The University of Pennsylvania has joined the ranks of a few area schools in mandating testing for the coronavirus.
Students will be tested at least twice: once before traveling to campus, and again on arrival, before moving in. After that on-campus test, students will be required to quarantine until receiving a negative test result - with meals being provided to students quarantining in college housing.
The university has contracted with a third-party lab to ship out test kits and return envelopes to students, according to an update from Provost Wendell Pritchett and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroll. Penn will handle all costs for pre-arrival and on-campus arrival testing.
The university says students should test and return the kit as soon as possible to make sure they have a result before leaving for Philly.
"If a student tests positive from the pre-arrival test kit, they should remain in isolation at home for 14 days from their test date," the officials wrote Friday. "They should start all classes remotely until they can travel safely to Philadelphia after completing their isolation period."
Even undergrads living off campus will be required to take a test. The university also suggests those students coordinate with their roommates and landlords to spread out their move-ins over several days, to minimize contact with others.
Students arriving from a state designated as a "hot spot" by Pennsylvania's health department must take a third test within five to seven days of their first test on campus. Those students are also recommended to quarantine for 14 days.
The school is also opening a testing center in Houston Hall. Starting Sept. 1, that location will test anyone in the university community who has symptoms or has been identified as a close contact.
There will be few in-person classes this fall at Penn, with most students attending class online.
Other area colleges and universities - though none as large as Penn - have committed to testing all students. Lincoln University will rapid-test all students at move-in, and Moore College of Art & Design plans to test all students on arrival on campus, according to their reopening plans.