Coronavirus FAQs: Penn State's random surveillance testing program for students

September 24, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of the University’s multi-pronged testing program, random and risk-stratified samples of students are selected and tested daily for COVID-19 during the semester. This allows Penn State to identify asymptomatic cases — individuals who don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 but may have the virus and are capable of spreading it — that require isolation. 

Testing also allows the University to assess the levels of any potential spread of the virus in the student population and take appropriate action. By testing as many people as possible, Penn State hopes to minimize the risk of infection on its campuses and in neighboring communities.

Surveillance testing of approximately 1% of the campus population has been ongoing and conducted daily since Aug. 24. If a student is selected for surveillance testing, they will be notified via email. Participation in the surveillance testing program is required, except for pre-determined exceptions. There is no cost to the student for this program.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the University’s random surveillance testing program for students, visit “Surveillance testing for students” on

Last Updated September 24, 2020