All students who live in University residences — including first-year dormitories, residential colleges, language houses, upperclassmen apartments and the Lawn and Range — will be tested for COVID-19 on a regularly scheduled basis, per an email sent to Resident Staff Monday from Director of Residence Life Andy Petters.
“The goal with this process is to identify asymptomatic students in residence halls before the virus has a chance to spread widely,” Petters wrote in the email obtained by The Cavalier Daily.
University Spokesperson Wes Hester confirmed in an email statement that employees of the residences will also have the opportunity to be tested.
“Our strategy has mostly been based on looking at the positive cases that exist in a residence hall, augmenting that with results from wastewater analysis, and then making a decision on whether and where to move forward with testing all occupants,” Hester wrote. “The addition of saliva testing is increasing the capacity of our testing and we think that will continue”
According to the email, buildings will either be designated for nasal swab testing, which has been occurring at the Student Activity Building, or the University’s new saliva testing program.
“The testing procedure itself should take less than 10 minutes,” Petters said.
Petters encouraged resident staff to be a calming presence and a good role model for students, warning that students who test negative for the virus may develop a “sense of false confidence.”
“It remains important for us to follow the University expectations regarding facial coverings, physical distance, hand hygiene, gathering size limits, etc.,” Petters wrote.
Last week, the University extended its COVID-19 restrictions on students, including strict adherence to mask-wearing rules and a setting a five-person limit on gatherings. The number of people who are allowed to gather was increased Tuesday to 10.
The number of COVID-19 cases reported in the University community dropped to an average of 14 per day last week. As of Wednesday, there have been 1,000 cases of COVID-19 reported in the community since Aug. 17.