Some students at Pennsylvania State University’s main University Park campus have not complied with the school’s pre-arrival testing for the coronavirus and could soon face disciplinary measures — or even be kicked out for the semester, the school said.
Some Penn State students, who have returned to statewide campuses for the fall semester, were selected for mandatory testing for the virus before arriving on campus. Those selected were either coming to school from coronavirus hot spots or were participating in welcoming other students to campus.
Compliance was very strong among students living on campus because they needed a test to get access to campus housing, the school’s vice president told University Park deans on Friday.
But “a number” of University Park students living off campus have not been tested, vice president and provost Nick Jones said, outlining some steps the university is taking to help students get their coronavirus tests. The school will begin discipline processes for those who do not begin making arrangements for testing by 8 a.m. Monday, said the email, which was obtained by The Inquirer.
If they don’t get tested by Friday, the university may cancel their semester registration, a university spokesperson told The Inquirer on Saturday.
“The pre-arrival testing is a critical part of the University’s multi-layered approach to returning to our campuses and mitigating the spread of the virus,” the spokesperson, Wyatt DuBois, wrote in an email. “The University is providing on-campus testing sites this weekend for students to initiate the testing process.”
At State College, some Penn State students were seen partying and congregating after move-in, prompting president Eric Barron to warn that the university could shut down in-person instruction if students continue to flout safety guidelines.
Other universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Notre Dame, have already done so after their campuses saw virus outbreaks following reopening. Villanova and La Salle are among universities that have issued similar warnings to their students.
On Friday, Temple University’s student government called on the school administration to end all nonessential in-person classes and to close all campus housing, except to students with housing insecurity.
The faculty union, the Temple Association of University Professionals, voiced its support.
“TAUP calls on the administration to listen to the voices of its elected student leaders — the people we are all here to serve — as well as the union representing the vast majority of its faculty (along with librarians and academic professionals),” said Steve Newman, the association’s president, in a statement Saturday. “It’s time to go online before more damage is done.”
In addition to the testing, Penn State has guidelines for masks, physical distancing, and continuous surveillance testing.
“Pre-arrival testing was designed to reduce the number of infected students on campus, and is just one of many health and safety practices that the University is undertaking,” Jones wrote.
The university did not immediately respond to a request for further comment Saturday.
Penn State students who were chosen for testing but tell the university they are taking only online courses and are not living in the Centre County region will not be required to complete the test, according to the email.
Staff writer Susan Snyder contributed to this article.