UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — More than five weeks into the fall semester, the COVID-19 vaccination rates among students, faculty and staff at University Park are continuing to rise as the positivity rate of University COVID-19 testing declines. The University continues to strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and influenza, as in-person classes will continue after Thanksgiving break.
As of Oct. 1, more than 90% of students living on campus at University Park have confirmed with the University that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 86% of students living off campus have uploaded proof of vaccination, and the overall vaccination rate among all students at University Park is more than 87%.
Full-time academic personnel have a vaccination rate of more than 96% and administrators are vaccinated at a rate of 98%. Full-time nonunion staff have a vaccination rate of approximately 85% and the overall vaccination rate among employees at University Park is approximately 81%.
"I'm pleased to see the vaccination rates at University Park continuing to climb," said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “As we head into flu season, it’s more important than ever that everyone in our community gets vaccinated for COVID-19 and influenza. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your friends, family and fellow Penn Staters from getting seriously ill and will help us to be able to remain together on our campuses this fall.”
Vaccination rates on Penn State Commonwealth Campuses also are climbing and each campus is working on strategies specific to the needs of their students, faculty and staff to increase their vaccination rates, which can be viewed on the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.
As part of the University’s fall health and safety plans, students, faculty and staff who have not shared with the University that they are fully vaccinated are required to test weekly for COVID-19. Starting this week, this requirement is being extended to unvaccinated part-time employees who work in the classroom. Face masks continue to be required by all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, inside campus buildings.
Significant consequences are in place through the Office of Student Conduct and Human Resources for those who do not comply with the required testing, up to and including separation from the University. To keep as many students as possible from facing interim suspension or expulsion, Student Affairs is contacting students facing these disciplinary measures to assist with any issues the students might be experiencing. Human Resources is examining employee testing data to determine the number of faculty and staff who are not in compliance.
In addition to required testing, the University offers drop-in testing for students, faculty and staff at University Park who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who have been identified through contact tracing as a close contact of an infected individual. Testing for students who have symptoms of COVID-19 is available through University Health Services (UHS).
As of Oct. 1, the seven-day positivity rate of all testing conducted by Penn State at University Park is 0.7%. The rate among student testing is 0.6% and the rate among employee testing is 1.2%. Out of 7,606 tests administered by the University over the past seven days, 51 have returned positive results.
There are currently 23 students in isolation in University Park isolation space, and three students housed in quarantine.
With Thanksgiving break a little more than seven weeks away, Penn State is urging all students who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin the process now so that they can be fully vaccinated before leaving campus for the break. Anyone who is traveling for the holiday should be fully vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu, continue to wear a mask and frequently wash hands to help prevent the spread of disease.
Throughout the fall semester, Penn State will have COVID-19 vaccines available on or near all campuses. At University Park, first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine are readily available for Penn State students every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Student Health Center. Students can schedule appointments online through UHS.
All three authorized COVID-19 vaccines are readily available at hospitals, urgent care centers, doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Providers can be easily located by visiting Vaccines.gov.
UHS is hosting at least two additional flu vaccine clinics for University Park students this fall and may schedule more times to offer the flu vaccine to students. The next clinic is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 25 in Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center. Appointments must be scheduled in advance through myUHS; drop-in appointments are not available.
Penn State Human Resources offers three ways for faculty and staff to receive a free flu vaccine. Employees and eligible spouses who are members of Penn State's health care plan can receive a vaccine at any network pharmacy or at their primary care physician’s office. All employees can utilize drive-through clinics, which will be held at most campuses in late September through October. Employees who do not participate in the Penn State health care plan, or who are not benefit-eligible, can also request a free voucher to receive a vaccine at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid and Safeway pharmacies, where available. Faculty and staff should visit the flu vaccine webpage to see the vaccine clinic schedule and instructions on how to register.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is safe to get both a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.