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Spring 2021 COVID Testing Program

Dear Penn Nursing Students,

In anticipation of the start of the spring semester, I am taking this opportunity to tell you about the new Penn Cares spring COVID testing program. COVID testing, as well as following all public health guidance – masking, maintaining a safe physical distance, and making sure to wash your hands often – is just one piece of the solution to helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. This testing program – which significantly increases the University’s testing capacity and enhances our ability to assess COVID-19 prevalence in the University community – helps allow us to welcome more Penn students back to campus for the spring semester. Please read on to find out what role you will play in this historic transformation of our campus during the pandemic.


Who Must Test

Twice per week:

  1. Undergraduates students living on or off campus will be tested on preassigned day pairs.
  1. Faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students who live on campus will be tested on selected days.

Once per week:

  1. Graduate students who come to campus each week (this includes simulation at Fagin Hall and completing clinicals in the tri-state area as I mentioned in my 12/21/2020 email).
  1. Faculty, postdocs, and staff who are on campus for four or more hours each week throughout the semester.


Gateway Testing and the Quiet Period

Gateway testing, or day of arrival testing, is required of students. This testing establishes the baseline prevalence of COVID-19. On the day of their arrival, students who are on-campus residents must drop off their belongings and report directly to a testing site. They must then return to their College House and quarantine until they receive their test results.

Students who live off campus also must perform a gateway test as soon as they arrive.

From January 6 to 31, the University will observe a Quiet Period during which there will be no planned activities or large gatherings. The goal is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in these first weeks together.

As soon as students take their gateway test, they should enroll in their regular testing schedule using the online scheduling application.


Use of PennOpen Pass

All students must continue to use PennOpen Pass on a daily basis. A Green Pass is required to enter University buildings, your clinical sites, and/or to board Penn Transit, even for those who only occasionally make campus visits. Reporting symptoms or exposure in PennOpen Pass also expedites access to the clinical guidance of Penn Medicine/SHS clinicians, and diagnostic testing if necessary.


For More Information About the COVID-19 Response

More information on the process and the program is available on the Penn COVID-19 Response website.



Students who will be in clinical rotations during the Spring 2021 semester will receive additional information about the COVID vaccine next week. Please be sure to read your email each day for this important information.

I am the School of Nursing contact for student testing/quarantine, etc. Please email any questions you have about testing/quarantine, etc to as I am managing them from that email box.

We look forward to welcoming you back for the Spring 2021 semester and hope you had a restful winter break.




Christina M. Costanzo, EdD
Assistant Dean for Admissions & Academic Affairs