Today@Sam Article

New COVID-19 Testing Opportunity Open To Student Organizations

Feb. 10, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

With the health and safety of our campus remaining a top priority, student organizations at Sam Houston State University are finding creative ways to conduct their academic programming and host social events.

Spr21FirstDayClass19The pandemic has changed the way we learn and live. Even though registered student organizations can still hold in-person events on campus, they must adhere to university guidelines including proper social distancing and face coverings to reduce potential risk of exposure.

To aid the university with its initiatives, the SHSU Student Health Center has partnered with Leadership Initiatives and Greek Life to offer these groups a rapid antigen testing option to help identify any campus members that may need to isolate in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The pilot program will utilize the BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen test cards for screening provided by Texas Department of Emergency Management under the same program that is in place for K-12 testing in Texas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testing sample groups of asymptomatic students routinely could increase the timeliness of outbreak detection and response by rapidly identifying and isolating COVID-19 cases that would have otherwise gone undetected without testing.

“We are asking student and Greek Life organizations to volunteer as a group for this routine testing. We feel this is a way to be proactive for their community,” Erica Bumpers, director of the Student Health Center said.

The program will run from February 14 to March 14 and testing will be conducted twice a week. The SHC will work with each interested organization and Leadership Initiatives to get testing in place.

“Our plan is to do a four-week pilot and test each group that volunteers to participate twice per week and then follow results,” Bumpers said. “Any positive cases would be referred to the SHC to be placed under the proper isolation protocols and subsequently we will also be able to quarantine any potential exposures.”

Bumpers emphasized that while the pilot program is expected to help, the testing is not giving students a “pass” or permission to be lax about our mitigation strategies such as social distancing and wearing face coverings when they are together, but to be proactive and identify asymptomatic cases.

“We are reducing the impact that an outbreak would have on their organizations and asking them as campus leaders to set an example for a testing strategy amongst our community,” Bumpers said.

All organizations interested in volunteering to participate in the pilot program should contact Meredith Conrey by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12. Participating organizations will be placed into a drawing for the possibility to win $100 from the SHC.



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