Penn State is putting unvaccinated students who miss three weeks of COVID-19 testing on interim suspension

  • Emily Reddy/WPSU

(State College) — Penn State students who have failed to submit to required weekly COVID testing for three weeks have been placed on interim suspension, the university announced in a press release Tuesday. The testing was required for students who didn’t provide proof of vaccination or get an approved exemption.

So far, 117 students have been placed on interim suspension. They’re not allowed in classes, on campus or to stay in residence halls. Nearly 86% of University Park students are vaccinated.

The university says it called each student in danger of the suspension and brought several hundred into compliance.

Penn State Provost Nick Jones sent an email to instructors, telling them they’ll be alerted if any of their students are on interim suspension and that they are not expected to enforce the suspension. The email told instructors not to let students on interim suspension continue to participate in classwork and that they can ask students to leave university property.

“[Interim suspension] students are informed they are not to participate in courses (in-person or remote), and we recommend that you not engage students on interim suspension through email, Canvas, etc. Students on interim suspension should not take exams, engage in group work related to the class, or any other class activities,” Jones said.

Students can request that their interim suspension be lifted after doing their required COVID testing or submitting their vaccination card.

In a town hall with the Faculty Senate, Jones said they will next turn to employees who are not in compliance.

“They have a similar three stage process,” Jones said, “where if they fail to participate in the required testing for a three-week period, they are subjected to disciplinary action.”

According to Penn State’s COVID website, faculty who do not comply with testing can be placed on leave. Staff will be sent home and required to use vacation or personal time, or unpaid leave.

Employees who repeatedly violate the rules could be fired.

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