UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — A COVID-19 compact that Penn State students must acknowledge before returning to campus is raising concern with the student body.
The phrase in question is below:
“I assume any and all risk of exposure to COVID-19 that may result from attending Penn State, or participating in Penn State activities, and I acknowledge that exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, or death.”
The university said they have heard that some are concerned with the language requiring students to assume the risks of exposure to COVID-19 and that others have interpreted it as a waiver of students’ rights.
The university said that the language in the compact was neither the case nor the intent. They stated that this is not a waiver and was not intended to be, but instead is an acknowledgment.
“The Compact was to reinforce the University’s expectations and requirements,” the university stated in a release. “Confirming that you have read the compact and agree to its terms verifies that you acknowledge this responsibility. Without the cooperation of all members of our community, the success of in-person operations will be significantly impacted.”
The language in the compact has been modified to say the following:
“Even with the mitigation steps taken by Penn State and my compliance with this Compact, I acknowledge that Penn State cannot prevent the risks of exposure to COVID-19 that may result from attending Penn State or participating in Penn State activities.”
The university clarified that students returning to any of the Penn State campuses must acknowledge the compact as a condition of a return to learning on campus. Students that are fully remote online must adhere to the compact as well.
The FAQ page on the university’s student affairs website states that failure to accept the terms of the compact will prevent students from engaging in functions through LionPATH, including adding/dropping classes or viewing their schedule.
Failure to accept or adhere to the requirements could also potentially subject a student to disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion from the university, according to their website.