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COVID-19 Update on EHS Services

EHS will continue to support the Penn State Community, however some of our non-critical functions are being curtailed.

  • Hazardous and radioactive waste will continue to be picked up, albeit at a reduced level and on an as needed basis.
    • On-going Essential Research Operations: Representatives must complete the chemical waste or radioactive waste online forms to identify locations requiring waste removal.  Note:  Biological (regulated medical) waste has resumed normal scheduled pickups.
  • EHS staff will respond to incidents and spills.  Remember to call 911 for emergencies.
  • EHS has a portal to Report a Safety Concern that is actively being monitored.
  • EHS staff, while mostly working from home, are available by phone and through email.  Phone lines are being forwarded.  Contact information can be found at the EHS Directory.
  • All trainings on the LRN and the EHS Training website are active.
  • Scheduled in-person trainings will be presented in Zoom sessions unless social distancing requirements (at least six feet) can be maintained for small groups (less than 10 people).
  • For the latest COVID-19 news and updates from the University, visit

Thank you for your patience as we all work through this difficult period.

COVID-19 Return to Work Resources

Return to Workplace Planning Guide - This guidance has been prepared as an optional planning tool for non-research related Work Units to use in coordination with the University's Return to Workplace authorization process.  This tool provides guidance to assist in planning and preparing strategies to promote a safe return to work for our employees.  It also provides reminders to aid in the physical preparation of workplaces, methods to obtain pandemic supplies, and guidance to employees on their safe return to the workplace. The Word version of this guide is available here.  (5/26/20)

Laboratory and Research Ramp-up Planning Guide - This guidance is specific to laboratories and research facilities planning to return to work and to ramp-up research operations in coordination with the OSVPR "Gradually Increasing On-Campus Research-Related Activities at Penn State."  This tool provides guidance to assist in planning and preparing strategies to promote a safe return to work for our research community.  It also provides reminders to assess for hazards when first returning to the laboratory, as well as an aid in the physical preparation of workplaces, methods to obtain pandemic supplies, and guidance to employees on their safe return to the workplace. The Word version of this guide is available here.  (5/19/20)


Classroom Guidance for Instructors - This document describes the steps that faculty can take to provide a positive learning environment and manage COVID-19-related concerns in the classroom.  The guidance includes a sample statement for faculty to include in their course syllabi and a series of steps that faculty can take if a student fails to adhere to health and safety requirements.


Pandemic Supply List - This guidance outlines the pandemic supplies available to order from Penn State General Stores via Penn State eBuy.  The document provides specific application guidance to direct users to the proper selection of supplies as well as to the General Stores catalog numbers to facilitiate ordering. (7/08/20)


A related document is provided to describe instructions for proper use of Betco FightBac, a primary Ready-to-Use Disinfectant listed in the above-referenced Pandemic Supply List, and available through General Stores.  For additional information regarding cleaning computer surfaces, please refer to the document Cleaning Guidelines – Computer and Related Products listed subsequently under COVID-19 General Resources. (6/25/20)


COVID-19 General Resources

COVID-19 Supervisors Instructions for Assessment and Reporting - The following guidance has been prepared in coordination with University Health Services and Occupational Medicine.  These instructions provide guidance to supervisors to assess the impacts of a suspected COVID-19 case in their unit as it pertains to closing work areas and identifying additional employees that may need to self-quarantine and/or self-monitor.  An online COVID-19 Case Reporting Tool is available for supervisors to report COVID-19 cases. (4/29/20) 

COVID Prohibited Access Signage - Sign to post on entrances to areas closed in response to a suspected COVID-19 case being reported.  This signage is posted in coordination with the COVID-19 Supervisors Reporting Instructions. (4/2/20)

Working on Campus - Employee health and safety guidance for individuals working on campus. (6/01/20)

Working on Campus Health and Safety Questions - Employee frequently asked questions. (5/03/20)

Cloth Mask - General guidance on the use and care of cloth masks. (6/01/20)

Cleaning Guidelines - OPP Cleaning Standards in Response to Coronavirus - Overview of the Office of Physical Plant cleaning standards and practices in response to coronavirus including disinfecting products and procedures, cleaning frequencies, and personal protective requirements. (4/8/20)

Cleaning Guidelines - Computer and Related Products - Guidance provided for the personal care and disinfecting of sensitive electronics, computers, and related products. (3/19/20)

Guidance for Contractors, Vendors, and Other Third Parties Performing Non-Construction Work on University Property - This document decribes measures that must be taken by third party employers to protect all campus personnel from the spread of COVID-19. (6/24/20)

SARS Coronavirus SDS - The Canadian Health Department has prepared a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) on the SARS Coronavirus that is responsible for COVID-19.  This sheet provides details on the virus, its physical characteristics, environmental survivability, disinfection, and other pertinent information.  This is a valuable, albeit highly technical, resource.

Handwashing - Public service announcement to "Defend yourself from germs, wash your hands!" (3/18/20)

Temporary Operational & Equipment Inspection Guidance - Resource to help  with operational and compliance inspection requirements in response to current actions taken to prevent the spread of the virus. (5/8/20) 

EHS Ergonomic Resources:  This page provides information on proper work station set-up whether in your office or at home. (7/9/20)


COVID-19 Laboratory Resources

Guidance for Performing Remote Research or Teaching from Home - Information for faculty members who wish to conduct teaching demonstrations or research activities while working from home.  A three-tiered approach has been established to provide guidance on four hazard categories (biological, chemical, physical, and radiation) using a table format.  (4/16/20)

Guidance for Performing Teaching Demonstrations in University Labs or Shops - Information for faculty or staff members who wish to livestream/record class demonstrations from on-campus laboratories or shops.  Guidance on working alone and use of a "buddy system" is included. (4/16/20)

Guidance for Fieldwork - Information to minimize potential risks associated with fieldwork during the coronavirus pandemic.  Applies to teaching or research activities conducted by University faculty, staff, or students in outdoor areas (on or off campus). (4/16/20)

Research Continuity Guide - Guidance provided to aid Deans, Department Chairs, Safety Officers, and Principal Investigators (PIs) in considering the additional steps that should be taken to protect laboratory personnel and the valuable research being conducted at Penn State during a temporary campus shutdown. (3/19/20)

Laboratory Ramp Down Checklist - Tool to guide researchers/lab personnel during the ramp down and interim closure of their laboratory. (3/23/20)

Cleaning Guidance - Laboratory - Guidance provided to laboratories and research facilities to help identify approved COVID-19 disinfection methods researchers can follow for their high touch work areas and equipment. (3/19/20)

Lab Suspension Sign - Signage to post on entrances to laboratories and research facilities closed during COVID-19 pandemic.  Provides emergency contact information for space if needed. (3/19/20)

COVID-19 External Resources

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home - CDC

How to Protect Yourself and Others - CDC

Use of Cloth Face Coverings - CDC

What to do if You are Sick - CDC

Work-From-Home Best Practices - National Safety Council

Home Fire Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic - Guidance from the NFPA