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Penn State Issues 1,277 Sanctions For COVID-19 Policy Violations, University Park Cases Grow By 205

A sign near the Nittany Lion statue urging compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines
Min Xian
Penn State issued sanctions for students who violated its COVID-19 restrictions and policies this week.

The number of Penn State students who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the University Park campus increased by 203 since the university updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday, bringing the total number of positive cases among University Park students to 2,678, according to Friday’s update.

For the week of Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 555 new cases were reported. Nearly 900 tests performed on University Park students are still pending results.

Two University Park employees tested positive from random testing during this time period, as the university expanded its walk-up testing at the HUB parking deck to employees this week.

In a release, Penn State said its Scranton campus added 11 new cases that came from the period of Sept. 18 to Oct. 1. The university said the cases were “contained in an off-campus housing facility” and that all students who lived in the building were quarantined and tested. 

Among commonwealth campuses, the Behrend campus in Erie added three cases this week, and Altoona added two. Hershey and New Kensington each added one case. Penn State said it has established free, on-demand testing at the Altoona campus as it saw growth in case numbers in the past weeks.

Penn State said Thursday it has issued 1,277 sanctions for violations of various COVID-19-related restrictions and policies since Aug. 17. The university’s Office of Student Conduct reported incidents “including refusal to wear a mask or face covering in public, non-adherence to Penn State’s quarantine/isolation guidelines, and failure to observe guidance that strictly moderates gatherings both on and off campus.”

Penn State said the majority of the violations resulted in warnings, but 204 students with more serious offenses have been placed on probation, or probation with a transcript notation. Ten students were suspended and 17 lost on-campus housing for violating gathering or no-guest policies. 

“We are grateful for the seriousness with which most of our students take the virus’ threat,” Penn State Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said. “But we will continue to hold accountable those students who threaten our community by violating our clearly stated expectations.” 

There are 638 active cases of COVID-19 among University Park students and 2,040 are no longer active, according to Friday’s dashboard update. 

The university defines inactive cases as any positive results that are older than ten days. Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine warned during a press conference this week that, just because someone is listed as “recovered” from COVID-19, doesn’t mean there won’t be long term effects on their health.

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.
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