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Penn State Outlines Pre-Arrival Coronavirus Testing Plans For Spring Semester

Now that Penn State is pushing the start of in-person instruction back to February 15 and keeping campus closed until then, the university’s spring semester is shaping up to be pretty unique.

Before students return to campus in February, they’ll be required to jump through a few hoops surrounding the university’s pre-arrival coronavirus testing plans.

Students will need to have either a negative coronavirus test on file prior to their return or a positive test on file with the university within the last 90 days. Self-test kits will be provided to students free of charge.

Students may also upload a positive test result from the last 90 days from a third-party PCR test.

First, 21 days before returning to campus students should log into Penn State’s ‘Know Your Status’ Portal to check the status of their test. They will also be able to order their required test through this portal. The university and students will have access to this tool and be able to track the testing process.

At least two weeks prior to arrival, students should order their Vault testing kit. This is the same testing procedure that students were required to complete before returning to school in the fall.

Students should keep in mind it’ll take time to order, ship, and complete the test. They’re advised to allot enough time for the process finish without any hangups.

Five days before students return, they should mail their tests back and wait for their results.

If a student’s test results are positive, they are required to stay home and to not return to their campus communities until they’re cleared. If their results are negative, they may return to campus but are encouraged to still quarantine and comply with any travel requirements from where they are coming from.

Regardless, all students are encouraged to self-quarantine for at least seven days before returning to campus.


Once students return to campus, Penn State plans to continue utilizing random surveillance testing. The program would sample about 1.5-2% of the University Park population each day.

Penn State it’ll post more information about testing hours and locations at each campus in January.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a junior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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