4-tiered Testing Program to be Implemented
Just as the information and understanding of COVID-19 is evolving, so is our planning and protocols for how we limit its spread within the Chapman community and broader community. As we gradually increase the population of our Orange and Rinker campuses, we are continuously assessing our strategy and making changes as needed. Today I would like to inform you that, after consultation with infectious disease expert and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco Dan Kelly, we will be increasing the testing protocols to add yet another level of risk reduction to our current processes.
As you know, we currently require an at-home COVID-19 test, comprehensive training and daily symptom checks to access campus facilities. When returning to campus and accessing the facilities themselves, we mandate CU Staying Healthy protocols including face coverings, hand washing and physical distancing facilitated by substantial signage and furniture placement. Additionally, we have extensive protocols in place for targeted testing and contact tracing when positive COVID-19 cases are detected.
In the coming weeks, we will introduce a 4-tiered testing program that will test, a minimum of monthly, the entire population of individuals who are regularly accessing campus facilities, including students in residence halls, off-campus students participating in in-person instruction, staff, administration and faculty members accessing the campuses as well as contracted service providers such as Aramark, Follett and Sodexo. A separate, more frequent tier of testing will be implemented for student-athletes based on SCIAC, NCAA and State guidelines. Another tier of more frequent testing will be in place for advanced production film students working on set based on the current industry guidelines. Finally, for Rinker health science and pharmacy students with special requirements, we will have on-site testing that meets the requirements of their programs. Chapman’s Director of Student Health Jaqueline Deats is working closely with all impacted areas and is leading the testing efforts on the campuses.
The logistics of the additional testing is in development now and we will be providing information soon to those impacted by the additional tiers. We will also be scheduling a Chapman community virtual town hall to discuss the details prior to the implementation of the new protocol.
While this testing will come at a substantial cost for the university, we believe adding another layer of risk reduction will help us limit the spread of COVID-19 as we continue our phased return to the campuses.