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University of Tennessee encouraging students, staff to be tested for COVID-19

The University of Tennessee has updated its testing policy and is encouraging students and staff to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus.
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:54 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 12:12 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -The University of Tennessee has updated its testing policy and is encouraging students and staff to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus.

According to the university, it has updated its procedures for testing for all students and staff on campus.

Testing before coming to campus:

  • Students and employees are encouraged but not required to be tested for COVID-19 by their health care provider or local health department before they return to campus.
  • Students should complete the student daily health self-screening form no more than two hours before arriving on campus on their scheduled move-in day. The form is available online here.
  • Faculty and staff should also complete the employee daily health self-screening form before coming to campus.

Testing after returning to campus:

  • The Student Health Center will provide testing for symptomatic students and for asymptomatic students who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case.
  • Students can obtain COVID-19 testing through the Student Health Center. COVID-19 test charges will be billed to third-party insurers or the Tennessee Dept. of Health.
  • Employees should obtain testing from their local health department or health care provider.
  • When being tested, it is imperative that students list their Knoxville address. Using an address outside of Knox Co. will delay when the KCHD receives results.
  • While awaiting test results, students and employees should self-isolate and avoid close contact with others and respond to any communication from the university’s contact tracing team.

The university announced daily health self-screenings are required for students and employees. The form can be accessed here or through the Tennessee app. Along with daily health self-screenings, the university is taking protocols with a new surveillance testing and contact tracing program.

The surveillance testing will conduct testing of wastewater and pooled testing of asymptomatic students and employees. The program said it will identify potential outbreaks for targeted COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

The contact tracing team will check on a student’s and employee’s situation and connect them to resources and guidance to take necessary precautions. Anyone who submits a self-isolation form will be contacted by the tracing team within 24 hours.

University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd said the university has obtained 22,000 COVID-19 self-sampling tests for the upcoming semester.

According to Boyd, all students with symptoms will be tested. Through contact tracing, Boyd says anyone who came in close contact with that student will also be tested.

In July, the university announced it will provide students with face coverings before the start of the fall semester. Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings on campus.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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