them next Monday. In fact, the vast majority of colleges and universities across the country are doing the same. As a long-time educator and higher education policy wonk, the sheer magnitude of creativity, flexibility, and effort it has taken to accomplish this in a matter of just weeks is nothing short of Herculean. The faculty, staff, and university leaders all across our 14 State System universities have come together to make this happen so that we can help safeguard the health of our communities, our Commonwealth, our nation and the world in the fight against coronavirus/COVID-19. This is what it means to be a System. 

During this “new normal,” it is important that we have patience with each other, with our technology, and with those who help keep it running—all of whom are doing their best to make an impossible situation a little more tolerable. 

    • Students: Please work closely with your faculty members, and be patient as they navigate this process to help you achieve your learning objectives and finish the semester successfully.
    • Faculty and Staff: Remember that our students are under pressure any given semester, and this one has brought an all-time new level of intensity. Please be patient and flexible as they work through these remaining weeks.
    • Parents, Alumni, Donors, and Community leaders: Thank you in advance for providing an extra level of support during this time. Knowing that you are there to encourage and sustain our students, faculty, and staff is more meaningful than you’ll ever imagine. 

We are working with our 14 State System universities to ensure all students are able to complete the semester successfully. We thank you for your patience and engagement during these challenging times. Continue to be safe and follow the directions of the PA Department of Health​.

We are all in this together—for now from a distance.

All my best,
Dan Greenstein

 UPDATE 3/19/2020

Dear State System Family:
As Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world respond to the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, our universities are doing the same. We are focused on helping our students complete the semester successfully while keeping everyone safe. We have come together as never before and have rallied the will, the strength, and the collective intelligence from across the State System to tackle challenges—both big and small.  
As a result, all 14 universities remain operational. In a short span of time, they have moved (or are moving) instruction, advising, counselling, etc. to remote (non-face-to-face) modalities. And they are working to protect our communities by instituting measures to impede the transmission of coronavirus—issues related to the use of student housing, dining services, healthcare, athletics, travel, and group gatherings. 
These efforts, and so many more, demonstrate the skill, agility, and dedication of our people all across the State System—showing how we can unite behind a common cause. To our faculty and staff, we are so grateful to you for everything you are doing for our students during these challenging times. And to our leadership at the universities and at the System office, we deeply appreciate your tireless efforts to see us through to the other side of this challenge.  
To our students, we say thank you for your patience with all of these transitions. You didn’t plan to have your semester follow this path, but you are showing amazing resilience as you stay focused on finishing successfully. 
We encourage everyone to continue monitoring communications from their home university, which is the best source of up-to-date information about institutional operations. We still have more work to do and—no doubt—more hurdles to jump before this is over. But, we are resolved to do this together, as one State System family.  
Thank you, 
Cindy Shapira 
Chair, Board of Governors 


 UPDATE 3/16/2020

Dear State System Family:
Today we announced additional measures to further our commitment to the safety of everyone in the State System family. 
The measures include:
  • Effective immediately, undergraduate and graduate students in experiential learning sites, including professional placements, practica, internships, research internships, and clinical rotations should not report to on-site placements until face-to-face classes resume. This restriction applies until April 6 at the earliest. Students’ faculty, internship/clinical/practica supervisors will communicate guidance, as necessary, and provide alternate learning experiences for students in these types of classes.
  •  The Office of the Chancellor has converted to remote working for most employees. As such, the Dixon University Center and the Vartan Way location in Harrisburg are closed to the public; all conferences, classes, and other events scheduled for the next two weeks have been postponed.
  • The Board of Governors meeting scheduled for April 1-2 has been postponed. A new date will be announced at a later time.
For our students and employees across the State System, their best source of information is their own university, which has the most up-to-date details about class and campus operations, housing, and all university activities. Information changes rapidly, so I encourage everyone to monitor their own university's announcements closely.​
Best regards,
Dan Greenstein

 UPDATE 3/13/2020

​Dear State System Family:
The Governor has announced that all K-12 schools in PA will close starting Monday, March 16 through March 29, in order to limit social interactions to help control the spread of the coronavirus. In keeping with that strategy, and in the interest of the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, I am directing that no in-person instruction occur at our 14 universities during that same two-week period.
We encourage students, faculty, and staff to be in contact with their home universities–their best source of direct information.
In the days and weeks ahead, it's important for us to come together, exercise patience, and collaborate with one another as we confront our collective challenges. This is going to take everybody doing their part for the sake of our students.​
Best regards,
Dan Greenstein

 UPDATE 3/11/2020

​Dear State System Family:
As we all work to mitigate the potential impact of the Coronavirus, we have been coordinating with our universities to ensure a constant flow of communication. We are in daily contact with the university presidents and leaders as we focus on ensuring students can finish the semester successfully all while safeguarding everyone’s health, safety, and welfare.   
    • We are constantly monitoring guidance from the CDC and other federal sources, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education to ensure any actions we take comply with such guidance and take advantage of resources being made available. 
    • We have reviewed and are updating continuity of operations plans as needed; each university has a point-person for emergency preparedness who is engaged for circumstances such as these.
    • Universities are monitoring student, staff, and faculty activities and travel (including study abroad)—curtailing such activities and travel where it makes sense in the interest of the health and safety of our communities. 
    • Universities are taking actions that best serve their local circumstances, such as delaying the return of students from spring break to allow time for preparations to ensure our students can complete the semester regardless of what may evolve from the current circumstances.
    • We are converting system-level meetings to ZOOM/phone meetings so that our university leaders can stay on campus to attend to the needs of their students, faculty, and staff.
Our university presidents and their teams are doing amazing work with faculty and staff leaders to meet the needs of our students. I am impressed with everyone’s level of commitment to our mission—to our students’ success—as we work through this current public health challenge. 
Every university is unique, and our university leaders are making the decisions that are in the best interest of their students, which is exactly what I need them to do. At the same time, we are leveraging the collective intelligence of all 14 universities to help each other. I encourage everyone to have patience as we work through contingency plans, and I encourage you to stay in close contact with your home university, which is the best source of guidance and information. 
We’ve been here before (H1N1, SARS, etc.), and we will likely be here again, and we will get through this together. 
Best regards,
Dan Greenstein

 UPDATE 3/6/2020

​Dear State System Family:
While it is too early to know the full impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will have here in the United States, we are cognizant that our universities have a global reach. We have students, faculty, and staff who visit other countries as part of their studies, their research, and their work. Also, some are from and/or have family in countries that are being affected by the virus.
Please know that our universities are working closely with the Office of the Chancellor to ensure a flow of communication regarding the matter. We are monitoring advisories from the Centers for Disease Control, among other federal agencies, and are liaising with state government—including the PA Department of Health—to convey pertinent information to/from our universities as needed. 
Our university presidents meet weekly with the chancellor, and our universities are assessing study abroad programs, international travel, international student recruitment, campus housing/dining, health services, and other operational areas that may be impacted in the short- or long-term. 
The health, safety, and welfare of students, faculty, staff and everyone in the State System community is our top priority, and every decision is being made with that priority front-and-center. Because each university is unique, there is no single “one-size-fits-all” response to matters like this. As such, it is important that you heed the information provided by your university. 
Thank you.
Dan Greenstein
Cindy Shapira
Chair, Board of Governors