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01-19-21-penn-covid-19-testing-sites-dubois-rodin-high-rise-field-tent-sarah-ramadan-kylie-cooper

College junior Sarah Ramadan checks the level of her test tube while getting tested at the DuBois/Rodin Field site on Jan. 19.

Credit: Kylie Cooper

All vaccinated undergraduate and graduate students returning to campus in the fall will be required to receive COVID-19 screening tests twice a month beginning Sept. 13, University officials announced Wednesday. 

Penn President Amy Gutmann, Interim Provost Beth Winkelstein, and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli announced new COVID-19 protocols amid heightened concern about the Delta variant in an email to the Penn community Wednesday afternoon. In addition to the bi-monthly testing, gateway testing — the initial test students receive upon arrival to campus — will be expanded to all students, faculty, and postdocs. Faculty, staff, and postdocs are required to schedule and complete gateway testing by Sept. 17 according to the email. 

Students will also again be required to participate in PennOpen Pass to track daily symptoms, the email said. Undergraduates and graduates will test on alternating weeks.

“The recent emergence of the Delta variant exemplifies the type of development that merits a reexamination and expansion of our safety measures,” the administrators wrote. 

Previously, only unvaccinated students were required to participate in regular testing as part of the Penn Cares protocol. While there is a requirement for all students coming to campus to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, unvaccinated students with medical or religious exemptions will continue to be required to test twice a week, while vaccinated students will test every other week. 

The announcement comes three weeks after another recent policy change, when administrators announced that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be required to wear masks indoors on campus. The email also stated that more than 88% of students have reported being fully vaccinated, with a deadline for students, faculty, and postdocs to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.  

Penn is continuing to hold some vaccine clinics at Student Health Service on 35th and Market streets during the fall semester for those who have not yet received the vaccine. 

According to the email, the University will continue to update its guidelines based on public health data, saying that quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing policies may be expanded.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that students, faculty, and staff returning to campus in the fall will be required to receive COVID-19 screening tests twice a month beginning Sept. 13, when, in fact, only students will be required to undergo bi-monthly testing. The headline and text of this story have been updated accordingly. The DP regrets this error.

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