UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ)– Students at Penn State University will be beginning the upcoming Spring semester in person as planned.

Penn State Leadership made the decision based on advice given from Penn State’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center (COCC) that the current conditions don’t warrant a move to remote learning, according to a press release.

“Our students, faculty and staff have a very high vaccination rate, we are testing weekly those who are not vaccinated and we are continuing to require face masks to be worn indoors,”  Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. “With these measures in place, together with hospitalization data and what we are learning about omicron, we believe we can safely, but carefully, return to on-campus classes and activities as planned.”    

Director of the COCC Kelly Wolgast says that during the move-in weekend the university will be prioritizing testing for COVID-19.

“We will prioritize student testing during move-in weekend at University Park,” Wolgast said. “At University Park, the White Building drop-in testing site will be open on move-in weekend, Jan. 7-9, and students, both residential and non-residential, who did not take a COVID-19 test prior to arriving to campus are, and will be, strongly encouraged to take a rapid test at the White Building on arrival.” 

Students that did not provide proof of being fully vaccinated will be subjected to weekly COVID tests throughout the semester.

Wolgast explains how the university is in the process of adjusting the quarantine process because there is only so much space for students that need to isolate.

“Our community should be aware of these new CDC guidelines,” Wolgast said, “and I also want to stress that it is very important to continue practicing good hand hygiene, wearing a well-fitting mask and, most importantly, to get vaccinated, including getting your booster shot.”

Penn State has been monitoring local hospital capacity and the spread of the coronavirus omicron variant when deciding plans for the upcoming Spring semester. For more information about PSU’s response to the pandemic visit their Coronavirus website.

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