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COVID-19: Script for Screening and Informing Study Participants


The following is a script to use to inform patients coming to any Penn State Health or Penn State College of Medicine location of COVID-19 safety processes. Study teams should call patients up to three days prior to the study visit. The message can be tailored based on the study participant.

On the day of the visit

A study team member should meet the patient at the appropriate entrance screening station in case there are any issues. It will also help the screening stations validate that a visitor is needed for the participant.


Hello, this is (name) with the department of (department name) at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. I’m calling today because you have a research study visit scheduled on (day of week), (month, day) at (time). I have important information regarding this visit. You may want to have a pen and paper nearby to take notes.

(Give study participant time to get paper if needed.)

Given the risks of infection associated with COVID-19, Penn State is taking precautions to protect our research participants, staff and community. An important first step is for you to tell us, before you come to campus, if you, or someone you have had close contact with has experienced in the last 14 days:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Have you or any of your close contacts experienced these symptoms? Have you had close contact with a person who tested positive for or is under investigation for possible COVID-19? (Note: if someone has been exposed to COVID or tests positive, they should follow CDC guidance for isolation.)

When coming to campus, please wear a mask. If you do not have a mask, you will be provided a disposable one at the hospital entrance.

During your visit, we will be masked appropriately and will follow proper hand-washing and disinfectant guidelines, as we do for all studies. Our entire study adheres to Penn State Health guidelines.

Please understand that even with the safety measures we are taking, we can’t guarantee that you will have no exposure to or infection by transmissible diseases, viruses, and other illnesses (including, but not limited to, COVID-19 and its variants). As a participant in a Penn State research study, we ask that you follow all University policies including, but not limited to, those intended to help prevent the spread of transmissible illnesses. You are not allowed to participate if you are symptomatic of any commonly spread transmissible illness. Remember that your participation is completely voluntary and that you can change your mind at any time. If you decide not to participate, please respond to this email or call us at (insert phone number) to cancel your visit.

(Screener: Allow time for participant to write down phone number.)

Do you have any concerns? Questions I can answer for you?

(Screener: Answer questions and record participant questions with screening materials.)

(When done answering questions, state the following.)

Thank you again, (patient name). We will see you on (day). Please call us if you have any questions before your visit.

Printable copies

If necessary, a copy of the script may be printed here. However, note that this is subject to change; study teams should bookmark this page and check it before making any calls to get the most up-to-date language.


Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute resources were used to create this document. The institute is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant UL1 TR002014.

Last updated

Dec. 1, 2022