Vaccines ‘strongly encouraged’ at Penn State, not required

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccines will not be required at Penn State University for the 2021 fall semester

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State is adjusting its COVID-19 health and safety plan for the 2021 fall semester as cases of the Delta variant increases across the country.

The university held a town hall on Aug. 3 after the Penn State University Park Undergraduate Association sent a letter to the Board of Trustees, requesting COVID-19 vaccines to be required.

Penn State is not requiring vaccinations for students, faculty and staff. Instead, it is strongly encouraged. They are also encouraged to share their vaccination status with the university as soon as possible. Any students and employees that have not informed the university that they are fully vaccinated by Aug. 9 will undergo required weekly COVID-19 testing in the fall, including a required test upon arrival to campus if they live in a residence hall.

Unvaccinated students with negative COVID-19 test results will be allowed to move into their residence halls. Any student that tests positive will have the option to isolate for 10 days on-campus or return home for 10 days.

On-arrival testing is also available for students who live off-campus, but Penn State said priority testing during move-in dates will be for on-campus students. They will not accept a negative test result from an off-campus test source.

On-campus students who are unvaccinated will be required to take weekly COVID-19 tests throughout the semester or until they are fully vaccinated and share that update with the university. Off-campus students will go through regular testing throughout the fall semester, but the frequency was not specified.

EMPLOYEE TESTING

Faculty and staff at University Park who are working on campus and have not shared with the University that they are vaccinated for COVID-19 will receive a weekly email from PSUCOVIDtesting@psu.edu. The email will notify them that they must get tested within the week and will include instructions on how to schedule a testing appointment on campus.

More specific information on guidelines for staff members and faculty can be found on Penn State’s website.

“While the University is not currently requiring vaccinations, Penn State is not impartial when it comes to getting vaccinated,” the university said in a news release. “The University’s stance is that everyone who can get a vaccine should do so as soon as possible to attain very high vaccination rates on all Penn State campuses.”

“I’m very much looking forward to welcoming our community back to our campuses this fall,” President Barron said. “While this pandemic continues, though, it is going to take all of us — students, faculty and staff — doing our part to have a safe and successful on-campus experience. We may have to change some of our approaches as the fall semester unfolds, and we have built ‘on-ramps’ and ‘off-ramps’ into our fall plans to be able to do so, but all of our community efforts will be worthwhile so we can come together again on our campuses across Pennsylvania. As we have done from the beginning of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor conditions closely and adjust our mitigation strategies depending on the state of the virus.”

The University Park campus is holding a vaccine clinic Aug. 23 and 24 at UHS. They will be distributing the Moderna vaccine; vaccines will also be available on Thursdays and Fridays starting Sept. 2.

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