Screening for Exposure to COVID-19

Updates on COVID-19: Screening for Exposure

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research has recently updated the Revised Standards for Human Subjects Research. Please see the Institutional Review Board (IRB) COVID-19 informational page for additional information. Penn State Health researchers and staff should also view Penn State Health-specific guidance.

Updated August 11, 2021

Screening for Exposure to COVID-19

Penn State requires all in-person research to screen all participants for exposure to COVID-19 or symptoms of illness before participants are scheduled for any study-related visits and in-person interactions.  This specific screening procedure does not require IRB approval. 

Email and phone scripts for University Park and Commonwealth campuses are available here.

Penn State Health researchers and staff should view Penn State Health-specific guidance and screening script.

All research staff and partcipants must follow the Revised Standards for Human Subjects Research, which require masking for both study staff and participants, regardless of vaccination status. Participants should be informed in advance of required face masks, social distancing pratices, and other safety procedures. 


In addition, Penn State researchers should:

  • Practice measures for maintaining health and safety: mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing (at least 6 ft), extensive hand washing, and disinfection of areas and equipment used by more than one person
  • Researchers at the College of Medicine should follow guidance:
  • Researchers at all other campuses should follow Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) guidance for cleaning.
  • Follow any additional guidelines or instructions from the specific facility (e.g., Penn State College of Medicine, Penn State Health) where participant interaction would occur.