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Green Open Pass from Feb. 14, 2021. Credit: Marija Westfall

The University's PennOpen Pass symptom and exposure tracker has been recently updated to provide guidance for students who test positive for COVID-19.

The new technology within PennOpen Pass allows students to receive “immediate guidance,” especially clinical guidance from Student Health Service. Students who receive a red PennOpen Pass due to testing positive can expect instant information and answers from PennOpen Pass and will automatically be put on the Penn Wellness team’s radar, allowing them to be contacted and receive more professional guidance.

Director for Campus Health Ashlee Halbritter said that students who test positive for COVID-19 through a rapid test should first report their positive result through PennOpen Pass. Students who test positive through a Penn Cares COVID-19 test will automatically earn a red PennOpen Pass.

PennOpen Pass is a daily symptom tracker used by the University to help track symptoms and exposures. Community members filling out PennOpen Pass are asked whether they have been in contact with someone in their house that has been newly diagnosed with COVID-19, whether they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, and whether they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous five days.

“The reason we want people to use PennOpen Pass is that even though it is not a doorway entry tool, it is a public health tool,” Halbritter said.

To maintain a green PennOpen Pass — needed to enter some campus facilities such as Houston Hall and Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center — students must participate in actively reporting symptoms and exposures, in addition to engaging in the Penn Cares screening testing program. Fully vaccinated students are required to test once every other week, and unvaccinated community members are required to test twice each week.

In October 2021, over 9,000 students received a red PennOpen Pass for non-compliance with the biweekly testing policy.

Student Health Service Medical Director Vanessa Stoloff told the Daily Pennsylvanian that the University is “constantly tweaking” PennOpen Pass to make it not just more user friendly, but also more helpful on community members’ end.

“We are working on trying to have a PennOpen Pass that gives you upfront the information needed, instead of seeking it on the back end, which is the way it was initially set up,” Stoloff said, referring to the email students should expect to receive with specific isolation and return-to-class dates after reporting a positive COVID-19 test through PennOpen Pass.

Stoloff also said that it is in community members’ “best interest” to use PennOpen Pass every day, even if they might not be entering the classroom or the library, saying “it just makes it easier.”