Fall 2020 departure testing

Dear Temple students,

As previously announced, Temple plans to end remaining in-person instruction on Friday, Nov. 20, and transition to fully remote instruction for the remainder of the fall semester. Knowing that many of you will take this opportunity to return to your family homes to complete your fall courses and finals, I wanted to provide information about departure testing and recommended self-quarantining. These details will allow those of you planning to leave campus and Philadelphia to do so safely.

Maintaining healthy behaviors and self-quarantine
The best way to prevent yourself and your loved ones from contracting the virus is to continue to practice important health precautions—what we’ve been referring to as the four public health pillars—both before and after you’re tested. Committing to properly wearing a mask when you’re around others, frequently washing your hands, maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from others and monitoring your health remain the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Additionally, I urge you to avoid attending any in-person gatherings with people other than your roommates or housemates and to self-quarantine for the two weeks leading up to your departure. We want your return home to be a happy one that allows you to hug your loved ones and enjoy low-risk activities with them. I know this will take some effort and sacrifice, but your health and the health of your family is worth it. 

Departure testing
Any student who chooses to leave campus for the remainder of the fall semester will have the opportunity to schedule a pre-departure COVID-19 test. A limited number of these tests will be offered in Mitten Hall from Monday, Nov. 16 through Friday, Nov. 20. You will receive an email in your Temple inbox later this week with information about scheduling a testing appointment. 

Those being tested will receive same-day results, which will be sent via email to those whose results are negative. Anyone who tests positive will be directed to the Morgan Hall testing clinic for further testing and, if necessary, information about isolating. The university will continue to work with anyone who tests positive to identify close contacts and inform them of possible exposure. For any student who in the past 90 days tested positive and completed an isolation period, you do not need another test and should not get tested.

It’s important to reiterate that being tested for COVID-19 is not a preventive measure. A negative test prior to Thanksgiving does not guarantee that you will not have COVID-19 on Thanksgiving. 

Reducing travel risk
As you return home, you should be aware of any health recommendations issued by local health departments, including those to self-quarantine. If you plan to travel to an area where there are rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, it is generally recommended that you quarantine at home for 14 days upon your arrival. It is possible to contract COVID-19 during your travels and it may take up to 14 days after exposure to become positive for COVID-19. This is why it is critical that you follow quarantine recommendations in your area and continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain physical distance and monitor your health.

If you plan to return to Philadelphia, including to Temple campuses, after fall break, you will need to comply with Pennsylvania's recommendations for travelers, which include a 14-day quarantine period. 

I know you’ve heard the same guidance since the pandemic began, but following the four public health pillars and avoiding risky behaviors is necessary to keep yourself and your family safe and slow the spread of the virus. We are all in this together. 

I hope you all have a healthy fall break and a successful end to your fall semester. 


Mark Denys 
Senior Director, Health Services