What to Expect in the College Houses

What's a Quiet Period? 

When students return to Penn's campus in spring 2021, we'll be taking special precautions to minimize the likelihood of large COVID outbreaks on campus. The period from January 10th through January 31 will be considered a quiet period.  During the quiet period, the University is asking students to remain apart from other students and minimize interpersonal contact.

Penn students living on campus who test negative at their Gateway/Day of Arrival test will be able to leave their campus residence for limited, essential movement. However, they 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.” 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.

What's a Pod?

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. In the College Houses, your residential pod is primarily defined by those people with whom you share a bathroom.

  • For residents with communal bathrooms located in the hallways (Hill, KCECH, Quad, and Stouffer), your pod includes up to six individuals who are assigned to the same bathroom as you.
  • For residents in apartments or suites (Harnwell, Harrison, Rodin, Lauder, Mayer and Du Bois), your pod includes up to six individuals who use the bathroom in your suite.
  • Residents living in single apartments are not included in a pod.

A pod should agree to:

  • Maintain a 6-foot physical distance from any individuals not in this pod, and to wear face coverings when interacting with others and when physical distance cannot be maintained.
  • Wear face coverings in all indoor spaces other than those where permission to go without a face covering has been explicitly given (for example, student rooms and pod lounges).
  • Continue to practice recommended hand hygiene and avoid sharing utensils and drinks with anyone, including the members of the pod.
  • Have open and honest conversations about activities, behaviors, and expectations of one another.

By forming a pod, you share a responsibility for each other’s safety, along with the safety of our greater Penn community, and agree to hold yourselves and each other accountable to this agreement.


Getting Help in the Houses



Residents in the College Houses will have the same access to assistance that they have any other time, with just a few adjustments for COVID safety. 

A great place to start is with your RA or GA.  Additionally, your House Director (previously known as your House Dean) and House Coordinator remain available for assistance at the House Office, which will remain open as a resource from 9am-5pm on weekdays. If you visit in person, remember your 3Ws — Watch your 6' distance, Wear a face covering, and Wash your hands!

On weekends and evenings, and when the University is closed, there's always a RAGA on-call to help.  Visit or call your House's information center/front desk and ask to be contacted by the RAGA on-duty.  And if you experience an emergency, Penn's Department of Public Safety is always available at (215) 573-3333.


Behavioral Expectations & the Conduct Process



Each College House has a community of students, faculty and staff living in it, and living together means working together for everyone's health and safety. Observing the Penn Student Campus Compact will be vitally important for keeping each other safe during what we hope is the last stage of this global pandemic.  Additionally, you should be aware of the following expectations for people living in the College Houses:

  • Remember the three Ws: Watch your six-foot distance from other people, wear a face covering in public at all times, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water. 
  • Students will not be allowed to have guests or visitors in their room. This rule applies to family members as well.
  • Many of the Houses' communal spaces will be closed.  Spaces essential to living will be open, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and computer labs.  Please consult your RAGA or your House Director or Coordinator to find out what spaces are available.
  • Use only your assigned bathroom to limit potential viral spread.
  • Housemates should hold each other accountable for observing these precautions in a respectful way.

Education is key to keeping our House communities safe and healthy this spring, so you'll be having conversations on your floor with your RAGA and the rest of the community to ensure that everyone is on the same page with regards to our public health. If compliance with any of these policies is ignored, your House Director, a CHAS Director, or even the Student Campus Compact Panel might become involved in the behavior and conduct process.


Technology Assistance



The College House Technology team will provide assistance with computers, devices, and the services such as AirPennNet that connect you to the internet.  If you need technology assistance, the quickest way to get the help you need is by visiting support.collegehouses.upenn.edu.

Your College House computer lab will be closed during the quiet period; if you do not have access to a computer of your own, College House Technology has an equipment loan program.  Visit www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/laptop to find out more.

Download the "Get Started Spring 2021" tipsheet PDF

Additional Resources

Checking in with PennOpen Pass is required for building entry across campus. Be sure to enroll and complete the daily symptom check to receive your Pass every day. For more information about PennOpen Pass, see pennopen.med.upenn.edu.

For questions about dining options on campus during the spring semester, see https://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/dining/coronavirus-information. You can also download this helpful guide to Dining requirementsPDF 

For more information about room assignments and building operations, visit Residential Services at https://residential-services.business-services.upenn.edu/spring-2021.

For more information about the University's Quiet Period policies, visit https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/content/quiet-period.

For more information about the University's Pod policies, visit https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/content/pods.