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Penn State Details On-Arrival COVID-19 Testing Plans

Students who haven’t shared their COVID-19 vaccination status with Penn State will need to jump through a few hoops before moving in next week.

As announced during August 3’s university town hall, on-arrival COVID-19 testing will be required for all students who haven’t told Penn State they’re vaccinated. They’ll need to take a rapid test and obtain a negative result before they’re able to move in starting on Monday, August 16.

Upon their arrival, students with an “incomplete” (read: unsubmitted) vaccination status will be shuttled from the Bryce Jordan Center to get tested at the White Building. The process, which uses rapid tests, should obtain results within 15-20 minutes.

Families won’t accompany students who need to get tested at the White Building. Those getting tested should bring their smartphones and Penn State IDs. Masks are also required on the shuttle and inside all campus buildings.

Students who test negative will get shuttled back to the Bryce Jordan Center to carry on with their move-in process. Those who test positive must spend the next 10 days isolating on campus or at home.

All students who test positive will take a secondary PCR test to confirm the positive result. The more accurate process can take up to 48 hours. On the bright side, anyone who tests negative through a secondary test can leave isolation early and resume moving in.

“We understand that the on-arrival testing process is an additional step now added for some students to the move-in day activities, however it is a necessary step to help keep our campus safe as students from across the country and around the world move into close living quarters,” said Kelly Wolgast, director of Penn State’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center.

Penn State will not accept negative COVID-19 tests from off-campus sources during move-in. However, those who’ve tested positive within 90 days can provide information to University Health Services.

Off-campus students can receive on-arrival testing, too. However, priority will be granted to those living in the dorms.

Penn State’s official deadline to submit proof of vaccination (and avoid on-arrival testing) was August 9. University Health Services is still processing some submissions, though. Students should check MyUHS or eLiving to verify their testing status.

All students who don’t share their vaccination status with the university will undergo required weekly COVID-19 testing this fall (or until they submit proof of vaccination). Drop-in testing will be available at Pegula Ice Arena and the White Building. UHS will offer symptomatic testing for students, too.

Penn State said it will announce testing plans for unvaccinated faculty and staff soon. In the meantime, they can share their vaccine status online.

Last week, Penn State doubled down on its commitment to avoiding a vaccine mandate for students and employees. However, administrators strongly encouraged vaccinations for all who are eligible.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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