COVID-19: Student Information and Resources

The information on this page was last updated on Thursday, October 22, 2020, and is updated as new information is available. Please contact the appropriate area below for additional details.

College of IST faculty and staff continue to be available to support and guide students during the coronavirus pandemic. To make an appointment with an Academic Services team member, visit

Additional information related to the University's response can be found at

Ask A Question

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Penn State announced procedures and assistance available to students for the fall departure from campuses, as well as COVID-19 testing and quarantine and isolation procedures after in-person instruction ends on Nov. 20.

Review all details and student expectations on Penn State News.

On Sunday, Oct. 4, Penn State announced plans for the University's Spring 2021 semester. This includes a later start to the semester, the continuation of flexible instruction modes, and the elimination of spring break.

The College of IST is reviewing these plans and will communicate important information with students throughout the fall semester.

More details are available on Penn State News.

If you are experiencing technical issues or challenges, please contact the IST Helpdesk. You can also find additional information and support on the University's Keep Learning website.

The Westgate Building is open to the public in the fall semester during the following times. IST students, staff, and faculty can access the building after hours by swiping their Penn State ID card at the building entrances. Please note that holidays or other events could impact these hours.

  • Mondays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Tuesdays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Wednesdays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Thursdays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Fridays - 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturdays - 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sundays - 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Classroom and Study Spaces

The College of IST maintains classrooms in E165, E202, E203, E208, and E213 Westgate Building, which have been arranged to allow for social distancing. Please do not rearrange any furniture or remove any barricade tape, and be sure to follow all posted signage for available seats.

Westgate Building conference rooms E101 and E102 can be used as remote learning locations for students across the University. Classroom E165 is reserved for IST students between classes and/or for a remote learning location and will be card accessible for the fall semester. These rooms are not reservable throughout the semester.

Staying Safe

The University provided two face coverings to each student, faculty, and staff member. Face coverings must be worn when on campus. Hand sanitizer stations are available across campus, classrooms and labs are cleaned and disinfected regularly, and health and safety information is posted prominently. Learn more about the steps the University is taking, as well as information on other campus facilities, on Penn State's coronavirus website.

Keep Learning

Visit the University's Keep Learning site for resources, information, and support you need for your fall courses.

Class Format

Courses for the fall semester are offered as either in-person or remote. Faculty members teaching in-person courses can either teach the entire class on campus or through a mixed mode, where classes may be modified to minimize the number of students in a classroom at a given time. For example, this may be done by breaking students into smaller groups with one group attending in-person instruction one day and learning remotely the next, while the other group does the opposite. Students are encouraged to check Canvas for the planned delivery mode for each of their scheduled courses and additional guidance from their course instructors.


The University has guidelines about attendance that faculty incorporate into their syllabi. It is up to each faculty member to handle attendance as they determine appropriate. While faculty are asked to be flexible and understanding with challenges, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand expectations of each of their classes.

Learning Support

Review the University’s online guide and visit for tips on how you can build positive study habits in your new environment. We know you are likely dealing with new responsibilities and distractions away from campus. If you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, or just have questions, please reach out to a member of IST’s Academic Services team for support. We are here to help.

Faculty Support and Office Hours

With many students likely taking a mix of in-person and virtual courses this fall, IST faculty have been guided by two principles: understand that many students are facing additional anxiety and offer flexibility where appropriate. If you are facing extenuating circumstances that are interfering with your coursework, please discuss with your instructor. Faculty are expected to hold regular office hours, though it is at the faculty member’s discretion if they want to hold them virtually or in-person.

Peer Tutoring

Virtual peer tutoring is available in the fall semester during normally scheduled hours (Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7-10 p.m.), and tutors are planning additional workshops to best assist students. Teaching and Learning Assistants continue to provide support and work with their assigned faculty member to determine if virtual or in-person support is most appropriate. Visit the college’s learning support site for more information.

The Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising is open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Spring Scheduling

Penn State announced that it is planning to continue flexible instructional modes for the spring 2021 semester, provided that the public health landscape allows for some in-person instruction. Students should meet with their advisers to plan their courses and make sure their on track for entrance to major, graduation, and other important milestones.

Advising Appointments

All advising appointments will take place via Zoom. You may schedule appointments with your assigned adviser via Please monitor your Penn State email for details regarding how to access your virtual Advising appointment.

Emailing your assigned adviser is always an option for quick questions or guidance. Students without an assigned adviser can email with their questions.

Drop-in Advising

Ten-minute virtual sessions are available for quick questions that do not require a scheduled appointment. August's drop-in schedule can be found on the Undergraduate Academic Advising page and listed on the events calendar.


As per usual, emailing your assigned adviser is always an option for quick questions or guidance. Advisers will answer emails in the order they receive them. Please do not send multiple emails to multiple advisers as this will only delay our abilities to respond to students in a timely manner. Students without an assigned adviser can email with questions.


The Undergraduate Advising Office can be reached at (814) 865-8947. Please leave a detailed message with your name and student ID number. Please note that advisers will give priority to scheduled appointments and incoming emails; speaking directly to an adviser will be unlikely. Scheduling an advising appointment is the most efficient way to access your adviser.

The Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement will be open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Career Coaching Appointments

All career appointments will take place via Zoom. You may schedule appointments with a career counselor via If there are no appointments that will work with your schedule, please email and a career coach will contact you to schedule an appointment. A link will be shared with you through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.

Internship Questions

Students are encouraged to begin pursuing internships as early as possible and to watch their emails for new virtual opportunities. Contact if you are looking for an internship or have found an internship and wish to receive credit for IST 495. Remember the internship must be approved by the Office of Career Solutions before you can be registered for the required course. Additional options have been made available for students graduating in or before spring 2021. Review these options and connect with a career coach for more information.


For a complete list of upcoming career-related events, visit the events calendar.

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement is open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET and after hours on a limited basis for special meetings.

Student Appointments

Schedule a virtual appointment by emailing a request to OIDE appointments will take place via phone or Zoom, with a link shared through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.

Faculty and Staff Appointments

Contact Kate Nelson at to set up a virtual appointment with Jason Gines or Madhavi Kari in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement. For Zoom, a link will be shared with you through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.

Student Organizations

IST student organizations are connecting students during the fall semester through workshops, presentations, and other events. Many organizations continue to welcome new members. For a list of the college's student organizations and other engagement opportunities, visit


Fall events are being held virtually throughout the fall with limited exceptions. Watch the IST events calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Questions and Additional Information

Request an Appointment

The Office of Graduate Programs is not holding regular office hours during the fall semester. If you have questions about course registration, comprehensive exams, final exam scheduling, degree requirements, or other matters, contact Jenna Sieber at to request a virtual or phone appointment.

International students should visit the Office of Global Programs for the most up-to-date information, or connect with their primary University contact for additional guidance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected financial hardship for many students. Contact to connect with an IST representative who can assist you in finding potential funding sources.

Review the University's Return to Research guidelines for the most up-to-date information on the phased increase in on-campus research-related activities. Undergraduate and graduate student researchers that require access to on-campus labs to conduct their research should contact their faculty adviser.

For information on how to conduct your responsibilities, visit