The University of California San Diego will next week begin mass testing of students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 under a ‘Return to Learn’ program the institution hopes to extend to the fall if it reopens as planned, it said in a statement.
CBS 8 called the program the first such plan on campus in the country.
The mass testing program will begin May 11 with the 5,000 students who currently remain on campus. The program involves self-administered, nasal swab-based COVID-19 tests that will be made available to the students. And if it is successfully implemented in the short term, the program will continue, with monthly tests starting September, for the institution’s 65,000 students, staff and faculty, the university said. The program team will also look for signs of the coronavirus in residential wastewater and surface collections.
“This effort will leverage the ingenuity and expertise of our clinicians, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians, and others to work toward a tailored map of where the virus is, and where it isn’t,” said the university’s chancellor, Pradeep Khosla, in the statement. “We expect these efforts to help put us in the best possible position to minimize virus outbreaks and implement new interventions as needed, should we resume in-person activities this fall.”