University planning for flexible instructional modes for spring 2021

September 08, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In a message to Penn State’s academic community, Provost Nick Jones announced today (Sept. 8) that the flexible instructional modes developed for the fall 2020 semester, along with limited classroom capacities, will remain in place at all Penn State campuses in spring 2021, provided that the public health landscape allows for some in-person instruction. The University is taking these measures to maintain social distancing protocols and to meet or exceed state and national health and safety guidelines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Jones asked instructors to identify the instructional mode for their spring courses, in consultation with their unit leadership, by Sept. 25. Course delivery options include the following, with LionPATH codes listed in parentheses:

  • In-Person Instruction (COVID In-Person) — Students meet in the assigned classroom at the time assigned in the course schedule.
  • Mixed-Mode Instruction (COVID Mixed Mode) — Instructors deploy a combination of instructional modes to meet social distancing requirements.
  • Remote Synchronous Instruction (COVID Remote) — Students attend all classes remotely at the scheduled time.
  • Remote Asynchronous Instruction (COVID Web) — Course material is made available for students to work through on their own schedules.

More information about each instructional mode can be found at

Students will be able to access the spring 2021 schedule of classes with information about the instructional mode for each course on LionPATH beginning Monday, Sept. 28. Once the schedule of courses is published, students should meet with their advisers to plan their courses and make sure that they are on track for important milestones such as entry to major and graduation. Priority course registration for students will begin on Monday, Oct. 19, and regular registration will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Students are encouraged to consult the "Registration Timetable" on the Office of the University Registrar website to determine when they are eligible to register, based on the number of credits they have earned.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the University’s top priority has been and continues to be the health and safety of the Penn State community and the communities in which campuses are located. Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, the public health landscape could require that all course delivery take place remotely/online in spring 2021. A decision of this nature would be made closer to the start of the spring semester. Likewise, Penn State administration has not yet determined the semester schedule for spring 2021, including the date classes will begin and whether spring break will take place. This information and more will be available at within the coming weeks. Instructors and students are advised to delay making travel plans until these decisions are made.

More information about COVID-19 mitigation measures Penn State is taking now and will take in the spring is available at, and the site will continue to be updated regularly.

Last Updated September 08, 2020