At Penn State University, 117 students have been placed on interim suspension for failure to comply with the university’s weekly COVID-19 testing requirement.

Students at University Park who are subject to required weekly COVID-19 testing and who have missed at least three weeks of testing have been notified by Penn State that they are out of compliance with the university’s health and safety policies and have been placed on interim suspension through the Office of Student Conduct, a statement from Penn State said.

Students on interim suspension may not participate in classes, in-person or remotely; are not allowed on university property; and may not attend any Penn State-sponsored events, programs, and activities, including football games. On-campus students on interim suspension also are temporarily removed from their residence halls.

Students who have not informed the university that they are fully vaccinated receive weekly emails instructing them to complete the required testing. Students who missed two weeks of tests had a registration hold placed on their records, which prohibits them from registering for future courses.

Last week, to keep as many students as possible from being placed on interim suspension, Penn State staff called every student who had three missed tests to assist with any issues the students might be experiencing, the statement said. These efforts brought several hundred students into compliance.

“It’s important that both students and employees comply with our testing requirement, and we have done everything we reasonably can to ensure that these students are aware of their obligation and do what they must to honor it,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, in the statement. “The last thing we want is to suspend them. I’m sorry these students did not follow our repeated admonitions and warnings, and I hope they will make the correction necessary. Others should not repeat their mistake, and everyone who can be, should be vaccinated and should upload their data to us as soon as possible.”

Before the start of the fall semester, Penn State announced that students and employees who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 and those who have not shared with the University that they are vaccinated must test weekly throughout the semester, and warned of significant consequences for those who do not comply with required testing.

Human Resources is examining employee testing data to determine the number of faculty and staff who are not in compliance.

Throughout the pandemic, Penn State has strongly encouraged the campus community to get vaccinated for COVID-19, offering incentives to students and employees and hosting clinics for students, the statement said.

Students who have been placed on interim suspension can request that it be rescinded after uploading proof of vaccination status or completing a COVID-19 test on campus. After completing one of those two actions, students can submit an online form to request their interim suspension to be lifted. The interim suspension is in effect until a student is explicitly notified otherwise. It is essential that a student maintain compliance should the action be rescinded. Students will be not be allowed to have an interim suspension lifted a second time.

Students on interim suspension who plan to complete their COVID-19 testing on campus must take the most direct route to the testing site and leave immediately after finishing their test.

Beth Brelje
Reporter
Beth Brelje is an investigative journalist covering Pennsylvania politics, courts, and the commonwealth’s most interesting and sometimes hidden news. Send her your story ideas:

September 23, 2021 1:29 pm

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