Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021

Dear Students,

As noted in our email sent on Dec. 17, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health introduced testing guidance for students returning to college campuses throughout the Commonwealth this spring. Return testing not only produces a baseline for infection among our community; it also inspires confidence that we are doing all that we can to keep our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible. Please read on for important information on where you can be tested, how you can share your results with the University and what to do if you have received the vaccination.

Note that this policy applies to all full- and part-time students, graduate or undergraduate, who will be attending any classes, activities or co-curricular experiences on campus in the spring semester. Fully online graduate students or students in our online accelerated BBA do not need to submit test results.

As a reminder, classes begin on Monday, Feb. 1. Residential students are welcome back to campus between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Jan. 31. Please look for an email from Residence Life later this week detailing check-in processes that ensure you are cleared to return to your residence hall.

How to get tested

Many pharmacies (Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, etc.) are offering asymptomatic testing. Please check the web sites of pharmacies located near you to understand their procedures for being tested. In addition, many states are offering drive-through testing clinics. Please check with your Department of Health. You can also check with your primary care physician on testing options.

If you anticipate issues or delays in getting tested and receiving those results within 72 hours of returning to campus, it is recommended that you order an at-home testing kit as soon as possible.

Home testing kits are available through these providers:

Costs vary but are generally just over $100 and often covered by your health insurance. Check with your insurance provider for details.

Supplying results to the University

One of the following options is required to be submitted within 72 hours of your return to campus:

  • Negative test: A nasal test, saliva test or an antigen/rapid test showing a negative result collected within 72 hours of returning to campus. Your name and date of testing must be clearly noted.
  • Positive test: Studies show that those who have had the virus may continue to test positive long after symptoms cease and the illness has passed. Though they may have a lingering positive test result, those individuals are no longer contagious. Therefore, a nasal test, saliva test, antigen/rapid test or antibody (IgG) test showing a positive result collected within 90 days of returning to campus is also accepted. Your name and date of testing must be clearly noted.
  • If you newly test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of your planned return, please remain home until your isolation period has passed and you are cleared by Health and Wellness Services or your medical professional.
  • Proof of vaccination: Students who have received the full vaccination (all doses) before Feb. 1 may provide a photo or electronic copy of their vaccination card in lieu of test results.

Instructions on submitting these results via the Wilkes portal will be shared with you via email during the week of Jan. 25.

Students traveling from abroad

Students traveling to campus from abroad must provide results of tests taken within 72 hours of their return. Tests taken in the U.S. or from the student’s country of residence are accepted.

Delayed results

Any student who has not received their test results by their planned return should delay coming to campus or attending classes until negative test results can be shared with the University. Remote learning arrangements will be made for those students and they will be welcome back to their residence hall upon receiving their test results.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience. As you know, the pandemic remains ever-changing. We will continue to monitor the virus and notify you of any changes to our operations or policies as we progress through the semester.

In the coming weeks, we will also share with you our assurance testing program. Please continue to monitor your Wilkes email and www.wilkes.edu/spring2021 which contains the latest details and guidance. If you have specific questions, please contact the COVID-19 task force at covidupdate@wilkes.edu.

I wish you the very best this semester. And remember, we are in this together.

Dr. Greg Cant
President