If all goes according to plan, Penn State University students who opt for an on-campus experience this fall will start in-person classes this week under the banner of a “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign.
By returning to campus, students are agreeing to wear masks, adhere to social distancing practices and submit to random testing for Covid-19.
But “Mask Up or Pack Up” also offers a less traditional, more proactive approach to virus containment: the smell test.
“Our message is, ‘If you have sudden-onset smell loss, in the absence of other explanatory history like a head injury, the chance of you being infected is high,'” said John Hayes, a professor in the department of food science at Penn State and director of the Sensory Evaluation Center in the College of Agricultural sciences. “This is about raising awareness that smell loss is an early symptom of Covid-19.”