Extend Widespread UPenn Student COVID-19 Testing Throughout the Entire Semester

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Starting September 14th, COVID-19 testing will be limited to only symptomatic individuals identified by Penn Open Pass, and select asymptomatic individuals with known exposure. According to a survey conducted by the Daily Pennsylvanian, out of 906 undergraduate respondents, the average trust rating in the Campus Compact crafted by the Penn administration is a 2.61 out of 5. In order for students to ensure their safety this semester students should be able to get tested, regardless of the reason, throughout the entire semester.

Extended testing will help reduce spreading, especially in the winter months, when people will be forced to put themselves in an uncomfortable position and take the risk of seeing others indoors if testing is not widely available. While not being able to ensure one's own safety may deter some people from meeting with others if people cannot get tested beforehand, this will not be the case for everyone, and cases will inevitably go up more than they need to if these extra testing options are not in place. 

The same Daily Pennsylvanian survey stated that 80% of all seniors, 74% of all juniors, and 79% of all sophomores reported that they would be returning to campus on August 3rd. While these numbers may have fluctuated since the announcement that only select students are able to live on-campus, the majority of juniors and seniors returning is unlikely to differ much due to the large number of upperclassmen that live off-campus. In addition, there has since been a large number of sophomores and even some freshmen who signed off-campus leases after finding out that they would no longer be able to live on-campus.

Making students live off-campus this semester was meant to encourage people not to come back to campus, but this is simply not the case. Extra testing needs to be widely available to ensure the safety of all students living off-campus in Philadelphia, and to enable students to meet up with others responsibly.

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