Please check the Penn State Health Guidelines page for the latest information about masking and the University’s ongoing COVID-19 response.


AURORA, along with Penn State, is constantly monitoring COVID-19 guidance from the local, state, and federal levels to provide the best possible experience for our students and staff. This page will be updated as protocols and procedures change; check back to stay informed.

Is AURORA masking?

AURORA will follow the current Penn State masking guidelines. Most of AURORA will be outdoors where masks are not required.

Will I sleep next to my peers?

AURORA participants sleep under tarps, which encourage good airflow. We will limit the number of people sleeping under tarps to three or four (six was typical in the past). We will also take further steps to ensure students are comfortably spaced throughout the night, such as using personal packs and gear as buffers between sleepers and alternating the orientation of each sleeper’s head and feet.

What about food safety?

All meals on the trail will be prepared and served by AURORA staff. Those preparing and serving food will be masked and wearing gloves. We are also making slight alterations to our food package sizes and offerings to avoid any potential cross contamination during mealtimes.

Are vaccinations required?

Penn State and AURORA do not require vaccination at this time, though it is strongly recommended. Upon registration, you will be required to fill out an anonymous survey regarding your vaccination status. This data will inform AURORA’s COVID-19 safety and mitigation planning.

Do I need to provide a negative test before the program?

We are not requiring a negative test before the start of the program at this time, but it is recommended. Students are required to bring at least one rapid, at-home test with them on the trip. These tests will be used in the field if a student begins to show symptoms.