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Random-Sample Testing for Those on UW Campus Begins Today

August 20, 2020

With the start of the fall semester Monday, Aug. 24, the University of Wyoming will move to the next stage of its COVID-19 testing program.

Monday marks the start of Phase 1 reopening, and students and employees who will be on campus are required to complete the pre-return COVID-19 Vault Health test before arrival. For those who already have received their negative test results, no further action is required. Those who will be on campus during Phase 1 who haven’t completed the pre-return test should do so immediately.

Additionally, starting Monday, everyone on campus -- students, faculty and staff -- will be tested regularly throughout the phased return of on-campus instruction and work. The random-sampling process will utilize Microsoft Bookings links, which those selected for the sample will receive by email. Those who receive the email are asked to register right away and sign up for a time slot to provide a saliva sample at a location on main campus.

This Phase 1 random-sample testing also will utilize Vault Health, but in a different manner. Once samples are provided on campus, the test kits will be sent by the university to the company for analysis. UW students and employees who take the test will receive their results via email from Vault within three to five days. Those randomly selected for this testing will not be expected to quarantine while they await results. If you receive a positive test result for COVID-19, please follow the appropriate steps, shared in the COVID-19 Policy.

“A single positive test result will not diagnose everyone who is a part of that outbreak, but it will give us a good indication that such an outbreak is occurring,” says Dr. Brant Schumaker, a UW epidemiologist leading the post-return testing program. “That will allow the president and his leadership team to evaluate the situation and consider how to respond.”

This on-campus random-sample testing will be an addition to the daily COVIDPass screening that begins Monday.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 testing protocols -- for students and employees on campus starting Sept. 7 and Sept. 28, respectively -- are under development. Like Phase 1, Phase 2 will be a random-sample process. During Phase 3, plans call for everyone on campus to be tested at least once a week.

The Phase 3 surveillance testing, to be conducted by the university with a 24-hour turnaround, is based on research that shows a need to remove 80 percent of infectivity on campus in order to avoid having a substantial outbreak at UW. This will be accomplished with a saliva test developed by the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign.

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