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Your Guide To Penn State’s Spring Semester Pre-Arrival Coronavirus Testing

All Penn State students must participate in coronavirus testing before coming back to school this spring, the university announced earlier this month.

This is especially relevant for students who live on-campus, as they cannot return to campus unless they get tested, already have a positive test on file with the university within the last 90 days, or upload a test result from a third-party PCR testing site.

The university is not *officially* regulating these procedures for students who live off-campus, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get tested. Take advantage of the easy and free testing procedures the university is offering before you come back, as well.

To get the most out of Penn State’s pre-arrival testing, we’ve compiled the information you’ll need to know.

What You’ll Need

Penn State is utilizing the same Vault laboratory testing materials and procedures that it used last fall. And yes, that means awkwardly needing to spit on camera in front of a random stranger over Zoom…again.

Once again, self-testing kits will be free to students. The university is hoping to have a test result on file for all students within 72 hours of their expected return to campus. You’ll need to request your test, take it, mail it back, and receive your results. Be prepared to plan accordingly and check your calendar to make sure your timeline lines up with the university’s requirements. Don’t forget to leave some wiggle room for potential delays, too.

Requesting A Test

Click here to go through Vault Health’s process of requesting and ordering a coronavirus test. The university recommends you start this process at least two weeks before returning to campus.

Each test will have a custom test kit code that you will register to receive your test.

Taking & Sending Back Your Test

Take your test and mail it back five days before you plan on returning to school. Your testing materials will include a pre-paid shipping label. Plan accordingly so you can also schedule a time to take your test while on a call with a Vault Health representative.

You should receive test results within 72 hours of the test arriving at Vault’s lab. Students will be able to track the progress of their test through the university’s “Know Your Health” portal.

‘Know Your Health’ Portal

You’ll be able to track the progress and status of your test through Penn State’s “Know Your Health” portal. Here, the university will also be able to track your test’s progress.

Uploading A Test Result Through MyUHS

If you have a positive test result within the last 90 days from a third-party PCR source, you can upload your results through MyUHS.

If students plan to return to campus on January 19, their test date must show results from between October 20 and January 7. For those returning closer to the February 15 start of in-person classes, their test results must be from between November 18 and February 3.

If your positive result came from a test administered by Penn State during this time, it is already on file and you don’t have to re-upload it.

The test must be legible and in an image format. Your name, date of birth, type of test performed, third-party provider name, collection date, result date, and result all must be clear.

Students reporting a positive test must either be reporting a positive PCR test, or nucleic acid amplification test.

You’ll have an option to report a COVID-19 test result from the homepage.

When you choose that option, you’ll be redirected to your MyUHS inbox. Students will then have to draft a new message and indicate that they want to upload a test result from a separate facility.

You’ll be notified through your MyUHS inbox about whether your test was accepted and if any any further steps are necessary.

Questions & Concerns

Students who are having difficulties or delays with their Vault Health test can reach out to either the COVID-19 Response Center at 814-865-2121 or email [email protected]

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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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