RAGA Spring 2021 FAQs

Updated 1/26/2021

Quiet Period

Does Quiet Period apply to all residents?
Yes, the Quiet Period, or QP for short, applies to all residents, and does allow for limited, essential movement – activities like shopping for necessities and going to work are allowed. However, residents cannot have contact with the community beyond Penn’s campus – including other students who are living off campus – during the time from the date of their arrival through the remainder of the “Quiet Period.”

For more information on QP, got to https://www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/policies/what-to-expect.

How does the Quiet Period differ from regular student activity during the fall?
QP is meant to limit interpersonal interactions during a 10-14 day period as students are coming from different places with different rates of infection. Once the QP is over, students can interact more, and more campus spaces will be open.
What is the difference between "essential" and "non-essential" activities? Can we go to stores and pick up food at restaurants?
Allowable activities for on-campus students during the Quiet Period include:

  • Continuing research, lab, or clinical activities as approved by your schools
  • Engaging in outdoor exercise or recreation while wearing masks and keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Spending time outdoors with no more than 10 students (who also live on campus). Masks must continue to be worn and physical distance of at least 6 feet maintained.
  • Ordering contactless food delivery directly to residential buildings while wearing masks and keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Accessing grab-and-go dining from designated Dining facilities while wearing masks and keeping physical distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Going to University testing sites
  • Receiving care and support from Wellness Services
  • Working on your roommate/suitemate agreement, pod agreements, and quarantine plans in case you are exposed
  • Gathering indoors with people outside of those you live with is strictly prohibited by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Yes, this includes seeing intimate partners if they do not live with you. You can check here for updates.
How are we supposed to enforce the Quiet Period policies? Is there an accountability framework?
Similar to the quiet hours policy, RAGAs should address any concerns they observe and document. The House Director will follow up with the student to review the campus compact and community expectations.
Who are our residents allowed to be around during Quiet Period? Can students who share a bathroom meet in their rooms?
  • During QP, students are allowed to be outside, physically distanced from each other and wearing masks.
  • No, students should not be allowing anyone into their room – during QP or after QP ends.
What are the rules about face coverings during the Quiet Period?
Residents should wear a face covering at all times when interacting with others outside private space.

COVID Conduct Policies

What are the rules about gathering indoors?
At this time no indoor gatherings are allowed, in compliance with City and State public health guidelines.
What are the rules about gathering outdoors?
Individuals can gather outside in groupings of no more than 10 persons as long as physical distancing and proper face covering is being adhered to.
What is the significance of having a red OpenPass?
Users who report symptoms or recent contact with someone who may have COVID-19 get a Red Pass. This means you are “not cleared” for the day. Users who receive a Red Pass will be asked to answer additional questions which allow follow up to be tailored to their individual needs. It is important to read the instructions provided on your Red Pass carefully and follow them right away. Our goal is to get things back to normal quickly, for you and the rest of the Penn community.

  • Self-isolate in your room and do not go to class or work in-person.
  • Stay home, wear a face covering, and avoid contact with others, including your pod and the rest of your Housemates.
  • Submit a Course Absence Report (CAR) to let faculty know about your absence from class. Contact your House Director to let them know that you need to self-isolate due to a red pass.
  • Those with a red pass due to exposure or positive result will be contacted by Campus Health. If you need public health guidance or have questions on the guidance you have been given, call Campus Health at 215-898-0300. If you have questions about any symptoms you may have, you can call Student Health at 215-746-3535.  

For more information, go to https://pennopen.med.upenn.edu/faq.

Will Rooftop Lounges, small lounges, and Music Practice rooms reopen?
We will follow the guidelines set forth by the city and state. Under present guidelines, these spaces will remain closed.
If our Music Practice Room is also our floor lounge, will we get access for grab-and-gos?
No. Your House will need to identify a different location for grab-n-gos.
What is the bathroom cleaning schedule? What should I do if my bathroom hasn’t been cleaned recently?
  • Each bathroom has a sign that provides the cleaning schedule.
  • If you have an emergency and must use a facility, you can use the public restroom in your House.


What are the testing requirements? How will Penn enforce them?
Please refer to https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/content/students-spring-2020-2021-covid-19-testing-approach for complete information on testing and the PennCares program.
How do I sign up for my testing?
Go to https://coronavirus.upenn.edu and click on the box labeled “Schedule my Covid-19 test” to schedule.
What happens if one of my residents tests positive?
Students who test positive will move to Sansom West, the self-isolation facility. We ask you to follow up with your student to check in on how they are doing throughout the isolation period.
What will happen if there is a large outbreak in the Houses?
We will follow the guidance given by Wellness and PennMedicine on the proper action.

Residential Pods

What are the Residential Pods and what are they for?
  • After the quiet period, we'll continue limiting the number of people we are having close contact with by forming residential pods — a "bubble" or "pod" of people you can interact with in your House, while observing basic precautions like six-foot distancing and wearing face coverings as much as possible. With this policy, College Houses & Academic Services follows the health guidance and rules set forth by Wellness at Penn(link is external). In the College Houses, your residential pod is primarily defined by those people with whom you share a bathroom.
  • For more information visit https://www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/policies/what-to-expect.
When do the Residential Pods policies come into effect?
Residential Pods will come into effect once the Quiet Period has ended on February 1, 2021.
Do RAGAs have a Pod? If I have my own bathroom, will I belong to a Pod?
  • RAGAs assigned a bathroom have a pod with residents assigned to that same bathroom.
  • If you have your own bathroom you do not have a pod.
Can people in the same pod hang out in each others' rooms? Can pods of 3 or more come down in the same elevator?
  • No, pod members are not allowed to hang out in each others’ rooms.
  • The instructions posted in College Houses, including elevator policies and any other COVID guidance must be followed, even by Podmates.


Is there any information available from the University about our access to the COVID vaccine?
  • This is a fluid situation that will likely evolve very quickly. Once more information is available, it will be communicated to the University community. The University remains steadfast in its dedication to the welfare of its community. As soon as vaccine doses are made available, we will mobilize quickly to make them available.
  • Additional information can be found at https://www.pennmedicine.org/coronavirus/vaccine/vaccine-faqs.
I hear Temple's TAs have received their vaccinations. Why haven't we?
It is too early for the University to commit to any timeline for the vaccination of its students, faculty or staff; the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, who manages vaccine allotments for Philadelphia, is currently prioritizing the vaccination of health care workers and essential workers as per CDC guidelines.

RAGA Positions/Services

I thought I was going to be OK with this but I'm having second thoughts. What should I do? Would resigning this spring keep me from coming back next year as a RAGA?
Reach out to your House Director to discuss options and your concerns. No one who resigns is restricted from re-applying for the following year. Understand though that no positions are guaranteed and the availability of positions varies year to year.
Will RAGAs be receiving any PPE aside from the cloth masks we already received?
Masks, gloves, and wipes are provided in your House office. If you would like an additional supply, reach out to your House Director.
Were unused dining swipes from last semester transferred to the spring semester?
Yes, any unused dining swipes transfer into spring semester.

Please know the CHAS staff and faculty are here for you and are wrestling with the same questions and unknowns you have. Penn's RA and GA staff are routinely the best and most talented staff on campus, and together we will get through this. If you have any questions, reach out to any of us. Take care and be safe.