COVID-19 testing

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Monday is the first day of in-person classes for Penn State students. To slow the spread of the virus, the university is requiring students to be re-tested after arriving back on campus for the semester. 

All students living on or off-campus who are registered for in-person classes are required to take the arrival test.

Students living in the State College area are also required to take the test even if their classes are fully remote.

Penn State senior and pre-med student Avinash Saraiya, unpacks his suitcase as he moves into his new apartment in downtown State College.
Michael Miller

Worsening COVID-19 conditions at the end of last year led Penn State to move all spring semester classes online until Feb. 15. The university also discouraged all students – living both on and off campus – from returning to State College until then. But many students have already returned to Centre County. 

Avinash Saraiya is a pre-med student at Penn State. He moved in to his off-campus apartment in mid-January. He said being in Centre County makes him feel connected to the university even during the pandemic.

Junior Nate Paisley prepares to walk around a wintery State College.
Nate Paisley


Roughly 35,000 students came back to Penn State this fall for classes during the coronavirus pandemic. One out of every seven of those students contracted COVID-19 during the semester. Some Penn State students who tested positive shared their experiences with the virus and whether catching it made them more or less cautious. 

Penn State student Kaitlyn Harris did an asymptomatic saliva test at a mobile testing site in August.
Min Xian / WPSU


Penn State is one of many universities that had students return for fall classes during the coronavirus pandemic. Classes at Penn State and many other universities have now moved to remote learning at the Thanksgiving break. WPSU took a look how different universities handled testing and their COVID-19 numbers relative to Penn State. 

Outside of Mount Nittany Medical Center showing sign.
Min Xian / WPSU

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 broke new records both statewide and in State College Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Wednesday that more than 5,500 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

The Blair County Courthouse sits on Allegheny Street in Hollidaysburg, PA.
Min Xian / WPSU

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Blair County, local leaders are encouraging residents to follow precautions and take advantage of the free testing the state Department of Health has set up at the Blair County Convention Center.

Bruce Erb, chairman of the Blair County Commissioners, said the site at the Convention Center has been very busy — 500 to 600 tests a day.

Photo of the outside of the Penn Highlands DuBois hospital
Penn Highlands Healthcare

As Pennsylvania sets multiple records for one-day increases in COVID-19 cases in recent days, Penn Highlands Healthcare announced Thursday it’s offering rapid COVID-19 testing in six locations.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Norman announced during a conference call that rapid testing will be available in six Penn Highlands locations for symptomatic individuals or those who have been exposed. Those include Clearfield, DuBois, Punxsutawney, Moshannon Valley, St. Marys and Huntingdon.

Reem Abdou poses for a picture in front of the Nittany Lion Shrine.
Reem Abdou

Friday is the last day of in-person classes for Penn State’s fall semester. Some students plan to head home for the rest of the semester while others are returning after Thanksgiving break. Students also shared what they’re doing to try not to bring the coronavirus home to their families.

Senior civil engineering student John Kosko contracted the coronavirus at Penn State in late September. Now healthy for over a month, Kosko said his family in New Jersey is comfortable with having him home for Thanksgiving.

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State is urging students to get tested for COVID-19 before the university transitions to fully remote instruction for the rest of the fall semester on November 20.

In a webinar Tuesday, the director of the university’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center, Kelly Wolgast, said free departure testing for all students is voluntary but highly recommended. More than 6,000 University Park students have already scheduled one.



Penn State President Eric Barron hosted a virtual seminar on Thursday for faculty and staff to ask questions about the university's approach to the coronavirus pandemic. The university is looking into new health protocols for the spring.  

A staff member of AMI Healthcare administered a COVID-19 test at the pop-up site at the Nittany Mall in State College on Friday, Sept. 25.
Min Xian / WPSU

Free COVID-19 testing at a pop-up site in State College will continue for another five days, as both the demand for testing among residents and the positivity rate from tests performed so far at the site remain high, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

A COVID-19 nasal swab test is administered to a person in a car
Min Xian / WPSU


Free COVID-19 testing at the Nittany Mall in State College began Friday, drawing a long line of residents, as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s effort to contain the rising case numbers in Centre County.

Naomi Niyah, a graduate student at Penn State, went to the site on Friday morning. She said she hasn’t been contacted by the university for its surveillance testing program.

“I don’t like the current situation for testing so might as well do it myself here,” Niyah said. 

A gate on the campus of Lock Haven University
Min Xian / WPSU

Lock Haven University is moving to fully remote instruction starting Wednesday because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, the university announced Tuesday. The suspension of in-person classes will be in effect until Sept. 21, with the hope that it will curb further spread of the virus.

Penn State is reporting 32 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard Tuesday with data reported between Friday, Aug. 28 and Sunday, Aug. 30. In that time period, 25 University Park campus students tested positive out of 268 symptomatic tests conducted. Seven asymptomatic UP students also tested positive for COVID-19. 

File photo of a mobile COVID-19 test site on Penn State University Park campus.
Min Xian / WPSU

Updated: Friday, August 28 at 5:34 p.m.

Penn State updated its COVID-19 dashboard for the first week of fall semester classes Friday. It shows 28 new positive cases from a total of 4,664 tests conducted this week.