Updates for Spring 2022 Semester due to Omicron Variant

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and evolve plans as needed based on information from the city, state, and federal public health officials. As reported widely, the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has surged in the Northeast United States and the Philadelphia area. The following updates provide the opportunity to better monitor the Omicron surge’s impact after the winter holidays, in order to mitigate further spread among our community members.

Studios and Classes

Rather than returning to in-person orientation on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 and classes on Thursday, January 13, the School of Fine Arts will begin the semester's instruction virtually, with the intention to begin in-person instruction on Friday, January 21, 2022.

Move-in for college students living in Stiles Hall will take place as scheduled on Saturday, January 8 and Sunday, January 9.  

Individual studios, shops, and labs will remain open as scheduled. 

Continuing Education courses, many of which were already planned to be held virtually, will begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.


All PAFA units remain open and in operation with the following protocols:

  • Galleries: The Museum will remain open to the public. A mask is required for all including faculty, staff, students, vendors, visitors, and customers.
  • Facility Rentals: As of January 3, 2022, any establishment in Philadelphia that sells food and/or drink for consumption onsite may admit only those patrons who have completed their vaccine series against COVID-19. This mandate from the City of Philadelphia applies to all PAFA external and internal events where food and/or drink will be consumed.
    • Tableau Cafe: PAFA will require that all faculty, staff, students and visitors show identification and proof of vaccination* to enter Tableau Café. Proof of identification in the form of a PAFA ID, driver’s license or government-issued photo identification must accompany proof of vaccination status. Employees and students will be allowed to show their wristbands received during their daily ComplianceHR check-in to enter Tableau Café.
  • Museum Store: The Museum Store will remain open. A mask is required for all PAFA community members including faculty, staff, students, vendors, visitors, and customers.

Mandatory Requirements for the Community

Our collective responsibility for helping to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at PAFA is to vax, mask and monitor: 

  • Vax: PAFA is requiring the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine for employees and college students by January 17, 2022. Please refer to the December 21, 2021 message for more information and instructions (also linked in messages sent to PAFA employee and student email accounts on December 29).
  • Mask: Masking remains a vital component of our safety protocols. The indoor mask requirement will not change; masks will still be required indoors in classrooms, offices, and public common areas. Masks will not be required in private offices when employees are alone. The wearing of masks is also required for vendors, visitors, customers, and any general public indoors.
  • Monitor: To maintain a safe environment, all faculty and staff will continue to be required to complete their individual screening questionnaire in ComplianceHR each day before arriving on PAFA’s campus. When you are sick, you are encouraged to stay home.

*Acceptable proof of a COVID-19 vaccination includes a CDC vaccination card, a photocopy of the card, or a photo of the card on a mobile device. Cardholders must be at least two weeks past receiving their first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the second dose in a two-dose series vaccine (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).

Certain people who cannot be vaccinated are exempted from this requirement:

  1. Children under five years and three months of age
  2. People with signed medical exemptions from a licensed practitioner
  3. People with religious exemptions, who have attested in writing that they have a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated


Despite the surge of the Omicron variant, we are proud of our collective efforts to keep our campus safe. We wish you much enjoyment with friends and family over this holiday break. Please remember to take all precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Last Updated
February 10, 2022 - 1:58 AM

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.