UConn Plans COVID-19 Tests For Students, Faculty and Staff Who Return To Campus

Christel Deskins

Students, staff and faculty who return to University of Connecticut campuses next month will need to get COVID-19 testing, administrators announced. But there will be no mandatory testing of telecommuting staff, faculty who teach only online or students who take classes online and live off campus. UConn is rolling out […]

Students, staff and faculty who return to University of Connecticut campuses next month will need to get COVID-19 testing, administrators announced.

But there will be no mandatory testing of telecommuting staff, faculty who teach only online or students who take classes online and live off campus.

UConn is rolling out procedures for its fall semester, when some classes will be held in person and others will be online only. It announced Saturday that it will conduct COVID-19 before classes actually resume.

“If a student or employee is coming to our campuses because they have to be there, they should be tested. This includes faculty, staff and commuter students on every campus, both graduate and undergraduate,” administrators said in a statement.

Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 31. The university said all residential students will return about two weeks before that to be tested and quarantined on campus.

UConn plans to provide testing during check-in, but has not released details about that yet. The school is also still working out specifics for how it will test commuter students who don’t obtain a test on their own.

“The university is currently exploring several options for testing and specific information on these testing options will be available on the SHaW website by Aug. 1,” UConn said.

Free testing will be available to faculty and staff who will be working on a campus. During August, there will be one-day test sites at the Avery Point and Stamford campuses, and ongoing tests at the Storrs campus. Staff and faculty at the Waterbury and Hartford campuses will be able to use UConn Health’s Farmington drive-through location. 

Faculty and staff who are coming from out of state to work on a campus should plan for a potential 14-day quarantine, UConn said.

Despite the expense, Tufts University and some other colleges are considering weekly testing of students during the fall semester. Others are advising that testing is optional.

Students who return to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst must sign an agreement that they’ll undergo a test before arriving, and also submit to testing if they develop symptoms during the year. The University of Georgia and the University of Montana, in contrast, make no mention of COVID-19 testing in their reopening plans.

“Testing is only one aspect of a successful effort to prevent the spread of the virus,” UConn said. “The other, which is just as critical, requires every one of us to follow the guidelines mandated by the university for every individual who will be working and/or living on our campuses.”

That includes mandatory masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing or sanitizing.

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©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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