Random COVID-19 testing to begin

( Photo / Zenith Shrestha )

Ora Nelson

Staff Writer

Troy University announced its intention to start COVID testing a random 3-5% of its campus population every week.

The randomized testing is part of an Alabama program called the GuideSafe Sentinel Testing program for college campuses.

“To the best of my knowledge, all four-year public schools in Alabama are participating in this testing program,” said Dr. Lance Tatum, chair of the Coronavirus Task Force at Troy University and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Those selected for the voluntary testing will be contacted via email from Verily, Troy’s testing provider..

Troy decided to participate in the program to better identify asymptomatic patients while “making the necessary isolation/quarantine placements as early as possible.”

“The goal of sentinel testing is to provide a process by which schools can identify individuals who are asymptomatic and potentially are spreading the virus unknowingly,” Tatum said.

“This test is not mandatory, but we urge anyone who is selected to participate,” said Troy’s Coronavirus Task Force in the initial email about the testing on Sept. 3.

“I think the testing is a good idea,” said Macey Weeks, a senior English major from Mobile, Alabama. “But I’m glad that it’s not mandatory. 

“I’m asthmatic and it could really put me at risk going into a place (like testing centers) when I know I haven’t been around anyone or felt any symptoms [for COVID-19].”

Testing will be located at Elm Street Gym and will consist of a self-administered nasal swab.

Verily will report results within 36 hours. If your test comes back positive, you are advised to first notify the Dean of Student Services, Herbert Reeves, and then immediately isolate at home or in an off-campus residence.

For students that cannot leave the campus or are unable to return home, the university offers “isolation spaces” for on-campus students to stay in during the isolation period.

“Isolation means that you should not attend in-person classes or campus events and should avoid close contact with others,” the Task Force said.

“Our current capacity for administering tests is very good and combined with our ability to receive test results in a timely manner puts us in a good position to identify and isolate individuals as needed,” Tatum said.

“You can return to class and normal campus activities after 10 days AND if you have been 24 hours without a fever AND other symptoms are improving,” the Task Force instructed.

Tatum encourages those on campus to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks and paying attention to personal hygiene.

“I want to thank everyone for the cooperation shown so far this semester as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Tatum said.

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