COVID-19 Update: A Message from the President & CEO

The health and safety of the PAFA community is our highest priority. The past several days have brought many concerning updates with regard to the global spread of COVID-19.

Following much careful consideration and consultation with members of the senior staff and other leaders at PAFA, I write today to share additional details on PAFA’s response to the outbreak, including new precautionary measures and plans to protect our community’s collective health and wellbeing.

A version of this message has been sent via email to members of the PAFA community including staff, faculty, and students. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to refer to their email for additional pertinent information.

Current Updates

  • Spring Break for students will be extended by one week, through Friday, March 20. This extension will allow for further faculty training on remote teaching systems, as well as additional time for the facilities management team to disinfect key areas of campus.

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, all undergraduate and graduate classes will be conducted remotely, through Canvas or other online teaching platforms as determined by faculty. Classes will be held remotely for an initial period of two weeks (through April 3), during which time the administration will continue to assess the local threat related to COVID-19. This period of remote classes may be extended.

  • During this period of remote classes for undergraduate and graduate students, Continuing Education classes will be postponed.

  • Effective this Friday, March 13 at 5:00 PM, communal spaces in the school such as group studios, Arcadia Fine Arts Library, Animation & Illustration computer labs, and Cast Hall, will be closed to students. This precautionary measure is being taken in an effort to limit the potential pathways of disease transmission.

  • Individual studios will remain accessible to students.

  • Stiles Hall will be closed as of Saturday, March 14 at 5:00 PM. All students currently residing in Stiles Hall will be instructed to leave the premises and return home until further notice, but at least through April 3. Students with extenuating circumstances or specific concerns regarding travel will be advised and assisted by PAFA on a case-by-case basis.

  • Decisions related to the cancellation or suspension of upcoming public events will be made on a case-by-case basis.

  • The PAFA Museum will remain open for the time being, and staff should plan to report to PAFA as usual until further notice. PAFA’s core COVID-19 response team is assessing logistics related to telecommuting, should the local threat evolve and the need arise for certain members of our staff to work remotely.

All of our community members are encouraged to review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for curbing the spread of respiratory diseases.

Additional Current Preventative Measures at PAFA

  • Daily disinfecting of work surfaces by our facilities staff.
  • The installation of new hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers at entry points and other key areas on the PAFA campus.
  • The addition of informational posters related to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

All relevant updates will be posted on PAFA’s devoted COVID-19 response page on our website. I encourage members of the PAFA community to refer to this page regularly.

These decisions were not easy ones to make, and I know that they will be a cause of concern for many of you. Again: the safety of our community remains PAFA’s highest priority, and with that comes a responsibility to make all efforts possible to curb the spread of COVID-19.

I thank you all for your flexibility and continued support.


David R. Brigham, Ph.D.
President & CEO

Last Updated
March 11, 2020 - 4:08 PM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.