In order to provide a safe campus environment we will need to continue to practice social distancing, wear masks and conduct good hygiene. Our robust surveillance testing program will be an added measure to keeping our campus safe through identification, separation of the positives and contact tracing until we are able to secure COVID vaccination for our community.
COVID Pooled Testing
The university will be conducting both arrival and ongoing surveillance testing throughout the Spring semester. This will be accomplished through pooled testing. We will also be testing people who are symptomatic; those tests are conducted individually and are not part of a pool. Persons seeking an individual test for any reason other than surveillance or symptomatic testing will need to avail themselves of resources in the greater community. Anyone in the campus community is welcome to be tested as part of a surveillance pool.
Pooled testing involves extracting a small sample from each testing vial and placing it into a “pool” with other tests, then run as a singular test. As per laboratory recommendation, there are 16 people in a pool. The pooled PCR test will pick up on any COVID viral RNA in the pooled sample. If the pool is negative then everyone in the pool is assumed negative. However if the pool is positive, one or more people in the pool are positive. The lab will then automatically test each sample individually in the pool to determine who is positive; this is called reflex testing. Pooled testing produces accurate results in a safe and efficient manner.
Testing will be conducted using a PCR self-swab nasal test. Our campus community will have three designated zones; Residential students and staff, Athletic Department students and staff and All Others. The 16-person pools will be separated by zone. The University will assume the cost of surveillance testing. The person’s health insurance will be billed by the laboratory for costs associated with reflex testing and symptomatic testing.
Students and employees will be able to view test results online via their COVID testing account. Results are expected within 24 to 48 hours from receipt of the specimen in the laboratory. Positive results will continue to be contacted by Health Services and the respective COVID Response, Tracing and Case Management teams.
COVID Testing Requirements
Pre-Arrival and Arrival Testing
As per previous emails, students who will be taking an in-person or hybrid class or living in campus-sponsored housing have been encouraged to receive a negative COVID test within a week before coming to campus. For those students who are unable to secure a pre-arrival COVID test, COVID testing will be made available on campus.
COVID testing will begin Friday, January 22nd for any residential student moving in on that day and designated athletic teams. Beginning Monday, January 25th COVID testing will be open to all students and employees, Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Ocean First Bank Center lobby. Testing is conducted on a walk-up basis, no appointments. All persons seeking COVID testing will need to check in at the Box Office. Persons to be tested will need to set-up an account prior to testing. The procedure on how to set up an account will be in a separate email.
Students who have tested COVID-positive in November, December and January may forgo pre-arrival and arrival testing as they are assumed to have 90 day protective antibodies.
Ongoing Surveillance Testing
- 50% of residential students will be tested each week. Surveillance testing is a condition of residence. Student athletes who live on campus will be tested according the Athletic schedule.
- Student athletes will follow the testing schedules set forth by the Athletic Department in conjunction with NCAA and conference guidelines. This group has continued to be tested on an ongoing basis.
- All others are strongly encouraged to participate in regular surveillance testing. We especially encourage similar groups of people (e.g., friend groups, clubs, co-worker groups), off-campus houses and department staff to come and get tested together.
Thank you for your cooperation with this process.
Kathy Maloney, DNP, APN
Director of Health Services