Issued 9/08/21

Penn utilizes a multi-layered approach to ensuring the safety of classroom occupants. Penn’s Vaccination, Mask, Distance, Symptom Screening with Open Pass, and Penn Cares testing programs are focused on preventing faculty, staff and students from becoming infected and quickly identifying those who become ill to prevent transmission.  

Ventilation is the final component of ensuring a safe classroom. Good classroom ventilation can reduce the number of virus particles in the air and can reduce the likelihood of spreading disease should a student or faculty member unknowingly attend class while ill.  

Penn classrooms are ventilated at higher rates than most locations on campus and a majority have filtration rates in excess of Merv 11.   Penn has also removed demand-ventilation controls, designed to lower ventilation rates and save energy, so classroom ventilation systems are operating close to their maximum capacity. 

Some classrooms will be provided with air filtration equipment to improve ventilation.  

Opening windows to increase ventilation is a common recommendation made by CDC and others to improve ventilation in primary and secondary school classrooms which lack good ventilation.   Windows should not be opened in Penn classrooms.   Open windows can reduce ventilation mixing factors and may cause the ventilation system to turn off.   Open windows can also introduce humidity, make classrooms uncomfortable and increase the likelihood of condensation and mold. 

Concerns regarding the adequacy of classrooms should be directed to EHRS.