COVID-19 Information and Frequently Asked Questions
To report a positive test result, please call 215-746-WELL (9355) and choose option #3 to be connected to the Public Health and Wellbeing team.
If you are feeling sick and need medical care, you can schedule an appointment through your Wellness Portal or call 215-746-WELL (9355) and choose option #1 to be connected to the medical care team.
Wellness' COVID-19 Booster Clinic: Frequently Asked Questions
Wellness at Penn will hold a COVID-19 Booster Clinic on November 8-10, 2023 at our Wellness administrative office (3535 Market Street, Mezzanine). Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the boosters and the clinic.
- What dates and times is the Booster Clinic taking place?
The Booster Clinic will be held at Wellness at Penn (3535 Market Street, Mezzanine) on the following dates and times:
- Wednesday November 8, 11:30-5:30
- Thursday November 9, 11:30-5:30
- Friday November 10, 10-4
- Do participants need to register?
All participants must register, and can do so by clicking here.
- Will insurance cover the cost of the booster?
Due to the end of the public health emergency, health insurance is required at the time of registration. University health insurance plans (including the Penn Student Insurance Plan) cover the cost of the COVID-19 booster. For people with other health insurance, most plans will cover COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Please check with your health insurance or prescription insurance provider. Getting the vaccine at this Booster Clinic requires the health insurer to cover the vaccine cost under the pharmacy benefit.
- My insurance card doesn't have all the information required in the registration form. What should I do?
That’s OK! Complete as much information as your card provides and make sure you attach an image of your insurance card (front AND back). If you don't have the information for a required field, you can simply put "NA" or "none."
- Why does this Booster Clinic look and feel different than the other vaccine clinics Wellness has hosted?
That’s so perceptive of you! When the public health emergency ended, the funding of the vaccines shifted from the government to health insurance companies. This is the reason for pre-registration at these clinics.
- There are no longer appointments that work with my schedule. Is there anything I can do?
We know that must be frustrating. We will continue to work to see if we can host more clinics in the future. Until then, local pharmacies continue to have appointments and vaccines available.
- Which booster types will be available at the clinic?
You have the ability to list a preference for Pfizer or Moderna, though we cannot guarantee specific availability. Novavax COVID vaccines will not be available.
- What is the updated COVID-19 booster and why should I get one?
The updated COVID-19 vaccine closely targets circulating variants. It can help provide protection for you, your family and your friends. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration. If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones this fall and winter.
- Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against serious illness from COVID-19. Although not available at Wellness' Booster Clinic, the CDC also recommends one dose of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 12 or older (as an alternative to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines).
- When should I get the COVID-19 booster?
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, eligible patients can receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after their last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC also states that the COVID-19 vaccine can be co-administered with the flu vaccine.
Below are frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.
- I tested positive for COVID-19. What now?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please begin to isolate immediately and wear a high-quality mask or respirator when around other people. Please refer to CDC guidance for isolation recommendations and other precautions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/isolation.html
- Please isolate for 5 full days and mask diligently for an additional 5 full days. During the five days of masking following isolation, you should eat alone, maintain social distancing, and avoid in-person meetings when able.
- Isolation timelines are calculated using the date of symptom onset, or date of testing if asymptomatic, as Day 0. Day 1 should be your first full day of isolation and you should remain isolated until Day 6, and continue to mask diligently until Day 11.
- Isolation means staying at home. Do not travel, go to class, work, or participate in any in-person social activities. Limit the sharing of bathrooms and common areas (e.g. kitchens, living rooms) with others, and stay in your room alone as much as possible. Wear a mask anytime you are outside of your bedroom. Do not host friends or small gatherings. Do not attend small gatherings.
- If you are an immunocompromised individual, you may be required to isolate for up to 21 days. This prolonged isolation period is based on evidence that immunocompromised individuals may remain infectious for longer. Please contact Student Health and Counseling's medical providers at 215-746-WELL (9355) for care and continue to isolate until cleared by a provider.
- All students are expected to isolate in place. Students in isolation should order food in or ask a friend to drop off groceries. If you are isolating in your on-campus residence, you can go to the Dining Halls, masked, to pick up your pre-ordered meal. For more information on ordering food, go to https://dining.business-services.upenn.edu/.
- Connect with your school’s academic advising office about your absence and notify them that you will be missing class for the duration of your isolation period.
- Before you can return to campus, you must be without a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications AND your symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) must have improved.
If you have new, worsening, or continuing symptoms, contact our Student Health and Counseling’s medical care providers 215-746-WELL (9355). Counseling and medical care is available 24/7. For questions regarding public health guidance and recommendations, please call Public Health and Wellbeing at 215-746-WELL (9355).
Staff seeking COVID pay can report their COVID-19 diagnosis to the Public Health and Wellbeing team by calling 215-746-WELL (9355) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I was exposed to someone with COVID-19. What now?
If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, please refer to the CDC's guidelines for exposure (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/if-you-were-exposed.html), regardless of your vaccination status.
Be sure to:
- Mask around others for 10 days. Day 0 is the day of your last exposure to someone with COVID-19, and day 1 is the first full day after your last exposure.
- Monitor for symptoms. If symptoms present, test right away. Possible symptoms include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Wait 5 days after an exposure to test. If symptoms present, test right away. If you test negative, continue taking precautions through day 10. If you test positive, begin to isolate immediately.
Call Student Health and Counseling to speak with a medical provider if you have questions about your symptoms 215-746-WELL (9355).
- Are there masking guidelines on campus?
The University no longer requires mask wearing in classrooms and buildings. All students, staff and faculty are encouraged to wear a mask whenever they choose to do so and for any reason. Masks may still be required in healthcare settings.
- Where can students still access testing?
At-home antigen tests are available for purchase at pharmacies such as CVS and RiteAid, which may also provide on-site PCR testing. Additional PCR and rapid testing may be available locally through myDoc, Vybe Urgent Care, and Philadelphia Department of Public Health locations. The University testing site is permanently closed.
At-home tests are available for free to students as medically indicated at the Student Health and Counseling medical care office (3535 Market Street, First Floor), and students do not need an appointment to pick up an at-home test. Students may access PCR testing at Student Health and Counseling. More information, as well as hours of operation, can be found by visit the Student Health and Counseling page. Appointments are available for those who are symptomatic and would like to be seen by a provider.
- What other COVID-specific resources does the University offer?
Students are encouraged to reach out to Student Health and Counseling 215-746-WELL (9355) for questions or concerns regarding their symptoms, or Public Health and Wellbeing 215-746-WELL (9355) to discuss any questions regarding isolation guidance or for any other public health-related information.
Penn Dining will continue to arrange for students on meal plans to pick up to-go meals while in isolation. More information on the sick meal procedure can be found at https://dining.business-services.upenn.edu/health-wellness/sick-flu-policy.
- Will vaccination requirements change for students?
Penn has resumed its pre-pandemic immunization requirements for the 2023-2024 academic year. More information on general immunization requirements can be found on the Immunization and Insurance Requirements page.