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coronavirus-testing-houston-hall-tent

COVID-19 testing will be available for students living on and off campus in Houston Hall from Monday through Saturday until Sept. 12. 

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

All students returning to Philadelphia this fall will be eligible for free COVID-19 testing upon arrival. Beginning Sept. 14, testing will only be available for symptomatic students and those identified in a higher risk category. 

Gateway testing — the testing of asymptomatic students arriving in Philadelphia — is available in the Hall of Flags in Houston Hall Monday through Saturday until Sept. 12, Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian on Thursday. All undergraduate students living in the immediate Philadelphia area must get tested a second time seven days after their first test, according to the Wellness Services COVID-19 FAQ.

Testing will resume on Sept. 14 only for symptomatic students identified through the PennOpen Pass daily symptom check program, and for asymptomatic students in a higher risk category to undergo surveillance testing, Dubé wrote.

“Gateway testing, symptomatic testing, and surveillance testing are being offered at no cost to students in an effort to improve our ability to quickly identify cases, initiate isolation protocols and contact investigations,” Dubé wrote.

Testing is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m on Saturdays. 

Penn will perform thermal screening at the testing site, requiring students to wait by the tents outside Irvine Auditorium. Students must bring a completed requisition form, their Penn ID, and another form of ID to the testing site. Students must also wear a face mask and complete the PennOpen Pass for the day.

Penn will administer the lower nostril, less-invasive nasal test. Dubé wrote the testing process should take approximately 10 minutes.

Students must begin quarantining in their residence immediately after their tests until they receive their results through Student Health Services' secure messaging system, which will take 24 hours, according to the FAQ.

Students living on campus must be tested before entering their residential building and quarantine until they receive their test results, Deputy Provost Beth Winkelstein and Vice President of Business Services Divisions Marie Witt wrote in a Wednesday email to students accepted to live in on-campus housing. Those arriving from a designated coronavirus “hot spot” or an international location must continue to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"This cannot be enforced [for students living off campus], but the recommendation is consistent with current federal, state, and local public health guidance," the FAQ reads.

Students who are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are tested through Penn Medicine’s testing site at 4040 Market Street, Dubé wrote. 

To promote social distancing, Penn will not be able to accommodate walk-in testing appointments.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.