I’m writing to provide a brief overview of our testing plan in the spring. As shared last month with the campus community, we will be conducting PCR self-collected saliva testing. The summary below details the frequency of testing for students and how the process will work.
COVID-19 Student Testing Protocol
Who is required to test?
Testing is mandatory. All students, living both on and off campus in the Tacoma area will be tested twice a week for COVID-19. Students who are living in Tacoma and the surrounding areas and are taking courses remotely are required to participate in the testing program if they will be on campus or interacting with the campus community.
Who may opt out?
Students are not required to test if they are attending Puget Sound completely remotely with no in-person Puget Sound community engagement at all. These will be students who are living out of state or who live far enough away that they will not come to campus or engage in person with any Puget Sound community member.
How does testing work?
All students will be scheduled twice a week for self-collected saliva PCR testing. We are contracted with Meenta, an organization that facilitates connection with labs to ensure we have consistent access to testing materials and capacity to get testing results in a timely manner. The lab we are currently partnered with is called Miramus.
When will I test?
The testing center will be open Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Scheduling information will be sent to students via email in early January 2021.
Where will I test?
The testing pavilion will be located in a tent on the event lawn between Thomas Hall and Warner Gym. It will be open to Puget Sound students, faculty and staff members only.
How are student-athletes being tested?
Student-athletes are required to test at least twice a week. Athletes may be required to test more frequently depending on the sport they are participating in and whether that sport is in season or not.
Are the saliva tests more or less effective than the nasal swab tests?
Saliva PCR tests are equally effective as nasal swab PCR tests.
Will Puget Sound administer vaccines?
A limited quantity of vaccines is being made available in Washington state beginning this week for use by health care workers and those in long-term care facilities. We don’t have information yet about the availability of vaccines on campus.
Please look for additional information in early January. Information is also available at pugetsound.edu/spring2021, and we will host a town hall meeting for students and families on testing Thursday, Dec. 17, 5–6 p.m. to respond to your questions. Information about joining the meeting is posted at pugetsound.edu/covid19internal.
Kelly K. Brown, Ph.D. | Director
Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services