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How is the Academy addressing the COVID-19 outbreak?

This page was most recently updated March 30, 2020 

Is the Academy currently closed to the public? 

Yes, we are currently closed. In a proactive measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have made the joint decision to temporarily discontinue public admissions to our exhibit halls and suspend public programming and events. We will reassess the situation as new information becomes available and determine steps for moving forward safely and responsibly.

While reflecting on the data that has been released by public health authorities in recent days and weeks, the Academy in particular is cognizant of our role as a leader in the scientific community. Science matters, and we are committed to making decisions based on data as we move forward.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the museum at this time, we are committed to doing everything we can to protect the health of those who utilize the museum space.

Which programs have been canceled/postponed?

All public programming through April 30 has been postponed or canceled. This includes:

  • The new Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit will open at later date 
  • Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival - Scheduled for April 1-5, postponed until September 23-27 (all tickets purchased for the April event will be honored in September)
  • Fantastic Fungi Movie Screening - Scheduled for March 26, will be rescheduled to a later date
  • Night in the Museum - Scheduled for March 21, postponed until September 19, 2020 (all tickets purchased for the March event will be honored in September)
  • Dinos After Dark - Both the March 20 and April 17 events are canceled 
  • World Water Weekend - Scheduled for March 21-22 will be postponed to a later date
  • Earth Week activities - Scheduled for April 15-22 will be postponed to a later date
  • The Member Preview for Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be postponed to a later date
  • Spring Break Camp - Scheduled for April 9, 10, 13, and 14 is canceled. 

Do you have any online resources?

Yes! Please explore the following pages for online resources:

  • Science From Home - Click here for family science experiments, backyard birding, and activities to try with kids.
  • Science Matters - Explore recent Academy science stories, highlights from our blog, and more.
  • Small Actions Spark Big Changes - Our year long campaign with a different environmental theme for each month. In April, learn about sustainable gardening tips.
  • Online Exhibits - Explore online exhibits.
  • Academy Blog - Featuring hundreds of stories, get lost in a science rabbit hole.

How can I stay updated on the status of the Academy?

For the most up-to-date information, please check this page and follow us on social media.

Is the staff working from home?

Yes. Academy staff are currently all working from home.

Is someone taking care of the live animals?

Yes! All of the Academy's permanent live animals as well as the animals in our Survival of the Slowest exhibit are receiving their usual amazing care from our trained staff. Obviously some jobs can not be done from home and our essential staff are still coming in to the museum to take care of the animals, taking every precaution when doing so. 

We recommend these resources for more reading about the spread of COVID-19:

What You Can Do (via Philadelphia Department of Health)

There are easy, common sense things you can do to help keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19.

 Practice good health habits

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or hand sanitizer if none is available.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow to keep from spreading germs.
  • Try to not touch your face; that’s how the germs get into your body.
  • Don’t share drinks or utensils like forks or spoons.

 Stay home when you’re sick and avoid sick people

  • If you’re sick, you can keep from spreading it to other people by staying away from them.
  • If you see someone who is sick, stay at least six feet away from them to avoid catching it.
  • Ask if your healthcare provider has a telehealth option. If not, be sure to call the office before going in.

Additional precautions

  • Avoid shaking hands and hugging.
  • Clean commonly touched things, like handrails and doorknobs often.
  • Avoid touching things that lots of other people touch, like handrails and doorknobs.
  • Try to avoid crowds and busy places.

Get prepared

Given that we expect to see people sick with COVID-19 in Philadelphia, it makes sense to get ready for if there are lots of people who get sick. This means getting prepared. Here are good tips for preparing for a disease outbreak like this.

  • If you take medications regularly, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about having extra on hand. Do the same for over-the-counter medicines.
  • Think about storing extra water or non-perishable food at home, so you’ll have some if you can’t go grocery shopping.
  • It’s a good idea to have enough essential household items, like cleaning products, detergent, pet care items, and diapers, if you have young children.
  • Talk to your employer to find out about working remotely and about sick leave.
  • Check with your child’s school or daycare to find out about plans for early dismissals and how urgent information will be communicated.
  • Make arrangements for back-up care for children or elderly relatives in case their regular caregiver is sick or their school is closed.