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More testing suggested for college students. But, do Universities have enough tests to do that?

PA's Health Secretary said it would be 'prudent' of college students to get a test before going home for the holidays and upon returning back to campus

New guidelines for colleges and universities were announced by PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine Tuesday that include calls for more testing for students going to and returning back to campus from holiday break.

The call comes as multiple universities, however, tell FOX43 they are only currently testing symptomatic students and those who are exposed to the virus.

On Monday, Pennsylvania's Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said, 'it would be very prudent of college students to get a test before they go home.'

Then, on Tuesday she issued new recommendations that said "every college and university should test all students at the beginning of each term, when returning to campus after a break and to have regular screening testing throughout the semester/term."

 Other recommendations for colleges and universities include: implementing a testing plan for when students return to campus following the holidays, establishing routine protocols for testing, providing adequate capacity for isolation and quarantine, and enforcing violations of established policies such as mask wearing and physical distancing.

Elizabethtown College

"Elizabethtown College is providing options through Vault Health and Quest Labs for asymptomatic students who feel it is in the best interest of their families to receive COVID-19 testing before returning home on November 20. However, because it is optional testing, all costs related to testing are at personal expense."

Read more about testing at Elizabethtown College here 

Franklin & Marshall College

Franklin & Marshall College has been testing both asymptomatic and symptomatic students and staff since the beginning of the semester. Watch how that testing works here:

Lebanon Valley College

"Given the regional trends with COVID-19, we sent students home two weeks earlier than anticipated (we had planned for them to go home and go fully online for Thanksgiving break). We advised them to quarantine at home for two weeks. We only test symptomatic students."

- Molly O’Brien-Foelsch, spokesperson, Lebanon Valley College

Messiah University

Messiah University spokesperson Danielle Ran said, "Messiah has been conducting ongoing sampling testing of its on-campus students throughout the semester, but testing prior to leaving for break is not required. However, last week, Messiah did provide students and their families with details and information related to optional, voluntary testing if they wish."

Millersville University

"The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American College Health Association (ACHA) current recommendations are for testing of symptomatic individuals or those who have had close contact with a confirmed positive individual.  Millersville University is following this guidance for its testing process.

 In addition, we have been waiting since summer to receive rapid tests and those still have not come. If we had those, we’d be able to test more students on campus. Right now, we have to send students without symptoms to outside health providers, like LGH and Med Express."

- Janet Kacskos, spokesperson, Millersville University

Penn State University

The college has provided this guidance for students. 

University of Pittsburgh

Learn more about testing procedures here. 

Shippensburg University

Shippensburg University spokesperson Megan Silverstrim said,"I can tell you that we have made available and are strongly encouraging students to get asymptomatic tested before heading home. The testing is free and available at our Etter Health Center on campus."

York College of Pennsylvania

"We are not widely testing students before they leave," said spokesperson Mary Dolheimer. However, it did issue guidance to students that included, in part, these recommendations two weeks prior to their departure:

  • Restrict activities 14 days prior to departure from campus.
  • Other than dining and classes, minimize interactions with others to reduce the number of people you have close contact with to reduce the chance of infection.
  • Continue to follow the YCP guidelines, especially around others – wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands.

As for testing, that guidance reads as follows, "We will continue to test symptomatic students and close contacts of those who test positive for COVID-19 up until November 24. We will not offer testing on demand. If you are not symptomatic or have not been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive but still want to know your COVID-19 status, contact local test providers."

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