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FSU starting random COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic students, staff

Posted at 11:51 AM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 11:51:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University says random testing of asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff will begin September 14 and continue throughout the Fall 2020 semester.

The testing is a part of a random COVID-19 testing program the university is implementing.

Monitored by epidemiologists at the SAFER program and in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health, random testing allows FSU to monitor and respond to infection levels in the campus community.

FSU's goal is to test at least 5-10% of those who are on campus daily based on the average from the prior week.

The program will begin on Monday, September 14.

Voluntary testing will continue to be available through Friday, September 11.

The university says each week, students, faculty, and staff who are engaged in on-campus activities will be randomly selected to participate and notified by email and MyFSU push notification on Sunday with a reminder sent Monday.

Those selected will be directed to make a testing appointment at the Tucker Civic Center.

Appointments must be scheduled no later than Tuesday, and specimen collection must be completed by Friday of that week.

The following three cohorts are grouped based on risk stratifications, including behavioral and geographic considerations.

  1. Undergraduate students living off-campus. The off-campus community is one of the largest sources of concern and the furthest from the influence of the university. These students participate in classes, have access to the libraries, gyms, in-person events, etc
  2. Students in university residence halls. This population is predominately undergraduates and they have already completed mandatory return-to-campus testing. They are also high risk due to close living quarters, shared eating spaces, shared bathrooms, etc.
  3. Graduate students, faculty and staff participating in on-campus activities. This group tends to skew towards adherence to preventative guidelines. Surveillance is still necessary to establish and monitor baseline levels and aid early detection of changes.

The university says a final cohort is suggested for high-activity individuals based on the number of in-person classes or high swipe-card activity, for example, those with high rates of participation in student events or those participating in fraternity and sorority life.

This group may be modified to include other emerging high-risk groups which warrant a higher level of monitoring.

Students who do not comply with the testing invitation may have swipe card access revoked, face student conduct charges, and may continue classes via remote learning.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the random testing program in order to help the University meet its public health goals.

Program selection is randomized, and individuals may be selected more than once during the semester.

All those who participate in testing must also cooperate with the SAFER program for contact assessment and epidemiological analysis.

To learn more about the random testing click here.