Students, faculty and staff at all 11 Texas A&M System universities across the state will soon have quick and easy access to free testing for COVID-19.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our students is our top priority,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “Facilitating increased accessibility and availability of COVID-19 testing will help us mitigate the spread and help to protect each other by taking preventative and proactive measures.”
Approximately 15,000 test kits will be sent to system campuses each month. Each campus will set up a central location for the testing, which will consist of a simple, painless mouth swab. Testing could start as early as late this week.
The testing is possible thanks to an agreement Chancellor Sharp negotiated with Curative Inc., a national testing company based in California. Curative has committed to turning around lab results within 30 hours from when the sample arrives at their lab.
To date, Curative has released more than 1.2 million test results and is processing 55 to 60 thousand test kits per day with plenty of capacity.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, or suspect that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes at any time, beginning 48 hours before the individual had symptoms, regardless of wearing a face mask.
While the tests are free, those who have insurance are encouraged to use their primary care physician to access the test so that their test can be paid for by insurance. The on-campus tests will not be available to the general public.
Each campus will establish an on-line test registration, and anyone wishing to be tested must first sign up there. Trained personnel will monitor the self-administered oral swabbing required.