Continuity of Operations planning information for the College of Education: Click here

Messages for graduate students from Dean Lawless

July  6, 2020

Dear College of Education students,

We wanted to reach out to share additional information and updates about your Fall courses. We are dedicated to having the courses you need to make academic progress available to you. We are pursuing numerous options to support your learning. Many of our courses will be offered in formats that will allow you time in person with your instructors and your peers.

Right now, things are in flux and should you log into LionPath the delivery format for your classes for fall may not be clear. When you view the schedule of courses it may say Zoom or web. However, this may not be accurate. It is important that you click into the course to see the current course delivery mode.

Course delivery modes will evolve over the next couple of weeks. This is because some courses will be offered in alternative formats and also because most classes will need to be moved to larger rooms to accommodate social distancing. This is also shared in a recent Penn State news article.

There are four primary modes for how your courses will be offered this fall as shared in the infographic found below.
In LionPath
In-Person instruction =CP
Mixed Mode =CM
Remote Synchonous = CR
Remote Asynchonous =CW

These formats will soon begin to appear in LionPath but may change during the summer as plans are finalized. It will be important for you to keep checking LionPath. Instructors will also be updating information about your classes in your CANVAS course sites.

Please also look in LionPath for a one question survey about your plans for Fall attendance.

Additional updates can be found at Back to State and the Keep Learning websites.

We are looking forward to an engaging Fall Semester in the College of Education. Communication with your advisors and instructors will be critical as course formats are finalized. They can help you to match course offerings to your preferred formats.


Dean Lawless

June 19, 2020

Members of the College of Education student community,

I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that our College is working diligently to develop plans for the fall that are in line with the broad outline provided by President Barron in his announcement of our return to campus this fall. 

But before I delve into that, I want to take a moment to reflect on diversity- and equity-related happenings.

First, today is Juneteenth. Last year, Pennsylvania finally designated today as Juneteenth National Freedom Day. If you aren't sure what this holiday means, I encourage you to read the statement from President Barron, follow the link above to Juneteenth National Freedom Day, and read academic-based articles such as The Hidden History of Juneteenth for historical context. The University's Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity also sent out an email, available online, about the history of Juneteenth and local Juneteenth events that continue through this evening. 

Second, our Supreme Court issued two decisions this week that emphasize human rights for minoritized groups of people. On June 15, the Court declared that civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. Then on Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's attempt to dismantle the DACA program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. The 5 to 4 decision was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and emphasizes that the administration failed to provide an adequate reason to justify ending the DACA program and lacked a sound legal basis to do so.

I see these and other recent decisions as glimmers of hope, that we finally may be moving in the right direction as a nation toward true equality. It's up to us, as individuals and as a community, to keep the momentum moving in that very positive direction.

Turning to the business of returning to campus, the University's "Back to State" plans call for flexibility, and a mix of in-person, remote and hybrid delivery of courses based on class size and the ability to meet safely with social distancing protocols. Each college has been charged with determining what that will look like for them. Once we have a better idea of which courses we are likely to be able to hold in-person and which may be better as hybrid or online, we will hold a town hall to answer your questions, and also to gather your input, which will assist us in refining our plans. In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to attend President Barron's town hall for students and families from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 22. Tune in at and submit your questions in advance anonymously via an online Google form for students and families

Please continue to check the Back to State website for the latest information from the University, and check our College FAQ for information specific to our College. As always, if you have any questions, please email

Thanks for your patience as we work to get this right.

Dean Lawless

May 24, 2020

Members of the College of Education student community,

Summer classes are now in full swing, with both Maymester and the first summer session underway. While we are not in physical classrooms, it still is great to see students and faculty meeting, with lots of meaningful educational interactions taking place. We are working to meet you where you are, and keep a positive trajectory on your learning and instructional needs, and I'm proud to see how hard you all are working to make this happen as well.

This summer, faculty are working to make their online courses engaging and rich in both content and experience. Staff are working to support your learning needs, wherever you are. Advisers are holding one-on-one remote counseling sessions to make sure you are taking the right courses to further your educational goals. And whenever we return to campus, we will be ready to welcome everyone back to our buildings, safely.

There are a few additional updates from Vice Provost Kathy Bieschke's office:

  • The recently launched “Back to State” website focuses on the University’s fall 2020 planning efforts and provides an abundance of information and hyperlinked resources for students, faculty, and staff.
  • REMINDER: Penn State is canceling, rescheduling, or moving to virtual delivery all nonessential events and meetings through at least June 30 at all university campuses. Any essential in-person meetings or events must have fewer than 10 attendees and maintain good social distancing practices, with all participants wearing face masks.

Remember, there are no classes this Monday, May 25, for the Memorial Day holiday. I hope you are able to have a relaxing long weekend.

Be safe and well.

Dean Lawless

May 10, 2020

Members of the College of Education student community,

I hope you all got a chance to tune into the University's conferral of degrees livestream on Saturday. From my perspective, it's clear that University leadership worked hard to create a meaningful program to honor our graduating students.

This is a screen capture of members of the Penn State Blue Band performing the Alma Mater - each in his or her own location, brought together via Zoom.You may even have caught a glimpse of one of our College's secondary education graduates, Luke Darrup, playing his saxophone with the Blue Band at the end of the ceremony. He's in the top row, second from the left, in the attached screen capture. If you missed the ceremony or want to view it again, you can go to to find a link to the recorded version, which will be posted once it's processed.

You also can go to to view sharable digital slides for each graduate, and to view the special videos we produced to honor our students.

Other updates from the University include:

  • President Barron will host a virtual Town Hall at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19, to answer questions about how Penn State continues to manage the pandemic’s impacts, including workforce changes, plans for summer, and the work of three new task groups.
  • On May 6, Penn State Student Affairs began hosting virtual office hours to answer students’ questions and address concerns they may have during the remote-learning period.
  • Penn State officials and student leaders discouraged visits to campus due to COVID-19, with more signs and social-distancing guidance posted near campus landmarks.
  • As the pandemic places many Penn State students and their families under economic pressure, the Complete Penn State program is extending financial lifelines to seniors.

To obtain comprehensive, updated information at any time, visit:

Dean Lawless

May 1, 2020

Members of the College of Education student community,

Today is a day to celebrate, because we made it to the end of the semester. I know it wasn't easy for anyone to transition mid-semester to remote learning, but thanks to all of you, we made it work. As we head into finals week, I want to thank you all for your perseverance, adaptability and flexibility during these past seven weeks. Your resilience, creativity and willingness to do what was needed to succeed has enabled us as a College to overcome what seemed to be insurmountable odds. I am proud to be your dean.

Just a short time ago, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced the start of the process to reopen the state, and Centre County is among the first 24 counties slated to move from the red phase to the yellow phase, on May 8. The governor's announcement means that "some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place."

Anticipating this very positive development, the University this week announced a transition to future-focused planning with the formation of three task groups focusing on critical areas impacting students, faculty and staff. The groups are working together to establish the necessary infrastructure and processes, consistent with public health and scientific guidelines, to uphold health and inform a plan for students, faculty and staff to return to campus.

In that news story, President Barron said, "At this time, the University remains optimistic for a fall return to on-campus learning in line with the latest directives and guidelines from the governor and other government and public health authorities. We will continue to keep the University and local community informed and plan to provide additional updates and information by June 15, if not earlier."

Our College also has formed working groups to help with the transition and we will keep you informed about our plans through both email and our College's FAQ.

In just 8 days from today, the University will be holding a virtual commencement. While we aren't able to congratulate our graduates in person at this time, the University-wide virtual celebration will be followed by breakout rooms where each college and campus will be honoring its graduating students. I hope all of you – whether you're graduating or not – will take the opportunity to visit our College of Education virtual graduation site to see what we've put together to honor our graduates. Information about how to access the site will be announced on Penn State Live soon.

In other news from the University:

As a reminder, the University's information website and our College's FAQ continue to be updated regularly. Please check both sites for the most accurate information.

The weather this weekend is supposed to be beautiful. I hope you are able to take some time to go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Dean Kim Lawless

April 26, 2020

Members of the College of Education student community,

As the end of the semester draws near, I know stress levels start to climb under normal circumstances. In these most unusual circumstances, stress levels already are increased. Please, make sure you are caring for yourselves. I know you've heard this from me in previous emails, but I cannot emphasize it enough – you need to care for yourself, first and foremost. If you are struggling, please talk to your faculty members or your adviser and let them know now, so we can do our best to help you succeed.

If you need counseling, know that Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at University Park is open for services. Students can receive services by calling CAPS at 814-863-0395 to schedule a phone appointment to discuss their concerns and review treatment options. If you have immediate urgent concerns, you can contact CAPS Monday through Friday (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT); the Penn State Crisis Line 24/7 at 877-229-6400; or the 24/7 CrisisTextLine (Text “LIONS” to 741741). Stay safe, but also stay a community.

There has been a lot of news recently, so I also want to give you some brief updates:

  • President Barron’s message to the University community on April 23 announced some salary adjustments, a 3% across-the-board cut to budgets in the next fiscal year, and his intention to work with the Board of Trustees to freeze student tuition rates for the 2020-21 academic year. 

To obtain comprehensive, updated information at any time, visit:

I also want to once again reassure you that I firmly believe we as a College will emerge from this crisis more creative and agile than before, and that Penn State will continue to evolve as one of the world's great institutions of higher education. I thank you all again for all you are doing, for each other, for the College, and for Penn State.


Dean Kim Lawless

April 14, 2020

Members of the College of Education graduate student community,

I hope you all got a chance to take some down-time this weekend to recharge and refresh, while maintaining social distancing. This time of year is stressful under normal conditions as we approach the final few weeks of classes before the end of the semester. This year, the current remote learning environment and physical distancing has amplified the typical stress. Know that we are here for you and understand that things are not normal. Please be sure to communicate regularly with your advisors and faculty members to let them know how you are doing. If you are struggling, please don't wait until the end of the semester; say something now, so we can do our best to help you succeed.

The College leadership team is looking forward to hearing from you at our graduate student town hall, scheduled for 3-3:45 p.m. this Friday, April 17. Connect via Zoom. Feel free to email your questions in advance to so we can make sure we have good information to share with you during the town hall.

I have some important updates for you today:

  • In case you missed it in this morning's edition of Penn State Today: Penn State has announced updates to the Penn State Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) regarding testing and treatment amid the coronavirus pandemic. Students and their dependents covered through the SHIP who live within or outside of the United States will have no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for treatments or testing related to COVID-19. Read the full story on Penn State News.
  • In addition to the virtual commencement ceremony the University is planning for May 9, we also are planning something specific to our College. Your suggestions for how to honor our graduating seniors and graduate students are definitely welcome. Send your ideas to as soon as possible.
  • Many of you are inquiring about summer sessions and camps. Central administration has said that information will be shared with the Penn State community later this week.
  • The University has launched WebLabs, which provides faculty and students with remote access to software and other resources they normally use in campus computer labs. For details, check the College's FAQ under the heading of Information about teaching and learning.

Learning what you need to be successful will help us to better identify solutions and guidance that can help you – and your classmates – so please keep the lines of communication open. I look forward to a packed town hall on Friday.

And as always, take care of yourselves both physically and mentally. Take breaks, realize how amazing you are and how much we miss you!

Dean Kim Lawless

April 9, 2020

Members of the College of Education graduate student community,

We're nearing the end of our fourth week of remote learning, and I want to know how you are doing, both inside and outside of class. I know many of you have been communicating with your faculty members and advisers, and that's important. Please, keep those lines of communication open.

In addition, our College leadership team wants to hear from you directly, so we're holding a town hall specifically for graduate students via Zoom from 3 to 3:45 p.m. next Friday, April 17. We want to know what's working for you, what we can do to better support and assist you, and what questions you have that we haven't addressed in our FAQ.

Feel free to email your questions in advance to so we can make sure we have good information to share with you during the town hall.

In the meantime, I cannot stress enough the importance of self-care. Please, while we are physically isolated, do not become socially isolated. Reach out to people, including your faculty members and advisers, for support, co-problem solving or anything else that comes to mind.

If you need counseling, know that Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at University Park is open for services. Students can receive services by calling CAPS at 814-863-0395 to schedule a phone appointment to discuss their concerns and review treatment options. If you have immediate urgent concerns, you can contact CAPS Monday through Friday (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT); the Penn State Crisis Line 24/7 at 877-229-6400; or the 24/7 CrisisTextLine (Text “LIONS” to 741741). Stay safe, but also stay a community.

Dean Kim Lawless

March 28, 2020

Members of the College of Education community,

Earlier today, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced an expansion of his "stay-at-home" order to include Centre County. The order, which is intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, takes effect at 8 p.m. today (March 28) and continues until at least April 6.

The order means that all individuals must STAY AT HOME except for certain essential activities and work to provide life-sustaining business and government services.

Individuals may leave their residence ONLY to perform certain individual activities, including:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as getting food and household consumer products, pet food, and supplies necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. This includes volunteer efforts to distribute meals and other life-sustaining services to those in need.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing.
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business (see below for details about life-sustaining business activities).
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household.

Gov. Wolf's order specifies that "international students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt from this order and may remain in campus housing." Other exemptions to the order can be found here.

I want to emphasize that the health and safety of our community is at the forefront of this order, and I urge everyone to comply with both the letter and the spirit of this order from the governor. I also want to take the opportunity once again to express my deep appreciation and admiration for all of you and the work you have been doing to keep our educational mission at the forefront. Thank you all for all you are doing. Please, stay safe and stay well.

For the latest information about Penn State's response to the coronavirus, go to and for the latest information from the College of Education, visit our information website


March 25, 2020

Members of the College of Education student community,

I cannot say it enough, thank you for working so hard to adjust to remote learning mid-semester. To echo President Barron in the town hall, it is challenging to flip the switch and focus on remote education with only a week's notice. We are all hands on deck to make sure we are delivering to you the education you need, and we appreciate your flexibility and resilience in putting forth your best effort as well. In so many ways you are remarkable, as we go through this transition together.

There was a lot of information shared with students and parents in this afternoon's town hall, led by President Barron, Provost Jones and other members of the University leadership team. Below is some of the guidance that was provided. I want to emphasize that the town hall covered much more than these topics, and what I have included here are summaries of what was discussed. I strongly encourage you to visit where recordings of both that town hall, and this morning's town hall for faculty and staff, will be made available by the University.

  • Emotional support for students: CAPS is open remotely at 814-863-0395. In addition, CAPS offers wellness services online, 24/7. 
  • Academic support for students: Student advising is continuing, and many advisers are reaching out to their students. Students also should work to maintain that connection. Anyone in the College of Education with challenges in reaching their adviser should email Online tutoring is available through Penn State Learning and faculty are holding remote office hours.
  • Satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading: Taking many factors into consideration, Provost Jones and Yvonne Gaudelius, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, shared a plan for grading at the undergraduate level that is as fair and accommodating as possible. More information will be forthcoming from the University, but this plan, which was developed just today (March 24), will put control in the students' hands. They said faculty members will post the grades that students earn at the end of the semester. Students then will have about a week to determine whether they want to keep the letter grade, or switch to “Satisfactory” for a grade of C or better, or special grade designations for a D grade (passing) or a failing grade. Those designations will indicate that the grade was impacted by these extraordinary circumstances. Academic programs are working out the details for how this impacts entrance to major and other situations, and details should be forthcoming later this week. The Graduate School is working on guidance on this topic for graduate students and information will be forthcoming.
  • Financial support for students: The University has been fundraising to add money to the Student Care Advocacy Fund, which is set up to assist students with great need. Email for information on how to request aid.
  • Commencement: First and foremost, degrees will be awarded on time as soon as they are earned, particularly because of the implications this has on graduate school and employment for our graduates. The University also understands the importance of celebrating your achievements, and is working on a two-phase plan to do that. Phase one is to deliver a virtual commencement, with all of the typical pageantry of commencement, and with graduates' names displayed on the screen. Phase two is to gather, in person, on our campuses, at such time in the future as we are safely able to do so, to celebrate your achievement. This is yet to be defined because it depends on the evolution of the pandemic, and the University will share more information as it develops.
  • Reimbursement for tuition, fees, room and board: The University will be refunding on a prorated basis money from residence hall contracts and dining hall meal plans. There are no plans to refund tuition, because instruction is continuing and we as a university are committed to helping students with their successful completion of the semester. President Barron and Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, explained that fees fund student support services such as CAPS and Student Legal Services, which are continuing to operate and serve students remotely.
  • Final exams, projects, capstones, thesis deadlines: Final exams will be administered as scheduled to avoid conflicts and follow policies with the weight of exams during the final week of classes. Faculty will be reaching out to students about how their exams may change, and are committed to finding ways to assess remotely the learning that is taking place. The same holds true for projects and capstones – faculty are working on creative and innovative ways to meet the learning objectives, not in the way they thought at the beginning of the semester, but achieving them along paths that may be slightly different from the original path. Again, faculty will be in touch with their students with details. For thesis deadlines, Provost Jones said we need to follow our general principals of rigor, but also afford flexibility where it is needed or required. We need to maintain levels of accomplishment, but we are not engaging with the process in the same way as before spring break, so we need more flexibility and are looking to implement that.
  • Summer session, NSO, LEAP and fall semester: Provost Jones emphasized that we are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Right now we have a Plan A to proceed with summer session as normal, understanding that Plan B, which is a continuation of remote experiences is likely to be the reality. We will take what we are learning now, and apply that best thinking to what an alternative summer session might realistically look like. This applies also to New Student Orientation, which already has transitioned to a virtual process, along with LEAP and other summer programs.
  • Book rental return: Barnes and Noble will be emailing all students who have rental textbooks, with a prepaid mailing label attached to the email so students can return rental books at no cost to them. Unfortunately, since bookstores currently are closed statewide, there is no option to sell back purchased books.

For the latest information about Penn State's response to the coronavirus, go to and for the latest information from the College of Education, visit our information website

Again, thank you, and all my best,
Dean Lawless

March 18, 2020

Members of the College of Education community,

President Barron just released an update on the status of our spring semester here at Penn State. Our University is operating out of an abundance of caution and after consultation with the Board of Trustees has decided to continue remote learning and working through the end of the spring semester. In addition, examinations will be administered remotely, and spring commencement ceremonies will be postponed while the University explores options for celebrating the achievements of our students. These decisions align with recommendations from the federal government that call for restricting of all gatherings of more than 10 people.

The full announcement is available on Penn State News.

As we navigate these new and changing waters, our College leadership team is looking for ways to celebrate all that We Are and all that we have done during this unprecedented situation.

While there will be no in-person commencement ceremony, the University is committed to finding the best way possible to recognize the achievements of our graduates. We as a College also are looking at ways to celebrate our graduating seniors virtually. There are no plans in place yet, but we will share more information as plans develop.

We also are looking at ways to celebrate those among our students, faculty and staff who won our College-wide awards. Again, we will share more about this as plans develop.

I also want to take this moment to reiterate my deep appreciation and admiration for all of you and the work you have been doing to keep our educational mission at the forefront. While the situation is far from normal, you all have worked hard to normalize the current operations. Faculty have worked with students to make sure they can succeed in this new learning environment. Staff have set up home offices and have continued to do the work that's so important for the overall success of our College. Students have been flexible and are working hard to adapt their learning to this new environment. You all have made great sacrifices and adjustments, and for that, I truly am grateful. #WeAre!

As always, please check the University's information website and our College's information site for updated information. If you have any questions or concerns, please share them at


March 13, 2020

Members of the College of Education graduate student community,

There has been a lot of information to digest this week, so I wanted to take a few minutes to recap important items for you. This message deals more specifically with information for you. I am sending similar messages to undergraduate students, and to faculty and staff, with information that more specifically relates to them

On Monday, we are going live with remote instruction of all of our undergraduate and graduate courses. Our website includes many resources to help. The two main sources from the University are for faculty and graduate students who are new to teaching a remote class, and for undergraduate and graduate students who are new to attending a remote class.

I strongly encourage anyone involved with teaching a course to visit the site, as it contains valuable information that can help even those who are experienced in remote course delivery. Likewise, please visit the resource if you are taking any classes.

For those of you who are teaching, the synchronous nature of the remote instruction needs to be emphasized. Classes need to be run via Zoom during their regularly scheduled times due to issues related to student financial aid and technology bandwidth. Please also record your lectures and post to your Canvas sites so that students who are not able to attend "live" can access the material.

Still, regardless of how prepared we may think we are, there likely will be bumps encountered on Monday. Please, if you are experiencing any difficulties in delivering courses please reach out to your direct supervisor or department head as soon as possible so we can work to assist you. Anyone experiencing difficulty in attending a course remotely should contact their course instructor immediately as well.

Many graduate students have had questions about impacts to research. In response, the Office for Research Protections has set up two comprehensive websites to answer research-related queries. General COVID-19 information for Penn State researchers can be found here; COVID-19 information for research involving human subjects can be found here. The Penn State IRB, IACUC, Biosafety, ESCRO, Drone, Dive Safety, Research Misconduct, and Conflict of Interest programs are fully functional and operating at standard capacity. They expect this to continue even if the University suspends operations for contagion control purposes. Program staff are able to work from home, should it become necessary. Program and staff email addresses continue to be monitored with the same or greater frequency.

Another issue of concern to many is the delivery of program reviews and dissertation defenses. We do not have any definitive word from the Graduate School on this topic, but will share information on the College's information website as soon as we receive it.

As we move forward, I ask everyone to continue to operate with flexibility and understanding. By helping each other, we all will be better-positioned to succeed in carrying out our teaching and work responsibilities, which in the end benefits our students.

As we have discovered, things are changing quickly, both nationwide and here at home. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please visit the University's coronavirus information page and our College-specific information page often.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email

Kim Lawless

March 11, 2020

Members of the College of Education community,

A short time ago, President Eric Barron announced Penn State's proactive measures in an effort to prevent illness and continue the important work of the University. Penn State has announced that all classes will be held online beginning on March 16 and continuing through Friday, April 3. Visit to read the message from President Barron, and to learn more.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illness is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals may interact and transmit disease, and that is what these measures are intended to do. We are following University guidance, and while the campus remains open, we echo President Barron's recommendation that supervisors work with their staff to accommodate telecommuting for staff members whose responsibilities can be accomplished outside of a University office and/or traditional work schedule. Employees should talk to their supervisor to discuss their telecommuting options.

We in the College have been working diligently to ensure the least amount of disruption to the learning process and the conducting of the business of the College, including research, during this challenging time. Information about how to ensure your ability to do your work remotely can be found in a checklist for remote working capability linked from our continuity of operations planning website

The University's coronavirus information website FAQs have been updated and are more easily navigable by topic. We are working diligently to do the same for our College-specific information website, and hope to have the updated organization of information posted soon.

This situation is evolving daily, and information may change as emerging events warrant. I strongly encourage you to check the University's coronavirus information website often for University-wide updates, and to check our College information website for logistical information updates specific to our College.

We will continue to monitor regularly and make adjustments as needed with the well-being of our university community top of mind. Questions can be addressed to

Thank you for all of your efforts to promote a safe and healthy campus community.


Kim Lawless
Dean, College of Education
Penn State University

March 9, 2020

Members of the College of Education community,

I wanted to update you on the preparations and contingency planning our College is making related to the coronavirus threat. I plan to communicate with you weekly through our College listservs with updates. However, it's best to check our College website and the University's coronavirus information website daily for more immediate information updates.

We have convened a College task force that is meeting regularly including over spring break. This task force, which includes associate deans, department heads and unit directors, has been working on the following:

  • Information gathering. We are consolidating College-specific operations planning information and sharing it on our website so it comes from one source.
  • Event planning. We are looking at all events scheduled in the College through the summer, to determine whether or not they can proceed as planned, if they can be held virtually, or if they would need to be canceled if the University alters operations.
  • Loaner laptops. The College has a limited number of loaner laptops available for temporary use by GAs or TAs who do not currently have access to a laptop that would enable them to teach or do their research remotely. Contact your department heads for details.
  • External impacts. We are aware that area school districts have imposed a self-quarantine for those traveling to Level 3 countries, meaning K-12 students may be required to stay home for a period of up to two weeks. This may impact some of our staff, faculty and students who have to keep their children home from school. I ask everyone to practice understanding and flexibility in these circumstances, and look for ways to enable people to continue to get their work done remotely.
  • Think virtually. If you teach a course, make sure it is fully operational on Canvas. Syllabi and assignments all should be uploaded, and the Zoom room enabled so that students can attend class even if they are not able to physically be present in a classroom.
  • Certification standards. We are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and others to determine contingency planning if Curriculum and Instruction Field Experiences, Professional Development School, Special Education practica, Rehabilitation and Human Services internships and other placements that are mandatory for certification are interrupted. As we get information, we will share it onour website.
  • Conference reimbursements. We know that several major conferences have either been canceled or have switched to virtual attendance. We are awaiting guidance from the University regarding reimbursement for travel expenses incurred for these events, and will share information with you as soon as we receive it.
  • Get help. I want to remind you that the Employee Assistance Program is a free and voluntary resource for benefits-eligible employees and their families who may need counseling to help them in this stressful time.
  • Get the FAQs. The University has a FAQ set up at for information related to coronavirus. In addition, we are working on a College of Education contingency planning FAQ. If you have questions, please send them to edrelations@psu.eduand we will work to find answers. When we have the FAQ assembled, it will be added to our website.

March 4, 2020

Members of the College of Education community,

The best defense against something such as the coronavirus is education – learning the facts about the illness, how it's spread, how best to reduce your risk of contracting it, and what to do if you do exhibit symptoms.

The University is providing up-to-date information about all of those topics through its website at - which is being updated as new information becomes available. I encourage you to bookmark that website and check it often. Please also share that website link with friends and family as a way to keep them updated.

The University's coronavirus information website includes links to messages being delivered through Penn State News, including requirements for returning international travelers; articles from reputable sources in the media; and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the U.S. State Department, Pennsylvania Department of Health and other organizations, along with University resources including Global Programs, Student Care and Advocacy, University Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and other resources.

The site also includes FAQs, community updates, University measures, health information, resources and traveler information.

I won't reiterate the information from those links here, because the information is changing quickly and so it's best to go directly to for the most up-to-date information. I want to reassure you, however, that we in the College of Education share everyone's concerns about the illness and its potential impact on our community. We are working, both in the College and throughout the University as a whole, to ensure the well-being of our students along with our continuity of operations in the event that the coronavirus does hit Pennsylvania.

We urge you also to take precautions against contracting the illness as you prepare to leave campus for spring break. If you are traveling, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's special spring break travel website for health tips, as well as a website where travelers can enter their destination to identify specific travel health notices.

Additional information on how to stay healthy can be found on Penn State News.

I will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to .

Feb. 28, 2020

Dear College Members, 

This morning, Provost Nicholas Jones provided detailed information about what the University is doing to monitor the evolving worldwide coronavirus outbreak and prepare for the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Penn State also has set up a website for members of the university community who have questions about the outbreak as it relates to Penn State. Bookmark and check the site often, to stay up to date.

At this time, there are no known cases of coronavirus at Penn State and no reports of the virus in Pennsylvania. However, symptoms of coronavirus can be very similar to the flu, which is active across Pennsylvania at this time, so Penn State health officials recommend that anyone with flu-like symptoms contact their health care provider for an evaluation. We echo that recommendation – please make sure you make your health and well-being, and that of others, a priority.

Although the risk to the University community remains low at this point, we recognize that many of our students in the College of Education have friends and family in countries and regions that are being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. We want you to know that we share your concerns for the well-being of your loved ones, and are here to support and assist you.

Please take the time to read the message Provost Jones sent out this morning via email. His message also can be found on Penn State News.

Stay well,
Kim Lawless
Dean, College of Education