Frequently Asked Travel & Procurement Questions Related to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
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Frequently Asked Travel & Procurement Questions

Related to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Please be aware that the most up-to-date guidance on travel and other university related business can be found on Penn’s Coronavirus website. We encourage all members of the Penn Community to consult this website before making travel and other arrangements.

Travel and Purchasing Services continue to maintain all operations and are working closely with internal Penn partners, suppliers, and service providers as the University collectively manages the delivery of supplies and services during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. In doing so, there are certain questions that have been common among many stakeholders. Those questions and associated answers are included below. For any other questions or support needed, please contact our Purchasing and Travel Services teams.


Purchasing Services

Staff Responsibilities and Contact Information

Office Phone Number: 215-898-7216


Travel Services

Website Including Staff Contact Information

World Travel Phone Number: (888) 641-9112


Procurement FAQs

Q. I am supporting returning operations. Where can I find guidance on how to source critical PPE and related items?

A: In collaboration with Penn's research community, Environmental Health & Radiation Safety, and Facilities & Real Estate Services, we have prepare sourcing guidance for those items and categories that are critical to supporting a safe operations. Please visit Purchasing Services' PPE sourcing guidance page to learn more.

Q. I’m placing orders that support virtual learning and/or remote work and I need to have the items delivered to a remote location.  How do I facilitate that as a Penn buyer?

A: For orders being placed by Purchase Order, please contact with the ship-to location details and business office justification for the addition. Purchasing Services will add the location as an approved ship-to location, which will be accessible for orders with all suppliers. If a ship-to location must be changed on an existing PO, that PO will need to be cancelled and recreated using the alternate ship-to address. Prior to cancelling, please contact the supplier to ensure the order has not shipped. Upon return to normal, on-campus operations, the remote ship-to locations will be disabled.

If ordering smaller, miscellaneous purchases by P-Card, the ship-to address may simply be provided at the time of order.

In all cases, University purchases establish Penn's ownership of the goods purchased. Those goods must be consumed for University purposes and/or returned to the University for further use.

Q. I’ve planned an event and now need to cancel. Can I do so without incurring fees?

A: There is no single answer to this question as each situation is different depending on the location, nature of the event, and final contract terms for the arrangement.  The best advice is to contact the venue and/or service provider as early as possible to avoid any cancellation fees that may apply.  If you require assistance in accessing or interpreting contract language, or would like support in negotiating a resolution, please contact Purchasing Services’ Sourcing & Contracting team at

Q. I need to facilitate a refund due to a cancelled Penn event. What is the best way to process refunds?

A: If the original payment was made via credit/debit card, refunds should be facilitated directly through that card. In instances where the payee must be refunded directly by check, that refund should be processed through a Non-PO Payment Request. It is important to note that if new supplier/payee onboarding is required, it is not necessary to collect and upload a completed Form W-9 or any other tax documentation, as long as the requester answers "No" to the question "Are you acting as a proxy on behalf of this new payee/supplier?".

Q. Does the novel coronavirus represent a force majeure event, and can it be used in our favor (or against us) with respect to Penn’s contracts?

A: The most accurate answer is it depends. In many instances the outbreak of the novel coronavirus does not directly impede a supplier from performing its obligations under a contract. In those cases, force majeure would not apply. There are however certain instances in which the outbreak has impeded (or will impede) a supplier or Penn to meet its obligations, and may be cited by either party as a reason for termination or other action under the contract. It is important to note that even in cases whereby the outbreak has affected the ability of either party to fulfill its obligations, it does not necessarily mean that force majeure would apply. In all cases the nature of the procurement and language in the contract need to be considered in the resolution process.

Purchasing Services in coordination with the Office of General Counsel can help in resolving any major disputes related to the novel coronavirus outbreak. For assistance please contact

Q. I need to buy technology hardware, but I understand the supply chain is strained. What should I be considering as I plan my purchase?

A: Penn’s Information Systems & Computing team has offered the guidance included below with respect to the impact of the novel coronavirus to the technology supply chain. Purchasing Services supports this guidance, and is available to assist technology buyers as needed. To reach the team for support, please contact

ISC expects continuing delays in technology fulfillment for the next quarter, with the major contributing factor being the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Though various entities at Penn will work to manage these shortages, they will manifest themselves in many cases as both restricted availability and extended lead times for technology products relevant to the University and its constituents.

The Computer Connection, Purchasing Services, our preferred providers, ISC, and various other constituents across campus have been working to understand and mitigate these issues for over a month now. In some ways, matters related to COVID-19 are an extension of the already existing Intel processor shortages (which continue) and tariff-related challenges that we’ve been tracking since 2018. However, it is affecting portions of the entire technology supply chain—examples include memory, storage, networking equipment, accessories, and mobile devices.

University constituents have communicated with AMD, Apple, Dell, Graybar, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and other companies about these issues. The Computer Connection has modified several of its stocking strategies, and the University is moving forward with identifying where there is meaningful differentiation in upcoming products and where it makes sense to proceed with what is currently available. We’re also mindful of buying patterns driven both by new product releases and by the timing of Penn’s fiscal year.

There remain many unknowns, as there are with anything related to COVID-19. What seems inevitable is that the availability of specific products will continue to be unpredictable, influenced by assembly locations, component availability, and other factors.

Where possible, ISC suggests planning for purchases with a more extended time window than usual. Also, where possible, notify others in the supply chain of your purchasing plans.

Q. With the extraordinary activity in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, I'm finding the need to purchase beyond the transaction limit for my P-Card.  What's the best way to extend my transaction limit?

A: For transaction limit increases on the P-Card, please continue to complete and submit the Purchasing Card Single Transaction Exception Request Form, which will be quickly routed for approval and processing.

Q. I have submitted a P-Card/Meeting Card application and understand those cards are normally delivered to the cardholder's campus address. How do I ensure I receive my card if I am working remotely?

A: Penn has worked with its P-Card provider, JP Morgan Chase, to default all new card deliveries for the P-Card/Meeting Card to the cardholder's home address until further notice.  It should be noted that Penn Travel Cards, provided by Bank of America, are already defaulted to home delivery.

Q. My current P-Card/Meeting Card is expiring soon, and I have not yet received a replacement card. How can I be assured that I will be receiving the replacement card at my remote location?

A: As your expiration approaches, Penn's card administrator will be reaching out to confirm desired delivery location. If you need to reach Penn's card administrator, contact


Supplier Information

Important information for suppliers seeking to make deliveries or provide services on campus:

All suppliers visiting Penn's campus must comply with the latest COVID-19-related safety protocols per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the City of Philadelphia. This includes the requirement to wear protective face coverings at all times other than eating or drinking. Additional details on Penn's requirements for those visiting campus, including information about PennOpen Pass, can be found at Penn's Environmental Health & Radiation Safety website in the Penn Vendor Policy section. If you have any questions about safely fulfilling goods and service deliveries, please contact


Important information for local small businesses:

Penn's procurement team is working with area partners to help offer guidance to local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. A list of organizations and programs supporting area businesses can be found in the Supplier Resources section of the Doing Business with Penn section of the Purchasing Services website.


Travel FAQs

Q. I need to cancel travel.  What are the steps that I should be taking?

A: If you booked your travel through Concur or directly with World Travel, simply contact World Travel’s 24x7 service center by phone at 888-641-9112 or 610-458-5554, or by email at: For travel booked outside Concur/World Travel, you will need to contact the service provider through which you booked.


Q. Will I be charged fees for canceling my travel?

A: For travel that was booked through World Travel, its agents will be able to assess your ticket and determine if fees will apply.  They can also help facilitate an exchange or refund if such a service is available. World Travel can be reached by phone at 888-641-9112 or 610-458-5554, or by email at:


Q. I did not book through World Travel, but have a return travel requirement and would like support.  Can World Travel help me?

A: While World Travel cannot service bookings that were made through other agencies, including online booking sites, if you do wish to book new, return travel through World Travel, agents are available to support you and can be reached by phone at 888-641-9112 or 610-458-5554, or by email at: