Mandatory testing procedures announced

Mandatory+testing+procedures+announced

Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

Students who live, work or attend in person during winter quarter are required to take a COVID-19 test before in-person classes resume.

In an email to campus, Dr. Carylin Holsey, director of the health center, said testing for students will be conducted between Jan. 8 and Jan. 14Testing for staff and faculty is encouraged but not mandatory, according to an update posted by Associate Dean of Health and Wellness Shawnté Elbert.

Testing days for students are assigned by grade level. Students who cannot attend their testing day are required to provide their own COVID-19 test equivalent to the PCR tests (commonly known as nasal swab tests) used by Student Health Services (SHS). 

Testing will be done in Nicholson Pavilion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students must be in the building by 2:30 p.m. to be tested. Flu shots will also be offered during this time, Holsey said.

First year, post baccalaureate and graduate students are scheduled to test on Jan. 8. Sophomores are scheduled for Jan. 11 and juniors for the 12. 

Seniors are split into two groups, with students who have last names starting with A through K scheduled for Jan. 13, and those with last names starting with L through Z scheduled for the 14.

University employees can be tested for free at Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day of the week, excluding holidays, Elbert said.

Students who do not live or work on campus and are only taking fully remote classes are not required to test for COVID-19.

All students currently away from campus are encouraged to take advantage of free testing in their area. 

Students who are returning from out-of-state or a COVID-19 hotspot are encouraged to quarantine for 14 days upon return, even if they are asymptomatic, Dean of Student Success Gregg Heinselman said in an online update. If students cannot quarantine for that long, it said, they should quarantine for seven days and then get tested, even if they remain asymptomatic.

Elbert’s release gave the same guidelines to returning university employees, while specifying that “supervisors or managers are not required nor encouraged to monitor employee adherence to quarantine recommendations.”

Students who provide their own COVID-19 test must do so within 72 hours of receiving the results, and can either schedule an appointment to drop the results off at SHS or email them to [email protected] Walk-in results will not be accepted without an appointment, the email said.

Once test results are approved by SHS, students will be emailed a clearance to return to campus.

According to Holsey, students who are not tested or who do not provide test results cannot live, work or attend classes on campus in any capacity. However, they can still enroll in completely remote learning.

CWU will also perform prevalence testing during the upcoming quarter. Between 150-200 students will be tested each week to allow local health professionals to monitor and respond to any potential spread of the virus in the community, Holsey said. Students will be randomly selected for testing, and will be notified if they have been selected and directed where to go through email.

Students will also now be required to submit updated immunization records to Med+Proctor, a student immunization verification software, by Feb. 1. Those who have not received the required vaccinations can obtain them for a fee at SHS once they are enrolled and attending classes.

According to the CWU website, both the MMR vaccine and the Menactra (Men ACWY) vaccine are currently required. Tdap/Td, bexsero (Men B), gardasil, influenza, Hep B and Hep A immunizations are currently recommended but not required.

Any students who do not submit their immunization records by the deadline will have a registration hold placed on their account until they do. Anyone requesting an exemption can find the required forms on the Med+Proctor portal or the SHS website.

Students are encouraged to update their physical address through their MyCWU account to ensure they receive “critical health information regarding COVID-19,” Holsey said. They, along with employees, will additionally be required to complete an attestation form for winter quarter through their MyCWU accounts by Jan. 15. As of Dec. 29, the attestations are not available through MyCWU to be completed. 

Students with questions are encouraged to contact SHS at (509) 963-1881.