How Temple’s COVID-19 Testing Program is Working

Students are experiencing a new normal, getting tested once or twice a week for COVID-19.

They can set up appointments through their TU Health Portal at any location on campus, including Mitten Hall and the Student Center, where they can administer asymptomatic PCR tests to themselves, and Morgan Hall, where they can receive rapid symptomatic tests. 

“It’s been an overwhelming smooth success,” said Mark Denys, Director of Student Health Services.

Upon arrival, students will check in to a location by providing a student health worker their name, TUID and phone number. This information is provided to better identify who you are.

“I feel like if people know that they-re positive or negative, that’s going to have a huge impact on who comes on campus,” said Sophomore Daniel Roberts.

When students administer a PCR test to themselves, a barcode is scanned on the side of the test tube, which is directly associated with them. The test tube, which also has a QR code on the bottom is sent off to the recently established lab at the Health Science campus.

A PCR test is a self administered nasal swab that Deny says is the “golden standard” for Covid testing. The test detects RNA (a genetic material) which can detect the virus within days of infection.

“That way, the lab knows, when the results come back it’s going back to you,” Deny said. “Then that result gets imported into our electronic medical record, and then the record sends out the notice.”

Results for students receiving a rapid symptomatic test will come back to them within an hour. Students receiving an asymptomatic PCR test will see their results in around a day.

“I am in the group that gets tested twice a week, so I get tested Tuesdays and Fridays,” Freshman Camille Kent said. “I was kind of exposed yesterday, so I just wanted to make sure I was good, so I got tested today too.”

Testing makes up a few categories for students like Camille. 

Students who take two in person classes and those taking one in person class who live within the surrounding six area codes are required to be tested twice a week.

Students who live off-campus, but are taking one in person class are required to only be tested once a week.

Students living within the six area codes near campus not attending in-person classes have the choice to get tested once a week. 

Denys says testing is getting to be even more efficient as the system proves it is working and students will receive results even sooner in the near future.

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