I am a freshman at Penn State, undergoing an entirely new college experience. While other grades began their college years being able to socialize with friends in other dorms or go out on the weekend, my situation is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because I am majoring in pre-medicine, I find these experiences quite interesting as I wonder how health care professionals respond to the crisis.
Penn State has experienced a spike in cases, becoming one of the top college towns with growing cases within just a few weeks.
Consequently, students must take extra precautions to avoid spreading the virus, anywhere from staying within your own dorm to wearing masks every time you step outside your door.
Despite the numerous questions surrounding the pandemic, getting tested at Penn State is one of the most simple processes on campus. Students can either be randomly selected to take a COVID-19 test or they can choose to take one of their own. I have been in both situations, but either way, the testing process is quite easy. I got tested on November 2 at the Pegula Ice Arena because I simply wanted to know if I had been exposed to the virus. Anyone who wants to get tested can walk to the Pegula Ice Arena on campus for free walk-in testing. Students are not required to participate in walk-in testing — students are only required to respond to a random selection for a test.
Upon arrival, you must complete a Penn State survey (in which you agree to disclose your results to the university) and log into your Vault account. Vault keeps an online record of each of your tests, and they email you as soon as your result arrives. This account also keeps track of any medical information you may have entered since you first took a COVID-19 test. After swiping your student ID and confirming your date of birth, you connect a testing kit to your Vault account. Take the testing kit, spit in a tube up until the fill line, and insert a cap with a mixing solution. Once you have completed the test, you wipe down your area, take your barcode and information sheet with you, and self-quarantine until your results return. Wait for your results to arrive in no more than 72 hours, and you are completely finished!
Overall, this experience was simple and easy. If anyone ever has a concern about COVID-19, taking an on-campus test is a quick solution to your issue. Personally, getting tested made me feel safer about my ability to socialize with other people and be confident in my own results. I think Penn State is doing their best to provide a safe learning experience for the students who choose to remain on campus. Others agree with me — a few friends took the test at the same time as me, and we all agree that it was quick, comfortable, and easy to do.