Student FAQs

This information is continually updated based on current public health guidance. 

New COVID-19
Quarantine and Isolation Guidance
(as of December 31, 2021)

  1. What is the new isolation guidance for students, faculty, staff, and postdocs at the University?

    Per the new guidance from the CDC, as of December 31, 2021, the University requires all fully vaccinated students, faculty, staff, and postdocs to isolate for five days after a positive COVID-19 test and mask around others for an additional 5 days after isolation. This revised CDC guidance does include stricter isolation requirements for certain groups of people, notably those living in congregate settings. 

    The following groups present an exception to the 5-day isolation guidance, and must isolate for 10 or 21 days: 

    • Unvaccinated students, faculty, staff, and postdocs: 10 days isolation
    • Immunocompromised students, faculty, staff, and postdocs: 21 days isolation
    • Students for whom masking the full 5 days post-isolation is not possible (e.g. student athletes who compete mask-less): 10 days isolation
    • Most students who live in college houses or in Greek housing will have a modified 5-day isolation period that allows them to reintegrate campus activities during the day, wearing a mask around others, on day 6, but then requires them to return to their isolation space overnight through day 10.

    Individual responsibility is key and all members of the community will be expected to dutifully wear masks around others when required. Return from isolation dates are subject to change depending on the specific circumstances. Should further clarification and guidance be needed, a contact tracer will follow-up on a case-by-case basis.

    All positive cases must be asymptomatic OR have improving symptoms and be fever free to be cleared to return to campus

  2. What is the new quarantine guidance for students, faculty, staff, and postdocs at the University?

    Per the new guidance from the CDC, as of December 31, 2021, those who have been exposed to COVID-19 within a household or through an intimate partner do not need to quarantine if fully vaccinated, but should monitor for symptoms and test at symptom onset. Those exposed to COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine for 7 days, test immediately, and monitor for symptoms.

  3. Will students still be isolating in on-campus housing?

    Given the higher number of students testing positive during this phase of the pandemic, we have been identifying potential additional isolation spaces for students in on-campus housing. However, if we reach capacity in our designated isolation spaces and/or more students test positive before isolation spaces become available, COVID-positive students may be required to isolate in place. We will continue to consult public health experts and keep the community updated if plans change. 

COVID-19 Vaccination and Booster

Vaccine and Booster Requirements

  1. Are the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot mandatory for Penn students?

    Students, faculty, staff, and postdocs are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including the COVID-19 booster, and must submit documentation of vaccination in the appropriate system of record.

    Online students who do not plan to come to campus are not required to report their vaccine status and there will be no consequence for not reporting it.

  2. Am I required to have screening testing if I have been vaccinated against COVID-19?

    Visit the Testing Program page for the most up-to-date screening testing guidance for all University members. 

  3. Will Penn offer the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Full vaccination prior to arrival on campus is required. For those students who were unable to access vaccine in their home locations, please visit

  4. Which vaccines will be accepted?

    Penn will accept the vaccines listed below: 

    • Pfizer-BioNTech (fully approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration)
    • Moderna (granted emergency use authorization (EUA) through the United States’ Food and Drug Administration)
    • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (granted emergency use authorization (EUA) through the United States’ Food and Drug Administration)

    Additionally, there are numerous vaccines that are available in other countries. Penn will accept those that have been “pre-qualified” or authorized for “Emergency Use Listing” (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO) evaluation process. As of June 4, this list also includes:

    • AstraZeneca/Oxford
    • Covishield
    • Sinopharm
    • Sinovac

    Additional vaccines may be authorized in the coming months. The WHO vaccine evaluation list can be found on the WHO's Emergency Use Listing for COVID-19 Vaccines page, under the Status of COVID-19 Vaccines within WHO EUL/PQ evaluation process link. When accessing this document, the word "finalized" must appear under Status of Assessment. 

  5. Should I delay getting the vaccine offered in my home country and wait until I arrive at Penn?

    At this time, Penn strongly encourages students, including international students, to get whatever vaccine is available to them. If a vaccine series is started that is not available in the US, Penn encourages you to finish that vaccine series before traveling to the US. COVID-19 continues to spread globally resulting in serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Vaccination is the best way to prevent spread of virus and new variants.

    It is expected that guidelines for those receiving international vaccines will continue to evolve. Please submit proof of vaccination to the Student Health portal: 

  6. I received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not available in the US, should I be re-vaccinated here?

    If a vaccine series is started that is not available in the US, Penn encourages you to finish that vaccine series before traveling to the US. COVID-19 continues to spread globally resulting in serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. Vaccination is the best way to prevent spread of virus and new variants.

    It is expected that guidelines for those receiving international vaccines will continue to evolve. Please submit proof of vaccination to the Student Health portal. 

  7. Where should I upload my vaccine record?

    Immunization records should be uploaded to the Student Health Service portal. 

  8. How many doses will I need to get?

    The vaccines that are currently available and authorized by the Federal Drug Administration are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna both require two doses in order to provide protection against COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose. 

    In addition to the original two dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and the one dose of Johnson & Johnson, a booster shot is also required five months after a two-dose series and two months after a one dose vaccine. 

  9. Do I have to get the same type of vaccine for my booster shot?

    No. The CDC and FDA have approved mixing vaccine manufacturers for the booster shot. 

  10. How will I know when it's time to come back for my second dose?

    The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine second dose will occur between 19-23 days following the first dose. The Moderna vaccine second dose will occur between 26-30 days following the first dose. 

  11. Will the University provide the booster shot/third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Visit the Getting Vaccinated page for more information.

  12. When am I eligible to receive the booster shot?

    According to the CDC, individuals are eligible for a booster five months after their second dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or two months after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Those who received a vaccine listed on the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot six months after completion of their vaccination series. For more information, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots website.

  13. Can I receive the booster shot if I have/had COVID-19?

    Yes. People 16 years of age and older who experience COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated can, and should, receive a booster dose. People with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should defer vaccination until symptoms have improved and the 10 day isolation period is complete. If you have had severe COVID-19 symptoms, please follow-up with your primary care physician for specific guidance for your booster shot. 

About the COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. What have we learned about the vaccine since the first shots were administered?

    The vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective in preventing hospitalizations, death, and spread of the virus. 

    Visit the CDC website for Key Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines.

  2. How many doses will I need to get?

    The vaccines that are currently available and authorized by the Federal Drug Administration are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna both require two doses in order to provide protection against COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose.

  3. Do I have to get the same type of vaccine for my second dose?

    Yes, the two doses received by either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech must be from the same manufacturer for both vaccines.

  4. Do the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines contain blood products?

    The manufacturers of the currently-authorized mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, have both indicated that no blood or blood products are used in the manufacturing of their vaccines, and the vaccines do not contain any products of human origin. The Pfizer product does contain materials from bovine milk, but no animal blood or blood products.

  5. Does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine contain the COVID-19 virus?

    No, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not contain the COVID-19 virus. It is a vector vaccine. Vector vaccines use genetic material from the COVID-19 virus that is placed inside a weakened version of another virus, such as one of the viruses that causes the common cold. 

    The weakened virus is then injected into your body, delivering information from the COVID virus. That information instructs your cells to copy the spike protein that is unique to COVID-19 and create antibodies against the spike protein. It is impossible for a viral vector COVID vaccine to cause you to become infected with COVID-19, cause a common cold, or to change your DNA.

  6. Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?

    No. This myth may have arisen from the fact that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines contain messenger RNA. RNA is a type of genetic material, but it’s not the same as DNA. The RNA does not enter the cell nucleus, which is where your DNA lives. It does all of its work in your cell cytoplasm. That’s the outer portion of the cell. Plus, the instructions mRNA (created here at Penn) carries to your cells are only for a piece of SARSCoV-2, not the whole virus.

  7. Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    No. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines.

  8. Are the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being used in the United States developed using fetal tissue?

    No. The COVID-19 vaccines that are either authorized or up for authorization in the United States were not developed — nor do they use in any way, shape, or form — any fetal tissue. Johnson & Johnson used fetal cell cultures when developing its vaccine, but it contains no fetal tissue or fetal cells.

  9. I’ve already had COVID-19. Am I required to get the vaccine?

    Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, people are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have already been sick with COVID-19. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person, and the evidence suggests natural immunity may not last long in some people.

  10. Should I be concerned the vaccine will negatively impact my health?

    The safety of our students, faculty, staff, and postdocs are our highest priority. More than 1.6 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. The risk of side effects from the vaccine is rare and outweighed by the risk of dying from COVID-19. In fact, the vaccines have been proven to be highly effective and safe. Very few recipients of the vaccine have developed COVID-19, and the vaccine has proven to be highly effective in preventing hospitalizations, death, and the spread of the virus.

Public Health Measures

  1. What is the University's current public health guidance?

    For the most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Guidance page. 


  2. Do I need to continue using PennOpen Pass even if I have been fully vaccinated?

    The daily use of PennOpen Pass is required for all on campus to report symptoms and/or exposures to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading within the community. Symptom checks must be completed before the start of each day, including on weekends, to reduce the risk that any COVID-19 case could lead to an outbreak. 

    This tool also helps connect users to official public health guidance and clinical support. Although it is not required for entry into most on-campus buildings, it is needed for entry into healthcare spaces, including Penn Medicine facilities, the Penn Cares testing sites, and Student Health and Counseling offices. 

    Everyone on campus should complete their daily symptom and exposure check.  Be prepared to follow the guidance if PennOpen Pass provides a Red Pass. Be prepared to show a Green Pass as individual Schools and Centers may require its use for building entry.

  3. How should I enter my symptoms in PennOpen Pass in the first 48 hours after receiving my COVID-19 vaccine?

    Do not report symptoms of unusual fatigue, fevers, or chills if you received a COVID vaccine within the past 48 hours. If you have other symptoms or these symptoms persist beyond 48 hours, report as usual. After 48 hours, PennOpen Pass will help distinguish between symptoms related to the vaccine and those which require other clinical guidance.

  4. Now that I'm fully vaccinated, do I still have to wear a mask?

    For the most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Guidance page. 

  5. Where can I find COVID-19 academic information and resources?

    Visit the COVID-19 Academic Information and Resources page provides information about academic issues and resources for students and instructors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For all academic matters, students should continue to work with their academic advisors and advising offices.

    Specific FAQs related to classroom guidance can be found here: COVID-19 FAQs for Students in the Classroom.

  6. What is the current guidance for social events and gatherings?

    Visit the Public Health Guidance page for the most up-to-date information.

  7. Can study breaks and other scheduled grab-and-go events still proceed?

    Yes, student study breaks and other scheduled grab-and-go events can proceed.

  8. Can I still eat with my friends in a Dining Hall?

    Yes, students are still permitted to eat with their friends in Dining Halls, but students should continue to prioritize outdoor eating when possible. 

Classroom Exposure

  1. What is a close contact?

    Close contacts are identified as housemates, roommates, intimate partners, and those who spent 15+ minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case without masks. 

  2. What is the current risk of exposure in classrooms?

    Classroom exposure to a positive COVID case falls under the low-risk / no-risk exposure category in a highly vaccinated, appropriately ventilated and mask-compliant classroom. As such, classroom exposure is not considered to be a medium or high risk unless there is evidence of interactions that foster transmission, such as eating, drinking or lack of masking. Our contact tracing efforts have consistently shown that the highest risk transmissions occur in large, unmasked gatherings where food and drink are shared in close proximity. 

  3. What does the University do when a student tests positive?

    A contact tracer will follow-up with any student who tests positive to ensure the person isolates and gets any needed healthcare, receives public health guidance, and to identify and notify, confidentially, any close contacts.

  4. What does the University do when faculty or staff test positive?

    Faculty and staff who test positive will be notified by Occupational Medicine and instructed to isolate, will be offered any needed healthcare, and will receive public health guidance. Contact tracers will be in touch to do a case interview and help notify, confidentially, any close contacts.

  5. What is contact tracing? How is it conducted?

    Contact tracing is the process by which we determine the risk to other members of the community from a positive case. Trained members of the tracing team will contact the positive case and ask about activities leading up to infection in order to identify the close contacts that may have been exposed. These conversations are thorough, nuanced, and require collaboration between the individual and contact tracer. Notifications are sent to those who have had confirmed exposures of within 6 ft, for 15 minutes or more, without masks. The notification of contacts is performed without identifying the source, but anyone who has had an exposure will be encouraged to monitor symptoms and get tested.

  6. Under what circumstances will an instructor be notified if a student in their course tests positive?

    A student may contact the instructor directly to make them aware of their absence. In this scenario, no further action is necessary by the instructor unless they hear from our contact tracing team. Instructors will only be notified directly if contact tracing reveals evidence of behaviors suggesting medium or high risk exposure.

  7. What should an instructor do if they learn that a student in their course tests positive? May an instructor shift a course to remote delivery?

    No action is required of instructors if they learn of a positive student in their course. If many students are absent, and in accordance with their School's guidance, instructors may consider temporarily going to remote delivery because of decreased attendance. Schools with undergraduate programs can provide guidance for short-term shifts to remote delivery in undergraduate courses. Instructors must consult this guidance to determine if they may offer course sessions online, and if so, how long they may do so before returning to in-person instruction. Instructors must consult their dean or department chair before offering sessions for graduate courses online.

    Instructors who are concerned about a possible exposure risk but have not been contacted by our contact tracing team may identify this exposure through PennOpen Pass or schedule a COVID test through the Penn Cares testing site.

  8. Under what circumstances will faculty or staff learn if a colleague tests positive?

    If the contact tracers determine that others have a medium or high risk exposure through the interview with the positive case, those individuals will be alerted and provided public health guidance.

  9. How are low, medium, and high risk defined? How is the level of risk determined?

    Risk assessment for classroom exposures includes vaccination status, indoor versus outdoor settings, masking, physical proximity, and ventilation. In the case of clinical and lab settings, personal protective equipment (PPE) often mitigates the risk of proximity and length of exposure. In these cases, the contact tracing team will ask very detailed questions about these interactions to ensure the appropriate risk is assigned. 

  10. What should instructors do differently for different levels of risk?

    The guidance associated with low-risk exposure consists of daily symptom monitoring without any need for quarantining or prescribed testing. Since daily symptom monitoring is expected of all members of the Penn community through PennOpen Pass, this is the best course of action. Anyone who learns about a colleague or student who has tested positive and has not been contacted by our contact tracing team should continue to monitor their symptoms daily. If anyone has any concerns about their exposure risk, and believes they had a medium or high risk exposure to this individual, e.g., shared a meal, they should report this through PennOpen Pass and will be connected with our contact tracing team. They can also schedule a COVID test through PennCares testing.

  11. To aid contact tracing, should instructors assign seats and create seating charts?

    In light of our current campus positivity rates, vaccination rates and mask mandate, there is currently no need for seating charts as the nature of classroom interactions is considered low risk / no risk.


  1. What is Gateway testing?

    Gateway testing is an important public health measure to quickly assess and minimize the introduction of the virus in our community. Every member of the University who is coming to campus is required to be tested once upon arrival to campus. This test must be completed through our own Penn Cares testing system in order to be compliant with Gateway Testing requirements.

  2. If I am fully vaccinated, do I need to participate in Gateway Testing?

    Yes, all students on campus for the Fall 2021 semester are required to participate in Gateway Testing, regardless of vaccination status. 

  3. What happens if I test positive during my Gateway or Screening Tests?

    If you test positive during Gateway or Screening Testing, you will be required to isolate for 10 days and cooperate with our contact tracing efforts, even if fully vaccinated, as per our current Public Health Guidance.

    You will receive public health guidance from Campus Health, clinical support from Student Health, and ongoing support from our text-based system, COVID Navigator.

    If you have questions or concerns, reach out to Student Health at 215-746-3535.

  4. What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had an exposure?

    First, report your symptoms and/or exposure through your daily PennOpen Pass attestation. PennOpen Pass will provide guidance for testing and isolation. 

    If you're symptomatic, PennOpen Pass will connect you with Student Health if you need further instructions or medical care. 

    If you've had an exposure, PennOpen Pass will connect you with Campus Health for more instructoins and care.

    If you test positive, you will be required to isolate for 10 days and cooperate with our contact tracing efforts, even if fully vaccinated, as per our current Public Health Guidance.

  5. What is screening testing?

    Screening is intended to identify COVID-19 positivity even if there are no symptoms or known exposure. Screening testing is a critical part of our overall public health strategy to monitor the positivity rates of COVID-19 in our University community. At Penn, we will administer the saliva based PCR test.

  6. What are the guidelines for scheduling a screening test?

    Visit the Testing Program page for the latest screening testing requirements.

  7. What is saliva-based screening?

    Saliva-based testing allows the University to dramatically increase our screening testing capacity. Through our partnership with Penn Medicine, we can offer as many as 40,000 screening tests per week. This FDA-approved, saliva-based assay protocol is effective. 

  8. What method is used for SARS-CoV-2 testing in the Penn Cares program?

    For SARS-CoV-2 testing, the Penn Cares program uses a saliva-based assay manufactured by Fluidigm (Advanta Dx SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Assay). This test is specific for SARS-CoV-2 and does not detect other common respiratory pathogens. 

  9. Does the test method used in the Penn Cares program have an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

    Yes, the Fluidigm Advanta Dx SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Assay has an EUA from the FDA.

  10. Why are we testing saliva for SARS-CoV-2 and how does it compare to nasal swab?

    Saliva is an ideal sample for SARS-CoV-2 testing for many reasons. For one thing, it is easy, safe, and non-invasive to collect. It also compares favorably to nasal swabs in terms of detection rate. The University’s new Saliva COVID-19 Testing Laboratory performed verification studies with more than 1,700 paired nasal swab and saliva samples collected from the University population in the fall of 2020. The saliva and nasal swab results were equivalent in over 99% of cases.

  11. What does a “Not Detected” result mean?

    A “Not Detected” result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the evaluated saliva sample. However, it is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative) in some people infected with SARS-CoV-2. Some possible reasons for such a false negative result include:

    • The level of virus may be too low to detect, which may happen during early or late infection.
    • A variant virus with mutations in one or more gene targets may affect detection. 
    • Biologic variation of infection in different individuals
    • The specimen may be suboptimal which could impact detection (see inconclusive results below)

    Based on currently available data for the asymptomatic University community population, a negative result predicts a greater than 99% likelihood that the participant was not infected with SARS-CoV-2 at the time of sample collection. There is almost a 0% probability of having COVID-19 with consecutive negative results. The Penn Cares program helps minimizes the impact of false negative results by using recurring scheduled testing, which is why the University requires participants to comply with screening requirements.

  12. What does a “Positive” result mean?

    With a positive test result, it is very likely that the tested individual is infected with SARS-CoV-2 and may have COVID-19, whether or not they show any symptoms. The University has procedures in place when a student tests positive or a faculty or staff member tests positive. A smaller possibility exists that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false positive result) particularly when used in a population without many cases of COVID-19 infection.

  13. How are false positive results managed?

    The testing program is by design a mass screening program to protect the University community by keeping the infection rate low when combined with masking, physical distancing, and hand washing.  The mass screening of an asymptomatic population means rare false positive results for an individual may occur but are balanced by the need to detect true positives to keep the infection numbers down for the good of the overall community. A great deal of effort goes into handling the samples with care and attention to detail through all stages of collection, transport, and testing to minimize false positives. Since a false positive cannot be distinguished from a true positive, all positives are treated the same. Except under certain rare circumstances, repeat or confirmatory testing is not indicated.

  14. What does an “Inconclusive” result mean?

    An inconclusive result is one that was neither clearly positive or negative or for which testing was not successful despite repeat attempts. This could be due to the consistency of the saliva or the presence of a substance that inhibits the test (such as food or other materials in the saliva). When providing the next sample after an inconclusive result be sure to follow stated guidelines to not eat, drink, chew gum or put anything in your mouth for 30 minutes before testing. In addition, the ideal saliva sample is collected by drooling rather than spitting into the tube. Excessive bubbles, mucus, and phlegm can affect the ability to perform testing.

  15. What is diagnostic testing?

    Diagnostic testing is intended to identify COVID-19 when there is a reason to suspect that an individual may be infected, such as having symptoms or suspected recent exposure, or to determine resolution of infection. PennOpen Pass will continue to help those who need testing based on symptoms or a notification of exposure to COVID-19. The University administers the nasal PCR test.

  16. Does the testing method used for Penn Cares detect currently known circulating variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

    Yes, the testing method used for Penn Cares saliva-based testing is predicted to detect the B.1.1.7 (UK), B.1.351 (South African), and P.1 (Brazil) variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, the assay does not differentiate between these variants. If other notable variants are identified in the future, their impact on the testing method will also be assessed.

  17. When can I cancel or reschedule a test?

    Make every effort to reschedule or cancel your test appointment 24 hours prior to the testing time. If it is less than 24 hours, please make a new test appointment so that you are compliant with your particular testing protocol.

  18. How safe are the testing sites?

    One of the criteria used for selecting the testing sites was how well the space could support public health recommendations. Information continues to evolve on guidelines for indoor spaces, but all testing sites comply with the following guidelines:

    • at least six feet of distance between participants,
    • one-way circulation through the sites,
    • reduced occupancies,
    • mask wearing,

    Ventilation systems of all the sites were evaluated by a third-party mechanical contractor in January 2021. The results were reviewed by Penn’s Environmental Health and Radiation Safety. All sites have been optimized for increased ventilation following guidelines, as of January 2021, provided by the City of Philadelphia for ventilation of indoor environments.

Contact Tracing

  1. What happens to close contacts?

    Visit the Public Health Guidance page for the most up-to-date information. 

  2. I just found out I may have been exposed to a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case. What do I do now?

    Don’t panic and don't test right away. Testing too early may lead to an innacurate result. Report your exposure through PennOpen Pass or call the University's contact tracers at 215-898-0300.

    Remember, COVID-19 spreads through close contact. Close contact is defined as housemates, roommates, intimate partners, and those who have spent 15+ minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case. Masks help reduce close contact situations. 

    University contact tracers are here to support you. Pay close attention to the testing, quarantine, or isolation guidance provided to you by the contact tracers. Students should reach out to Student Health if they develop symptoms or if symptoms worsen. If Campus Health and Student Health are aware of your exposure, they will reach out frequently throughout your quarantine to check on you and offer support. 

  3. My peer is a confirmed case, why hasn’t anyone contacted me?

    Your name likely did not come up in the investigation. Close contacts are identified as housemates, roommates, intimate partners, and those who spent 15+ minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case. The risk level of each contact will be assigned after the completion of a case investigation where detailed information about the exposure will be collected from the case or PUI (person under investigation).

    If you feel you fit this description, please complete your PennOpen Pass, marking “yes” for contact with a lab confirmed case of COVID 19, and follow the instructions given. This will likely include calling the PennOpen Pass Call Center at 215-573-6355.

Life During Quarantine and Isolation

  1. How long do I need to quarantine if I have exposure?

    Visit the Public Health Guidance page for the most up-to-date information. 

  2. Can I see and be around anyone else living in my home during my quarantine?

    For the most up-to-date information, visit the Testing Positive page. A recommendation to quarantine includes the advice to stay home, mask around others, limit the sharing of bathrooms and common areas (e.g. kitchens, living rooms) with others, increase cleaning of common areas, and physically distancing from others in your home or apartment as much as possible. Penn community members who are asked to quarantine should not travel, go to class, work, or participate in any social activities. They should not host friends or gatherings, and they should not attend gatherings. 

  3. How are you going to monitor off campus students to ensure they stick to quarantines?

    All students in quarantine or isolation will have regular check-ins from the University. Penn expects all students to adhere to the same public health guidance as part of the student Code of Conduct, regardless of whether they live on or off campus.

  4. I have previously tested positive; do I still need to be tested and/or quarantine/isolate?

    It depends. If you have tested positive within 90 days, you should make sure you upload a copy of your positive lab result to your Student Health Portal for review. If you tested positive, but it was more than 90 days ago, you are required to follow the public health guidance

  5. What support will be available for me during my quarantine, whether I live on campus or off campus?

    In all instances of quarantine and isolation, students will receive continued care and support from Wellness at Penn through COVID Navigator, an automated, text-based support program that monitors students and connects them with wellness resources based on a student's individual needs.

    The Wellness resources include:

    • Medical and mental healthcare services through Wellness at Penn's Student Health and Counseling Services
    • Quarantine and isolation guidance and support through Campus Health
    • Resources for those needing help with food access, academic support and more through the Social Needs Response Team (SNRT)

    Find out more about the COVID Navigator program.

  6. What happens to my meals if I am on the dining plan?

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that students on a dining plan understand how to access their meals when they are sick, in quarantine, or isolation or Students can follow instructions on the Penn Dining site.

  7. If I live on campus and test positive for COVID-19, where will I spend my isolation period?

    Students who reside on campus and test positive for COVID-19 are reassigned campus housing for the duration of the isolation period. 

  8. If I live off campus and test positive for COVID-19, where should I be isolating?

    Students who live off campus are expected to spend the duration of their isolation period in their place of residence. All people in isolation should order food in or ask a friend/family member/roommate to drop off groceries or a meal. Masks or facial coverings must be worn anytime you are outside of the bedroom. Do not travel, go to class, work, or participate in any social activities. Do not host friends or gatherings. Do not attend gatherings.


  1. What is the University’s travel quarantine policy?

    Visit the Public Health Guidance page for the most up-to-date information. 

  2. Will the University provide testing information for travel documentation?

    The Penn Cares testing results display the necessary information for travel in most cases. All travelers should check with their airline prior to traveling to ensure they have proper documentation. If additional information is needed other than what is displayed on the Penn Cares testing results page, you must seek testing elsewhere.