Key Updates About Mandatory COVID-19 Testing
As we prepare to welcome you to Andrews University for our campus reopening, we know that each of you is making all the necessary arrangements to join us here on campus. As you make those preparations, I’d like to provide some key updates related to the mandatory COVID-19 testing of all main campus students.
As a main campus student, you will be required to take an initial viral test for COVID-19, which will be provided and administered at no additional cost to each student, prior to the first day of classes on August 24. If you fail to get tested or if you receive a positive test result, you will not be permitted to attend in-person classes. The University has an established contract with Orig3n to provide the testing services in collaboration with a CLIA-certified laboratory (which ensures quality testing procedures) located in Boston, Massachusetts.
As you make your preparations for this testing, I have outlined below a few frequently asked questions:
What is the purpose of the testing plan?
The general purpose of the testing protocol selected by Andrews University is to have a single snapshot of every member of our campus, within a focused-short period of time. This community data point will be used to quickly respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19 as well as activate contact tracing and quarantine or isolation procedures as needed at the beginning of the school year. Although we understand the potential value of having negative COVID-19 test results prior to arriving on campus (understanding that travelers to campus would still have potential exposure) for various reasons, we concluded that it was not feasible to require everyone to take the test, prior to arriving on campus.
Planning on-campus testing within a focused period of time, ensures the availability, the affordability, consistency in testing procedures, as well as the ability to receive timely results (24–36 hours) for each member of our community. Providing on-campus testing also helps us manage those that were unable to get testing done or get timely results, along with their desire to be in face-to-face classes by August 24, 2020.
How does the test work?
- The testing company, Orig3n, will use a nasopharyngeal testing method. The nasopharyngeal testing method will involve inserting a 6-inch long nasopharyngeal swab (like a long Q-tip) into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is then repeated on the other side of the nose to make sure enough material is collected. The swab is then inserted into a container and shipped on dry ice via FedEx Overnight to the Boston-based lab for testing.
How long will it take to get the results and how will I be notified?
- Most results should be available within 24–36 hours after receipt of the specimen by Orig3n's laboratory.
- You will be notified of your results through the mobile- or PC-based technology system.
Will I be quarantined while I await my test results?
- No, you will not be required to observe a strict quarantine. However, immediately after the time of testing, contact with others and movement outside of contact with your immediate family members or roommates should be restricted to only what is essential, especially when you are indoors, until the test results are provided (within 24–36 hours). You should also adhere to strict wearing of a face covering and physical distancing (unless in your own room, home or vehicle).
Will the University have access to my test results?
- Yes, the University will have access to your test results.
- Prior to the test being administered, you will sign a consent authorizing the lab and Orig3n to provide test results to the University.
- Although the University is not governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) because it does no third-party billing, the University is fully committed to protecting the health data of its students and employees.
What will the University do with my test results?
- The University will use the test results to identify persons who test positive and to appropriately instruct them to self-isolate and to prepare remote learning options for those who are impacted by a positive diagnosis.
- Any positive test results will also be shared with the local Berrien County Health Department.
What are the testing dates for students, and how do I reserve a testing appointment?
- You will be able to reserve a time slot in our online reservation systems for your viral testing appointment. We will contact you by email toward the end of July or early August to confirm when you can access this online reservation system.
The following are the dates and times when the various student groups will be tested. Please plan on making any personal travel arrangements with these dates in mind.
Returning Community Students and University Apartments Students
- August 10–12, 2020, from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
New Students (Undergraduate, Graduate and Transfer Students)
- August 17, 2020, from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Returning Residence Hall Students (Lamson, Meier and University Towers Residents)
- August 18–19, 2020, from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
- [Please note that select student groups (such as residence life staff, student leaders and select academic programs) will have special testing dates due to their early campus arrival. Those dates will be shared directly with those relevant student groups.]
- Returning Community Students and University Apartments Students
What if I plan to travel and arrive in the Berrien Springs area several days or weeks before my testing date?
As long as students have not been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or do not show symptoms or test positive, upon arrival they will NOT be required to undergo isolation (which is for persons with symptoms or who tested positive) or be strictly quarantined (which is for persons who may have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19). Even so, the University asks students who travel and arrive in the Berrien Springs area before testing commences, and until their test results are available and negative for COVID-19, to:
- Limit their movements to essential needs, both on-campus and off-campus, and adhere to strict wearing of a face covering and physical distancing (unless in their own home or vehicle).
- Understand that many buildings on campus will intentionally remain closed to regular student traffic until around August 14. Most campus departments located in campus buildings will continue to be closed for face-to-face interaction and will provide services virtually or remotely (i.e. academic advisors will advise students by phone or ZOOM, etc.) until the test results begin to be available to us.
What if I am unable to make these testing dates?
- You can request an accommodation for your personal testing only on a case-by-case basis. Students who need accommodations should contact associate dean Alyssa Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration of alternate arrangements.
I recognize there will be many adjustments and occasional inconveniences in your student experience as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, including the testing process described in this letter.
We are a community committed to the values of God’s kingdom, which means that God’s call to care for the wellbeing of others is central to our community, and that sometimes means personal sacrifice. These are shared responsibilities for our Andrews University community, especially now. As a result, we are asking that each one of you, as a treasured member of our campus community, is fully committed to honoring and meeting specific expectations that will help to create a culture of care in this time of pandemic.
As this summer continues, I especially encourage you to regularly visit our “World Changers for a changing world” website. We will continue to share important campus reopening updates on that page.
Most of all, we look forward to this August, when we can welcome you back, or for the very first time, to Andrews University.
Vice President for Campus & Student Life