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University to require COVID-19 testing before in-person events, meetings

University to require COVID-19 testing before in-person events, meetings

University to require COVID-19 testing before in-person events, meetings
February 26
11:00 2021

Starting March 3, the university will require students and staff to test negative for COVID-19 before attending any in-person events or meetings, according to a Wednesday afternoon email from President Neal Smatresk.

Smatresk said this step will help “enhance our ability to give [students] the in-person experiences [they] would like.”

Amy Armstrong, the senior communications strategist for the Division of Student Affairs, said students have requested to bring back in-person events and the university now has the resources to provide more tests.

“We have the testing ability now,” Armstrong said. “We’ve heard since the start — [students] have wanted to bring back in-person experiences. The safest way to do that is through testing. Especially, since the vaccines are not yet widely available.”

Those attending in-person events will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result which they received within seven days of the event or have tested positive for the virus within the previous 90 days.

Armstrong said the latter was due to hazy results coming in from those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered.

“Well, the data shows that if you’ve tested positive within those 90 days, you’re not only as likely to get the virus again but you could continue to test positive,” Armstrong said. “That’s pretty standard at this point.”

The only exceptions to this upcoming guideline will be Commencement ceremonies and one-on-one meetings between students and staff. The former exclusive is due to a lack of resources to manage events of that scale, according to Armstrong.

“We don’t have the capability for that kind of testing,” Armstrong said. “We were able to successfully hold a commencement ceremony in December, so we’ve learned we could safely hold that. So that’s why we’re not doing that at this time.”

Test are not required to take in-person classes. The university said on Twitter it feels confident it can ensure a safe classroom environment, but encourages faculty, staff and students to get tested twice a month.

The university will only accept test results from Curative and BinaxNow, the brands providing tests on-campus. The email provided some bullet points for how to handle tests:

    • Curative test result UNT automatically will receive.
    • BinaxNow test result (test conducted through the Student Health and Wellness Center’s mobile testing program). The student will show their result on a mobile device at door.
    • An uploaded positive COVID-19 test result within the last 90 days would exempt the student from weekly testing.
      • Must be uploaded at least 72 hours prior to the event so it can be confirmed. It will only have to be uploaded once.
  • Test results are valid for only seven days.
  • If a student wants to attend an event but does not have a valid Curative or BinaxNow test result, they must make arrangements with an on-campus testing partner to test at least 72 hours prior to the event. This will ensure the availability of an appointment and their results being received.
  • Only Curative and BinaxNow COVID-19 test results will be accepted for entrance to events and meetings.
  • When registering to take any COVID-19 test, students must use their name as shown in the MyUNT portal (do not use nicknames).
  • Students in isolation, quarantine, or those who have a pending test result should not attend any event.
  • Even if a student has received the COVID-19 vaccine, they will need to test until the University understands more about the effectiveness of vaccines and the impact of the new strands of COVID-19. Students will be notified if something changes in this requirement.

Students with known exposure or who display recognizable symptoms should report them to the university’s COVID-19 hotline at (844) 366-5892 or at COVID@unt.edu.

“We are confident in our safety protocols, which are further bolstered by the care and caution each of you is continuing to show for one another and others in our campus community,” Smatresk said in Wednesday’s email. “Please continue to check healthalerts.unt.edu for updates.”

Featured Image: UNT officials implement safety procedures for students and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image by Quincy Palmer

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Will Tarpley

Will Tarpley

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