Coronavirus FAQ: Should a symptomatic person still do surveillance testing?

October 15, 2020

Symptomatic individuals selected for surveillance testing should indicate their symptoms via the questionnaire on the COVID-19 surveillance registration website. Students and employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will be excluded from random asymptomatic surveillance testing.

Due to the fact that surveillance test samples are analyzed in pools, or groups, for efficiency, and in the interest of personal and community health, symptomatic students should instead stay home and schedule an appointment with University Health Services or their campus health center for individual evaluation and testing. Employees with COVID-19 symptoms should stay home, call their primary care provider, and contact Penn State Occupational Medicine at 814-863-8492 or

As part of Penn State’s multi-layered COVID-19 testing program, the University is conducting randomized daily testing of a least 1% of the campus population to identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Those excluded from testing due to COVID-19 symptoms may be added back into the testing pool and selected again at a later date.

Those with questions about the surveillance testing process can email for assistance. For answers to frequently asked questions about the University’s surveillance testing program, visit “Surveillance testing for students” or “Surveillance testing for employees” on

Answers to this question, as well as other frequently asked questions, can be found on the website.

Last Updated October 15, 2020