The Collegian
Thursday, December 03, 2020

97

Total cumulative cases

8,508

Total COVID-19 tests

1.1%

Total positivity

1

Current cases

1.2%

Current monthly positivity rate

UR offers students COVID-19 tests before Thanksgiving break

<p>Graphic by Katherine Gillenwater</p>

Graphic by Katherine Gillenwater

The University of Richmond offered COVID-19 exit testing this week before most students leave campus until the spring semester. UR offered testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, according to an email sent to students and their parents on Nov. 3., and additional exit testing options on Wednesday and Thursday, according to an an email sent Monday.

In the initial Nov. 3 email, Jeffrey Legro, executive vice president and provost, and Steve Bisese, vice president for student development, discussed plans for fall departure, announcing the Tuesday exit testing option and noting alternative off-campus locations where students could receive a COVID-19 test, which included CVS and Walgreens. 

"The University will use a PCR test and results are expected to be available within 48 to 72 hours,"  Legro and Bisese wrote of the Tuesday option. "Unlike regular prevalence testing, this testing is completely voluntary." 

Because of limited testing time slots, residential students who do not have a car on campus received testing registration priority, followed by residential students who have a car on campus and then other undergraduate and law students, according to the email.

UR later sent another email to students with links to sign up for an exit testing slot and a list of local, off-campus testing sites. Residential students without a car received the email the morning of Nov. 11 and had until 3 p.m. on Nov. 12 to claim a spot, while residential students with a car received the email the evening of Nov. 12 and had until 3 p.m. on Nov. 13 to register. Students living off campus did not receive the email.

On Monday, the school sent an email to all students offering additional on-campus COVID-19 testing slots on Wednesday and Thursday. The additional testing will be rapid antigen testing, which is believed to be less accurate than PCR testing, according to the email. The Wednesday and Thursday test results are expected to be available within 24 hours of taking the test, the email stated. 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, UR and the Virginia Department of Health will conduct contact tracing and the student's close contacts will need to go into quarantine, the Monday email stated. 

Students may quarantine on campus or go home by private car, according to the email.

Sophomore Kathryn Reda signed up last Thursday for exit testing at UR because it was more convenient than getting tested off campus, she said. 

"I think right now everyone's in a very hectic state and we're just trying to do things in the simplest way possible," she said. "I think it's great the school is offering students the ability to get tested before going home, and that way we can easily do the responsible thing. I know my parents were scared of me coming home and transmitting the virus to them, so it just gives everyone peace of mind." 

Senior Meghan Murphy also chose to get a test through UR because of convenience, she said. 

"Honestly, it's just the most convenient option because I can go right before I have class," Murphy said. "And I figured since maybe it's only students from the school getting tested, it'll [be] quicker for the results to come back because it's a smaller population." 

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Murphy is also getting tested when she arrives home, she said. She decided to get a test before leaving campus because the recent increase of coronavirus cases on campus made her want to be extra cautious, she said. 

"If there wasn't a recent spike in cases, I probably would have just trusted the one I got at home," Murphy said. "But I'm going home and doing a family Thanksgiving, so it's very nerve wracking to think about bringing [COVID-19] home from a college campus to my parents." 

As of Tuesday evening, there were 31 active COVID-19 cases reported on UR's COVID-19 Dashboard. Last week, in response to a sharp uptick in cases, UR returned to the Red Stage of its COVID-19 distancing framework until at least November 22. 

Contact news writer Meredith Moran at Meredith.moran@richmond.edu.

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