Boston College’s COVID-19 testing program is off to a good start, University administrators report, with more than 5,400 tests administered in Conte Forum for faculty, staff, and some graduate and professional students from onset through Friday morning, August 21. One staff member and one graduate student tested positive; both are in isolation, and contact tracing for each has been conducted through University Health Services.
Although testing will be available on a walk-in basis through August 30, faculty and staff—along with graduate or professional students and those undergraduates arriving early or living off campus—are urged to have their tests performed this week, as the arrival of undergraduates over the weekend will mean longer wait times. Test times at Conte this week average 10 to 15 minutes.
Faculty and staff also can sign up in advance for a window of time for their test through August 23.
The testing program is the result of extensive planning involving numerous offices and departments as part of the University’s preparations to reopen on August 31. University personnel are staffing testing check-in stations at Conte Forum, and the tests are administered by health care professionals affiliated with BC, including representatives of University Health Services and the Connell School of Nursing. BC has contracted with the Broad Institute to analyze the tests; individuals must sign a consent form prior to testing, either at check-in or electronically at bc.edu/consent.
VIDEO: University Health Services and Primary Care Sports Medicine Director Dr. Douglas Comeau takes you through BC's COVID-19 testing process.
All test results will be reported within six to 26 hours. Negative results are emailed to individuals from Broad Institute partner CareEvolve. Those who test positive, or whose tests are inconclusive, will be called by the ordering physician or a designee.
Testing for undergraduates living on campus will begin the week of August 24 immediately prior to their scheduled move-in. Students living on or off campus are required to quarantine in their room until they receive a negative test result. This policy applies to all residential students, regardless of home state or any COVID-19 test results prior to arriving on campus.
Faculty, staff, and students all will receive wristbands at the completion of their test, which they are asked to wear until September 12, when the testing program shifts to a new format, according to University Health Services and Primary Care Sports Medicine Director Dr. Douglas Comeau.
“After September 12, we will be doing a mixture of robust symptomatic and asymptomatic testing on a weekly basis, supported by the Broad Institute and our on-campus lab,” he said. “There are likely to be positive cases, but early identification, and the ability of the University to isolate individuals who test positive, will help us keep the community safe.”
Additional information on the University’s plans for reopening can be found at bc.edu/reopen.
University Communications | August 2020