Salisbury University students could face suspension from campus housing for missing three COVID-19 tests during the remainder of the spring semester, according to the university’s new Code of Community Standards policies.
SU enacted heightened testing protocols this week under University System of Maryland guidance, requiring students to receive a rapid antigen COVID-19 test once per week and employees twice per month.
The university has administered more tests over the past week than the rest of the past month combined, now testing as many as 1,000 campus community members each day, per a recent Stay Informed email.
Students, faculty and staff will be allowed just one makeup COVID-19 test for the remainder of the semester as a result of the sharp increase in testing volume, according to the email.
Arriving for a scheduled test more than 15 minutes late will also qualify as a missed test and trigger the one-time makeup test link to be sent to that individual’s SU email address.
University members who miss their scheduled rapid test and are unable to make it up will lose access to all SU facilities, classrooms and residence halls, per the university’s Public Relations Office.
SU President Charles Wight said an email will be sent out to reschedule tests currently scheduled during the university’s mini spring break, March 15-16, for individuals who will not be in the local area during those days.
SU has identified 20 positive cases of the virus over 3,433 tests through its first week under the tightened COVID-19 testing protocols thus far, leaving the campus with a 0.6% positivity rate, according to the university’s coronavirus dashboard.
Wight said the increase in testing allows the university to “maintain surveillance over the health of our community … [and] better catch individual cases as they arise and further prevent the spread of disease on our campus, so it makes us all a little bit safer.”
All SU-administered coronavirus tests will continue to be given in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall every day of the week.
Students seeking relief from coronavirus-related expenses and hardships may now be eligible for federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Grants, which were made available by Congress as part of a package to supplement last year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
While the CARES Act was intended to cover 2020 coronavirus expenses for all Americans, portions of the funds were distributed to colleges and universities nationwide for COVID-19 relief in the form of HEERF Grants. The latest round of additional funding for college students, HEERF II, recently made its way to SU.
SU students incurring “emergency expenses” as a result of the pandemic – which may include tuition, housing, food, health care, transportation expenses, child care and other coronavirus-related costs – are eligible to apply for the grants, per a recent Stay Informed email. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a spring 2021 degree-seeking program at the university and have a valid 2020-21 FAFSA.
The application process for HEERF II Grants may be started here.
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 Salisbury University Public Relations Office.