Penn State COVID-19 testing: Here’s what you need to know for the spring

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State has released their comprehensive strategy for COVID-19 for the spring semester, which includes required and voluntary testing from the student body.

According to the university, the testing strategy is designed to be flexible as circumstances surrounding the pandemic change. The plan features several different categories, which can be explained below:

REMOTE PERIOD TESTING

Students who continued to live in campus residence halls over winter break are required to have weekly COVID-19 tests until Feb. 12, the end of the remote period for the semester. The university will send out weekly emails with instructions on how to get tested.

Here are the testing locations:

  • UNIVERSITY PARK: The Hintz Family Alumni Center
  • PENN STATE ALTOONA, BEHREND AND HARRISBURG: Tests will be distributed on campus.
  • ALL OTHER COMMONWEALTH CAMPUSES: Tests will be ordered through the mail.

Students that are living near a Penn State campus during the remote period are strongly encouraged to get tested, but not required.

REQUIRED TESTING

According to PSU, all students from all campuses are required to get tested and have a negative test result from a University-provided test on file prior to their return to campus. This includes students who are fully online or remote that live in Centre County or within a 20-mile radius of a Penn State campus.

This required testing also includes students who remained in their campus community throughout the winter break. Penn State must receive the test results within 72 hours of the student’s arrival to campus. Third-party test results will not be accepted.

Students who tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 90 days of their arrival are exempt from the initial required testing, according to PSU.

FIRST TWO WEEKS

All students who are taking in-person classes and students who are fully remote that live in Centre County or within a 20-mile radius of a Penn State campus will be tested again during the first two weeks of in-person learning.

THROUGHOUT THE SEMESTER

Students displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested through a university health care provider.

Walk-up testing will also be available throughout the semester at the Hintz Alumni Center and Pegula Ice Arena.

RANDOM TESTING

Random testing will start on Feb. 15 for employees and on March 1 for students. This will be daily random testing of 2% of the university population.

“Our surveillance testing program is key to gauging the prevalence of the virus on our campus and to minimizing spread,” said Kelly Wolgast, director of the University’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center. “We all need to do our part to help, and that includes participating in the random surveillance testing when you are selected to do so. This data is vital in our efforts to maintain on-campus activities as safely as we can.”

For more information on COVID-19 protocols at Penn State, visit their official coronavirus information website.

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