Smeal Update: March 31, 2020

Dear Smeal Community,

Welcome to our Smeal COVID-19 Update, a new communication vehicle for coordinating and delivering important information regarding the University’s response to the global pandemic and the impact on Smeal.

Our Smeal Coronavirus FAQ page contains links to the University’s faculty/staff FAQs and other pertinent information.

We Are…stories from Smeal

  • Congratulations to Janet Spearly, director of academic advising, who has been selected to receive the 2020 Penn State Excellence in Advising Award. Read the Penn State News story.
  • Smeal is lending supply chain and materials sourcing expertise to a Penn State interdisciplinary team working to address the widespread shortage of protective gear for healthcare workers. Read the Penn State News story.
  • Please share these stories on your personal social media accounts and include #Smeal. Also, please send your Smeal examples of student, staff, and faculty We Are … stories in the midst of the pandemic to

Working, teaching and learning from home

  • Penn State campuses are aligned with the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order for Centre County.
  • Please plan to work from home through the end of the spring semester. If you need to perform mission critical work from the Business Building or another University location, please notify your supervisor in advance.

Annual performance management update

  • The deadline for completing the next goals check-in is now April 30.
  • The window for completing end-of-year reviews is now May 1-July 31.

Grading scheme for undergraduates

  • This semester, undergraduate students may choose to keep their current letter grade or accept the COVID-19 equivalent of SAT, V or Z.
  • These grades will not be available in future semesters.
  • If you have questions, please email Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Felisa Preciado Higgins at
  • Guidance about graduate grading is expected soon from The Graduate School.

Reporting active cases of COVID-19 cases among students

  • Those who become aware of a student who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should email this to Lorraine Ort at

IT security, support

  • Be hypervigilant about phishing attempts that could compromise digital security. Visit the Penn State IT site for tips.
  • For help with technology issues, email the RIIT Group at

Teams page for financial-related COVID-19 information

  • The Finance Office has created a Microsoft Teams Page containing financial policy, procedural and workflow impacts from COVID-19. Here, you will find guidance for tracking and managing COVID-19-related expenses, reimbursement and credit for canceled travel, and other important information.

If you have information regarding COVID-19 and its impact on Penn State Smeal and would like to share it through this update, please email it to Andy Elder, manager of public relations and communications, at