The Health Department issued new guidance for college and university students to avoid all social gatherings with people outside of their household. This new guidance was developed in response to ongoing outbreaks at colleges and universities across the country and here in Philadelphia. Interviews with students who have tested positive have identified some who had attended small social gatherings with fewer than the current 25-person legal limit. Whenever people cannot avoid coming in close contact with those outside their household, the Health Department recommends, they should wear masks.

“We have been monitoring the outbreaks in colleges across the country, and are trying to limit the spread if COVID-19 in colleges here,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “It does not require large social gatherings for this virus to spread.  Any time two or more people are near each other without wearing masks, there is a risk.”

The Health Department is currently developing communications to colleges and universities detailing the new guidance. The colleges and universities have been working closely with the Health Department on plans to reduce the risk of spread on campus and are following those plans.  However, interviews suggest that risk continues in small social gatherings that are not organized or sanctioned by colleges.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Philadelphia has issued numerous guidelines for closure and subsequent re-opening as case counts have dropped. Each guidance document continues to recommend that everyone in Philadelphia continue to take the following precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask when around others
  • Stay at least six feet away from others
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Seek testing if symptomatic or if exposed to a confirmed case

The City’s COVID-19 website is always updated with the latest guidance, recommendations, and data: