Houston Hall and the Du Bois COVID-19 testing sites, Penn’s main testing centers on campus, permanently closed on May 23 after two years of operation.
All University testing will be conducted at the new PennCares testing site on 3734 Spruce St., marking a significant step by the University toward post-pandemic normalcy. The testing sites were created at the beginning of the pandemic in collaboration with PennMedicine.
“We are incredibly grateful to all those who worked to support this endeavor, and we happily return the Hall of Flags and the open space where the tent has stood for the past two years to be used for other campus-wide events and activities,” Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé told The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The total number of tests administered at the University dropped significantly this semester because of optional testing. As of March 15, COVID-19 screening testing became optional for boosted students. Only unvaccinated and partially vaccinated faculty, postdoctoral students, students, and staff are still required to test twice a week.
During the week from May 8 to May 14, a total of 2,931 tests were done — a number that has remained relatively constant over the past three weeks. In comparison, during the week of Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 — students' first week on campus — a total of 14,227 tests were done.
PennCares staff has collectively provided over 800,000 COVID-19 tests to the Penn community during the pandemic.
The University will continue to evaluate the needs for testing on campus for the fall semester, Dubé told the DP. PennCares has also stopped updating the COVID-19 dashboard and will continue to monitor campus positivity and trends in the surrounding communities.