Random COVID-19 testing of employees and students to begin Monday

Testing to be conducted using nasal swabs

The former FedEx Office (Kinko’s) building at 101 North Atherton St., located at the intersection of North Atherton Street and West College Avenue, is one of two sites on the University Park campus where the University will conduct random COVID-19 testing. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – With the conclusion of the required universal COVID-19 testing period, Penn State will resume random testing of its on-campus students and employees on Monday (March 1) as part of the University’s spring 2021 student testing strategy.

The University will conduct random testing each day of 1% to 2% of its population of students and employees living, learning or working on campus as well as those who access campus. This includes all employees who are listed in the return to work database and students who are taking in-person classes or living within 20 miles of a campus. Based on the experience from this fall, this level of random testing is sufficient to help identify trends and monitor changes in the virus prevalence on campuses.

What you need to know about random testing

Check your email: Students and employees who are randomly selected for this testing will receive an email from in their Penn State email account with a link to a website where they can register for testing. Employee supervisors are also notified as part of this process. Those who are selected to participate in random testing are required to complete a COVID-19 test, with a few exceptions.

When and where: At University Park, random testing will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Mount Nittany Club in Beaver Stadium and at 101 North Atherton St., the former FedEx Office (Kinko’s) building located on the intersection of North Atherton Street and West College Avenue. The 8 to 9 a.m. hour is reserved for employee appointments only. At the Commonwealth Campuses, random testing for both employees and students will be conducted either through Vault Health mail-in tests, or through Vault Health tests distributed on campus. Locations on other Penn State campuses will vary and will be communicated directly to those selected to participate in random testing.

What to expect: Random testing will be conducted using anterior nares (nasal) swabs. This is not the invasive swab test and the test will not hurt, but may be uncomfortable. The anterior nares swabbing process involves placing a swab inside the individual’s nostril and rotating the swab against the wall of the nostril for 15 seconds, and then repeating this process in the second nostril. A staff member will be available to guide individuals through the process.

For more information on the University’s spring 2021 testing strategy, including information on on-demand testing, visit online.

Last Updated March 03, 2021