UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — All students are required to participate in COVID-19 testing and have a negative result on file prior to returning to their campus community. This includes graduate students and students who have remained on campus or lived near campus during the winter break.
Students must have a test result on file with the University within 72 hours before they are back on campus, move into on-campus housing, start on-campus activities, attend classes, or participate in any approved internships or clinical experiences. The date you should take your test depends on your planned return date.
Students who have a positive test on file with the University from within the last 90 days from your planned return date do not need to complete this testing.
Testing will be conducted by Vault Health for all students — at no cost to them — and those who test positive will need to isolate for 10 days before returning to their campus.
As part of the University’s multi-layered approach to mitigating the spread of the virus and deterring its introduction into campus communities, Penn State is requiring this additional testing to begin the in-person component of the spring semester to support the health and safety of the University and surrounding communities.
Students who have received a positive COVID test result within the 90-day window (Nov. 8, 2020 – Feb. 3, 2021) before the start of in-person learning on Feb. 15 and who have submitted approved documentation of that test result (view criteria below) to the University are not required to participate in additional testing. Students can follow the steps below to submit that documentation.
If you received a positive result from a test administered by Penn State (for example, University Health Services, Commonwealth Campus nurse, Penn State departure testing, on-campus testing through Vault Health) your result is on record with the University. You can confirm your status and eligibility for testing by visiting the Know Your Status Portal.
If you received a positive test result from a third-party vendor not affiliated with the University (for example, an urgent care clinic, primary care physician), you can notify the University of your result by submitting your test result through myUHS.
Once you submit this test result, you will receive a secure email from myUHS to your Penn State email address directing you to login to myUHS to review your messages, which will let you know if your result was accepted or alert you to any further action you need to take. After three business days, you can confirm your status and eligibility for testing by visiting the Know Your Status Portal. Please be aware that this process takes several days to confirm and plan that time into your return plans.
For the University to accept a positive test result from a third party and exempt a student from additional testing, the test result must meet the following criteria.
- The test result image must be legible and in an image format (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .tif).
- The result must include: patient name, patient date of birth, type of test performed, third-party provider name, collection date, result date, and result.
- The result must be from a PCR or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT); rapid antigen tests and antibody tests will not be accepted.
- The result must be positive (showing that you had the virus).
- The test must have been performed by a third-party vendor (for example, an urgent care facility or primary care physician).
- The test must have been performed within the 90-day window before your return.
The 90-day test window exemption is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 should not be retested within three months. A person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to three months. If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are retested within three months of your initial infection, you may continue to have a positive test result, even though you are not spreading COVID-19.
The 90-day window of Nov. 8, 2020 – Feb. 3, 2021 is based on an in-person start date of Feb. 15, 2021, and is subject to change. The University is urging students who live off campus to postpone their return to their campus community unless it is necessary for work, academic-program-specific reasons or other important circumstances. Students who must return to their campus community before Feb. 15 should note that the timing to complete a test or to upload a test result to the University will vary based on the student’s planned return date. Students who plan to return on Jan. 19 would need to submit a positive test result from Oct. 20, 2020 – Jan. 7, 2021.
While students who have tested positive and provided documentation will be exempt from this initial testing, once the 90-day window expires students must resume participation in all University testing requirements.