How does Penn State plan to manage the risk of inviting students back to campuses who could potentially reintroduce COVID-19?
Maintaining the health and safety of the campus and local communities is the top priority driving Penn State’s decision-making and policy changes as it relates to the pandemic. The University is asking students, prior to returning to campus, if they have exhibited COVID-like symptoms or have reason to believe they were exposed to COVID-19, to self-quarantine and seek testing in consultation with their health care provider. Further, as a precaution, the University encourages all students who can to self-quarantine prior to arrival.
Penn State also will encourage flu vaccination for all students before the onset of flu season, or certainly before the start of the spring semester, with an eye toward addressing the complicated season that is likely to include flu along with COVID-19, and to reducing as much as possible, a demand for health facilities in order to maintain capacity for the severely ill. At University Park, Penn State’s largest campus, officials are working closely with Mount Nittany Medical Center as part of collaboration with local public health entities, in accordance with state guidance. In addition, partnerships in the communities in which Commonwealth Campuses are situated also are taking place.
All actions being implemented are based on guidance from Penn State health experts and scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, among others. The University will meet or exceed the expectations for colleges and universities outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for returning students and employees to campus.