Faculty and Staff Spring 2020-2021 COVID-19 Testing Approach

Penn’s on-campus COVID-19 testing program for the 2021 spring semester was developed in partnership with Penn Medicine. Three distinct protocols are being used: gateway, screening, and symptomatic/close contact. Screening is accomplished through saliva-based tests. In contrast to familiar nasal swabs, used for symptomatic and close contact testing, saliva samples are collected non-invasively. Samples are analyzed on or near campus, allowing for more rapid results.

Who Must Be Tested

In order to offer important additional protection for the Penn community, screening testing will be required for faculty and staff who are on campus for four or more hours each week interacting with other community members, or whose activities on campus involve teaching, or who are regularly in an aggregate setting of ten or more people in a single shared space on campus.

All other faculty and staff who are engaged in any on-campus activities are encouraged to participate in screening testing.

Penn Medicine faculty, housestaff, medical students on clinical rotations, and staff will continue to follow the current health system guidelines for screening using PennOpen Pass. A detailed testing protocol, designed to ensure a safe and efficient process, will be provided before the spring semester gets underway.

Eligibility and Required Testing

Faculty and staff who plan to live in College Houses must receive COVID-19 gateway testing.

Anyone coming from outside the United States or from states specified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the City of Philadelphia must arrive 14 days prior to the start of classes to complete the 14-day precautionary travel quarantine. They will receive gateway testing immediately upon arriving on campus. Results of the gateway test do not change the requirement to quarantine for 14 days. One cannot test out of quarantine.

Once-weekly screening is required for faculty and staff who meet the testing criteria.

Symptomatic and Close Contact
Before coming to campus, faculty and staff are required to perform daily symptom checks and exposure reporting on PennOpen Pass. Anyone who receives a Red Pass will be instructed regarding testing, self-isolation, and other steps to follow. Everyone must show their Green Pass to enter University buildings or board Penn Transit.

The test is free.

Screening Testing Details

Before Getting a Screening Test

Participants must refrain from eating, drinking, tooth brushing, mouth washing, gum chewing, vaping, and tobacco use for at least 30 minutes before submitting their saliva sample at the test location.

Participants should plan to be “hands-free” during the testing process. Storage of personal possessions will not be available. At testing sites, participants will enter through one location and exit at another location. 

Participants should make sure to bring their current PennCard. They should perform their daily symptom check on PennOpen Pass before leaving their residence, and only leave it if they have a Green Pass. They will need to show their Green Pass at the testing site.

While lining up outside the testing location, everyone should wear a face covering and practice physical distancing.