Things you need to know about COVID-19

Last updated March 30, 2020. This page will be updated. All information and guidance applies to Purdue West Lafayette unless otherwise noted. Additional guidance for Purdue Northwest can be found here. Additional guidance for Purdue Fort Wayne can be found here

Latest updates:

  • The Purdue COVID-19 Information Center, 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free 1-833-571-1043, is staffed by university employees from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday to answer student, parent, faculty and staff questions. When you call, you will be given several options (housing, financial aid, etc.) to select from to ensure you are connected with the person best suited to answer your inquiry. 
  • Two Purdue students, who are not on campus, have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Purdue classes will be delivered by remote instruction for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Traditional in-person commencement is canceled. Purdue will offer May 2020 graduates a first-of-its kind on-demand commencement ceremony.  
  • Residence halls remain open for those students who must remain on campus, but any student who can move home/to a different location should do so. For details about living on campus and move-out, please go here.
  • Campus food options are extremely limited. Details are available here.
  • Critical research functions will continue; other research will ramp down. Details are available here.
  • Telecommuting/remote work is encouraged for faculty and staff wherever possible. Tips and resources for working remotely are available here.
  • All research, academic and administrative buildings will remain locked throughout the day as the default, and nearly all offices on campus will restrict walk-in traffic.
    • PUSH and Hicks Undergraduate Library (for wi-fi access) will remain open. 
    • The Stadium Mall doors to Pharmacy are open for access to the Purdue Pharmacy during business hours.
  • If you are returning to campus from travel anywhere outside Indiana, you must follow campus rules for working safely from home or on campus:
    • If you feel sick, you must stay home.
    • If you are returning from a Level 3 travel advisory country, you must self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.
    • Importantly, anyone returning from travel outside of Indiana should not return to research labs for 14 days from their date of return.
    • Practice safe social distancing (remain at least six feet apart) if you must be on campus.

Purdue officials, in close coordination with the state and local public health departments, are closely monitoring for developments and will offer additional guidance to the university community as soon as it is available.

Major guidance from President Daniels, Provost Akridge and other campus leaders and answers to the most frequently asked questions are contained on this site, which is updated regularly.

Any areas wishing to implement a no handshaking guideline in their offices, classrooms or events may download and post this flyer


University Planning

  • Who is making decisions on campus safety and health issues?

    When a public health emergency emerges, the Public Health Emergency Planning team provides planning and response as needed. The group is co-chaired by the director, PUSH and the senior director, Environmental Health and Public Safety, and includes members of various campus departments as well as the Tippecanoe County Health Department.

    The university’s Integrated Emergency Management Plan guides preparedness for a number of specific emergencies, and includes guidance for public health emergencies.

    We look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. State Department for recommendations and travel advisories.

  • What is the current CDC guidance for universities?
    This page offers guidance for institutes of higher education regarding administration, cleaning and travel
  • Have any Purdue students tested positive for COVID-19?

    Two Purdue students, who are not on campus, have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Does the guidance on this site apply to the regional campuses (PNW and PFW)?
    Unless otherwise noted, the guidance on this page applies only to the Purdue West Lafayette campus. Regional campus leadership will provide guidance and answers specific to their campus communities. 

    This page provides guidance for Purdue Northwest. 

    This page provides guidance for Purdue Fort Wayne.  

  • Is commencement canceled?

    Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold a traditional in-person commencement this May. Instead, Purdue will offer May 2020 graduates a first-of-its-kind on-demand commencement ceremony.

    Here is some additional information:

    1. We will offer all May candidates the option to participate in a future traditional ceremony.
    2. We have worked with Herff Jones to:
      1. Remove any late fees.
      2. Extend the decision time for cap and gown rental until April 22.
      3. Absorb the cost for shipping to and from student-provided addresses.
      4. Allow students to have their cap and gown for a full week so they can wear it the week of our virtual ceremony.
    3. Our diploma vendor will mail diplomas and commencement program to students’ homes. Students can expect to receive their diplomas before May 15, 2020. 
  • How is campus notified of any changes?

    Updates will be communicated primarily via this webpage, Purdue Today and all-campus emails. Updates will also be shared with media and will be distributed by the Parent & Family Connections office through the Office of the Dean of Students.

    Please see the “Recent Messages” section of this site for the most recent messages sent to the campus community.

  • What are the guidelines for designating and assigning “essential personnel”?

    In the event of a public health emergency or other crisis that requires access to the University to be severely limited, there are certain people who must report to campus to perform duties vital to the continuity of the University.  Additionally, there will be other essential staff performing critical functions who can perform these duties from a remote location such as home.

    Essential functions are those that need to be fulfilled when normal University operations have been suspended or closed. Departments must evaluate their department’s impact on the overall goal of maintaining essential University operations. Additionally, for continuity, they must designate these essential functions in advance. Pre-designation is especially important in incidents that happen with little notice. Individuals who directly support these functions are expected to report for work during the emergency period as requested by their department unless specifically directed by the department not to do so. The following information provides some general guidelines to be considered when designating the essential function positions.

    Essential/Critical functions or responsibilities are activities:

    • to preserve the health, well-being and safety of the Purdue campus community,
    • to assist and support students and others who must remain on campus with needs generated by the emergency,
    • to ensure timely and effective communication before, during, and after the emergency,
    • to provide utilities to maintain and protect campus buildings,
    • to maintain the health and well-being of animals,
    • to preserve the campus cyber infrastructure,
    • to preserve the core functions of the university (i.e. payroll, benefits, finance); and
    • to protect assets required to allow the University to resume its normal functions when the emergency /public health emergency has subsided; and
    • to preserve university facilities, including essential maintenance and repair

    These assets may include, but are not limited to:

    • cultures of valuable, unique, or irreplaceable living species,
    • valuable, unique, or irreplaceable research specimens or samples,
    • the environment surrounding and sustaining sensitive materials,
    • facilities and equipment,
    • sensitive or irreplaceable data, or
    • critical business continuation functions.

    Personnel designated by a unit head as “essential personnel” are employees who are needed in order to provide the minimum level of service in the department (i.e., human resources, finance, emergency services, utilities and provision of food and housing) and those needed to prevent irreparable damage to research and mechanical systems and those needed to maintain core functions of the university. Each affected unit head will designate Essential Personnel in his or her college or unit and notify them of their role and responsibility.

    Examples of staff members who are expected to be defined as critical or essential:




    Police officers and fire fighters

    Respond to emergencies, maintain order

    Certain power plant and utilities staff

    Maintain utilities

    Certain operations and maintenance staff

    Monitor facilities, repair serious problems

    Certain grounds staff

    Refuse removal, assist in equipment supply

    Certain computer staff

    Maintain infrastructure, support emergency operations

    Certain building services staff

    Refuse removal, cleaning of occupied areas

    Certain senior university staff

    Make decisions

    Certain business office staff

    Process emergency payments and payroll

    Certain human resources staff

    Process payroll, benefits, employee relations

    Certain animal caretakers

    Feed and monitor animals

    Certain health care staff

    Triage, treat students and staff, dispense medication

    Certain housing and food staff

    Feed and house students, staff

    Certain veterinary medicine staff

    Care of injured/sick animals

    Certain ADDL staff

    Provide diagnostic services

    Certain communications staff

    Disseminate information, policies

    Certain student services staff

    Assist students remaining on campus; continue recruitment, admissions processes

    The above list is by no means exhaustive but illustrates types of personnel considered as essential to report to campus or provide support from a remote location.  While the examples above illustrate the type of staff that are expected to be designated as essential, it will be a departmental decision to determine these in advance or as we progress into the crisis. 

    Additionally, essential staff may change depending on factors such as the time during the year, severity of the public health emergency, and the length of time suspension of classes or normal operations is in force.  The number of essential support staff, such as building services personnel will be highly dependent on the number of other students and staff who are on campus.  

    Prior to or at the declaration of a public health emergency period, Executive Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, and Department Heads should review the designation of essential staff and the expectations for all employees during this period. 

  • Do you have information about the pause in staff recruitment?

    On March 19, 2020, President Daniels announced that the University is pausing all staff recruitment activity, effective immediately. In order to help hiring managers navigate during the pause, please refer to the frequently asked questions below:   

    • I was ready to offer the position; what do I tell my candidate? I do not want to lose them.
      • Talent Acquisition has developed messaging to assist in notifying candidates of the pause in hiring, while working to keep top candidates engaged. Please work directly with your talent acquisition specialist for assistance.
    • I was ready to narrow to my final three; can I still hold phone interviews?
      • No; at this time there is a pause on all hiring activity.
    • Will I have to repost the position once the pause has been lifted?
      • Current, open staff positions will continue to be posted on our Careers website. However, applicants will not be forwarded to hiring managers at this time, and no interviews — in-person, by telephone or virtual — should be scheduled.
    • I just made the job offer to a candidate; what do I tell them now?
      • All accepted offers will be honored; however, there may be a need to move the start date back later than originally planned.
    • I believe this position is essential; whom do I contact to gain permission to continue hiring?
      • There may be some cases where a hire is considered essential. Therefore, exceptions may be granted by a dean, vice provost or vice president — in consultation with the vice president for Human Resources — based on unit needs. If you believe you have a need for an exception, written justification should be submitted through your vice president or dean to Vice President for Human Resources, Bill Bell. Please copy your talent acquisition specialist on your request. We expect exceptions to be rare.
    • Can I offer and extend the start date until May 1?
      • At this time, there is a pause on all hiring activity. No offers may be extended during this time. There may be some cases where a hire is considered essential. Therefore, exceptions may be granted by a dean, vice provost or vice president — in consultation with the vice president for Human Resources — based on unit needs. For accepted offers, there may be a need to move the start date back later than originally planned.
    • Does the hiring pause apply to student employees?  
      • Yes. The hiring pause applies to all positions, including undergraduate student employees.
    • How will new hires complete the I-9 process?
      • We are suspending the requirement to complete Section 2 on campus when a new employee is working remotely during the COVID-19 social distancing time period. Once normal operations resume, new employees must immediately bring the required documentation to complete section 2 to their local payroll center (West Lafayette campus) or human resources department (Purdue Fort Wayne campus and Purdue Northwest campuses).  New employees working onsite during the social distancing time period should contact their local payroll center (West Lafayette campus) or their human resources department (Purdue Fort Wayne campus and Purdue Northwestcampuses) to receive instructions on when and how to complete section 2.
    • Is New Employee Orientation still available as part of onboarding?
      • New Employee Orientation (NEO) will move to an online format and remain as such until at least mid-April. New hires already scheduled to attend an upcoming NEO will receive a new employee information packet, complete with links and detailed instructions to access the online orientation content. In the interim, hiring supervisors are asked to notify their new hires of this change. In addition, it will be important for new hires to continue to follow the steps listed in their welcome letter, as BoilerKey will be required to access online information. Updated information is available via the “New Employee Orientation / Resources” web page sections — Weekly Orientation Sessions, New Employee Orientation and New Hire Wizard and System Access.
    • If NEO is online, will an employee registration be required? 
      • No, registration will not be required for the online new employee orientation.
    • Whom do I contact if I need to delay a start date for an individual who has already accepted an offer?
      • Notify your talent acquisition specialist. They will assist in updating the new employee’s hire date in the system.
  • How do I connect to the Purdue VPN from off-campus?
    Instructions for connecting to the Purdue VPN can be viewed here: