BYU to begin COVID-19 screening tests this week

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Preston Crawley
BYU Students walk outside the Harris Fine Arts Center on the first day of Fall Semester 2020. University officials announced Monday that BYU will begin student COVID-19 screening tests from Nov. 18 through Nov. 21. (Preston Crawley)

BYU will begin student COVID-19 screening tests from Nov. 18 through Nov. 21, university officials announced Monday.

Although the tests will not be mandatory, the school is “strongly” encouraging students who are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and have not tested positive for the virus within the last 90 days to get tested.

“We’re asking you to take this test as a member of our BYU community and as a member of a greater society,” BYU President Kevin J Worthen said in an email to students. “This information will give you the opportunity to make compassionate decisions that are best for you, your family and your friends during the Thanksgiving holiday.”

The announcement comes just over a week after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency and issued an executive order requiring weekly COVID-19 testing for select college students. Herbert set a Jan. 1, 2021 due date for universities to enact their testing plans. BYU is hoping to “rapidly implement large-scale” testing this week, before many students plan on returning home for Thanksgiving and the remainder of the semester.

Testing will take place in the Wilkinson Student Center Garden Court by appointment only, according to school officials. The screening tests will be a “short-swab nasal test” and results will be available shortly after each test is administered.

The school’s student COVID-19 testing webpage states BYU will use rapid antigen tests throughout the testing process that will be of no cost. The website also mentions non-student employees will not be part of the screening tests. Students who test positive will receive a phone call from BYU’s COVID Case Management team with additional instructions.

Students can select a time slot and pre-register for a test on BYU’s COVID-19 Support website.

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