University Health Services announces updated guidelines, precautions for fall

August 18, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — University Health Services (UHS), a unit of Student Affairs, continues to take enhanced precautions and will be implementing additional guidelines for the fall semester to help protect the health and safety of the Penn State campus community.

UHS has put in place stringent cleaning and safety protocols and made changes to how COVID-19 testing is done, how appointments are scheduled and conducted, who may enter the Student Health Center, and more. These changes are to reduce in-person contact, help slow the spread of COVID-19, and keep students and staff safe.

Precautions

UHS has increased cleaning and safety measures inside the Student Health Center and is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. This includes:

  • Disinfecting surfaces frequently.
  • Maintaining physical distance.
  • Wearing gloves and masks.
  • Disinfecting all rooms, regardless if the visit was COVID-19 related or not.
  • Implementing additional cleaning in negative pressure rooms.
  • Using hand sanitizer or washing hands prior to and after seeing each patient.
  • Assessing employee temperatures before they enter the Student Health Center.

UHS will only allow those with a scheduled in-person appointment inside the Student Health Center. Anyone who enters the Student Health Center will have their temperature taken, symptoms assessed, and must wear a mask. Plexiglass barriers also have been installed for added protection.

All patients will enter the Student Health Center through the front door, except those with COVID-19 concerns. Students who are being seen for COVID-19 will come through a different door and have a designated elevator to use, which will be communicated when the appointment is scheduled.

In addition, UHS has added a negative pressure suite, which includes nine additional negative pressure rooms, for 11 negative pressure rooms in total. These are single-occupancy patient-care rooms that use negative air pressure to prevent airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19 from escaping the room and infecting others. This suite will be dedicated to seeing patients in-house that require a higher level of care for COVID-19.

Due to the establishment of the negative pressure suite, the ambulance bay at the Student Health Center, which is currently being used to care for suspected COVID-19 patients, will be closed and will return to ambulance use only. More information on COVID-19 testing can be found below.

Scheduling

Students who wish to schedule a medical appointment with UHS can call 814-863-0774. Beginning Aug. 20, students will be able to schedule appointments online via myUHS or call for an appointment. Any patients who access care will be assessed for COVID-19 symptoms. Students can still be seen for routine appointments such as women’s and men’s health, LGBTQ health, physical therapy and more. Students will be triaged based on their concerns, symptoms and visit type, and may be seen via telemedicine or asked to come to the Student Health Center. COVID-19 concerns may be addressed via telemedicine, unless in-person care is needed. Students should check with their insurance carrier in advance to determine if telemedicine visits are covered under their insurance plan.

Students who need to have lab tests completed, either ordered by a UHS clinician or an outside clinician, can schedule a lab appointment through myUHS.

Any nonclinical appointments that need to be scheduled with Student Health Insurance, Health Information Management, or Finance and Billing can be done by calling the specific department. Soon, students will be able to schedule an appointment through myUHS for all departments. These nonmedical appointments will be accomplished through Zoom or by phone.

COVID-19 testing

UHS is offering two options for COVID-19 testing to all undergraduate and graduate students. Students can get tested within UHS or use the testing boxes located in Eisenhower Parking Deck. Both testing options require an appointment.

The testing boxes are a fast and easy way for students who have a COVID-19 concern or have mild COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. Those with more severe symptoms will be asked to be tested in-house at the Student Health Center. Once an appointment has been made for the testing boxes, students will arrive at Eisenhower Parking Deck on the first floor and follow the signs to the testing boxes. At the box, students will be directed by a UHS provider to step up to the box and get tested. Getting tested only takes about 30 seconds.

After the test has been administered, students will be isolated until further direction is provided when test results are available. Students will be notified of their results either via phone or myUHS secure messaging. If a student tests positive, they will continue isolation and proceed through the contact tracing process.

All positive cases will be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which will then report that information to the CDC. Penn State is also creating a dashboard with COVID-19 case information for the public. More information regarding the dashboard will be released in the near future.

UHS Pharmacy

The UHS Pharmacy will continue to provide prescriptions via mail or curbside pick-up for students, staff, faculty and retirees. To utilize the curbside service, patients will wait at the designated pharmacy spots in Eisenhower Parking Deck and call the dedicated phone number posted. A UHS Pharmacy customer service representative will then deliver the prescription to the vehicle. All prescription costs and copays will be placed on accounts and the patient will receive a bill in the mail to avoid the exchange of money or credit cards. Over the counter items such as first aid, sanitary/COVID-19 supplies, and more can be added onto the order.

The pharmacy is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Student opportunities

All UHS student opportunities, with the exception of Emergency Medical Services, will not be offered for the fall. In the interest of the health and safety of students and staff, the clinic intern program, physical therapy volunteers and intern program are canceled. Students interested in the University Ambulance Service must apply through the University Ambulance Training Program webpage.

Flu clinics

UHS will continue its annual fall flu clinics with a significant increase in the number of clinics due to the pandemic. Getting the flu vaccine is strongly encouraged in order to help prevent students from becoming ill from the flu and COVID-19, and to help reduce demand on health care resources in and around Penn State campus communities. Students can expect the flu clinics to begin in September and continue into November. The clinics will be by appointment only. More information on this year’s flu clinics will be released at a later date.

For more information on University Health Services, visit the UHS homepage.

Last Updated September 22, 2020