Smeal Update: February 12, 2021

More options available for flexible spending accounts

Federal legislation passed in response to COVID-19 gives employees more flexibility in how they utilize unused 2020 and 2021 Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account monies previously elected for qualifying medical and dependent care expenses. Read the Penn State Today story or visit the human resources website for details and make your desired changes in Workday. 

Nominations open for student service and leadership awards

Nominations are now open for the Service and Leadership Awards! We are looking for students who have made a positive impact on the university and community through service while also demonstrating leadership skills. Some of these awards include funding. Nominations will close at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The nomination form can be found here or on the webpage. If you have any questions, email Service and Leadership Program Coordinator Heather Polonsky at

Annual compliance training to be completed by March 15

All faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and post docs must complete the annual compliance training by March 15. You received an email from the Office of Ethics & Compliance on Feb. 1 with instructions to complete the training through the Learning Resource Network (LRN). It covers several ethics and compliance topics, including misconduct reporting and retaliation, discrimination and sexual misconduct, research-related compliance, and records maintenance, and is a critical component in continuing to promote the University’s and Smeal’s ethical culture and values. You can also read more about it in this Penn State News story. Training has been updated to be more engaging and accessible. It takes approximately one hour and can now be completed over multiple sessions. 

Ask the Dean open for your questions

We share information about the college in our weekly Smeal Community Zoom sessions, but sometimes there isn’t time to discuss an issue fully. To address those topics, we’re introducing Ask the Dean. Send your questions to We’ll do our best to provide answers in a video to be included in an upcoming Smeal Update.

Do you know someone who rocks? Nominate them!

Each month the Smeal Staff Advisory Committee names a You Rock! Award recipient. You can nominate a co-worker for the You Rock! Award online.

The Smeal Community Weekly Poll

The Staff Advisory Committee, in an effort to engage the Smeal community, is conducting a weekly poll. This week's survey asks about Valentine’s Day plans. Click this link to participate. Results will be shared during next week's Smeal Community Zoom.

Questions from faculty

Do students have to complete required COVID-19 testing?

All Penn State students must meet requirements for COVID-19 testing prior to their return or if they are already living in their campus community. This requirement includes students taking remote or online classes who will be living within 20 miles of a Penn State campus and all students who live in Centre County are required to participate in testing. Students who do not complete pre-semester testing cannot move into on-campus housing, attend class in-person, or participate in on-campus activities. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 from a University test within the past 90 days or who have uploaded a positive result from a PCR test from within the past 90 days are considered to have met the testing requirement. Full information is available here.

Faculty are not responsible for monitoring or enforcing testing requirements. If a faculty member should become aware of a COVID-19 related violation, a referral may be made to the Office of Student Conduct online or by calling 814-863-0342.