Salisbury University is bumping up the monthly negative test requirement to once per week for students beginning the week of March 1, among other changes to its COVID-19 testing protocols, per a recent email from Student Affairs.
All SU faculty and staff who come to campus at least twice per month must receive a rapid test at least once every 14 days, President Charles Wight said during his weekly coronavirus briefing Thursday.
Once a campus community member signs up for his or her first rapid test, that day and time will become the individual’s permanent testing time for the remainder of the semester.
All on-campus community members will need to participate in the testing protocols, even for individuals who have already received both doses of the vaccine, Wight said.
All students must receive their first SU-administered rapid test between March 1 and 6, regardless of their last testing date, the email continued.
Restricted access to campus buildings will begin at noon on March 7 for individuals who are still noncompliant with the testing protocols at that time, per the email. Residential students who are noncompliant with the weekly testing requirement may face suspension from student housing at any time following March 7.
The university has been asked to increase testing frequency by deploying rapid antigen testing in addition to its polymerase chain reaction tests, which have been used since last fall, under guidance from the University System of Maryland.
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 with a rapid test, a PCR test will then be conducted to confirm those results, said Vicki Lentz, director of student health services.
Students should not arrive earlier than 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment, and those who arrive more than 15 minutes late will forfeit that week’s test, according to the email.
Makeup days will be scheduled every Wednesday for those missing tests on Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays, and every Saturday for those missing tests on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the email continued.
All SU coronavirus tests will continue to be administered Mondays through Saturdays in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall.
The rapid tests, which detect traces of proteins found in the virus, offer a much quicker turnaround time than PCR tests, with results potentially available as soon as 15 minutes after being administered, according to Memorial Healthcare.
University members who later need to change the day or time of their scheduled COVID-19 test should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Students not planning to regularly be on campus every week for classes or to use any campus facilities should also contact email@example.com to determine a plan for testing and classroom access.
SU has identified 12 positive cases of the virus over 1,808 COVID-19 tests administered this week, leaving the campus with a positivity rate of 0.7%, per the university’s coronavirus dashboard. The campus has remained under 1% positivity for nearly the entire spring semester thus far.
Wight expressed optimism during his weekly briefing about the state of the university moving forward amidst the ongoing pandemic.
“The willingness of our campus community to follow safety protocols and participate in regular COVID-19 testing allows us to be successful and plan for a more normal fall semester,” Wight said.
For more information on SU’s testing protocols or to view the latest university COVID-19 test results, visit https://www.salisbury.edu/coronavirus/testing-info.aspx.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Urgent Care Omaha.