The University of North Texas is rolling out a new layer of protection against COVID-19 starting next month. It’s an effort to protect students and bring back some sense of college normalcy.
The typical college experience is slowly coming back to UNT, said Dr. Cynthia Hermann, executive director of the student health and wellness center and chief medical officer for the university's Denton campus.
“One of the ways we can do that is to bring back small in-person events and meetings. One of the ways we feel we can do that more safely is by offering this testing to go along with it,” Hermann said.
Starting March 3, students planning on attending student organizations and events must get a COVID-19 test.
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“We’re asking for 72 hours before the event, and the testing result is good for seven days. So once they have that, if there’s another event the next week, students have to come in to test, to make it a culture of testing,” Hermann said.
It’s not mandatory for students attending in-person classes.
“We have not had any evidence of spread within classrooms, so we feel like we have a good handle on that, and that’s a pretty safe space,” Hermann said.
She said cases spiked to around 130 when people returned from winter break.
The number of active cases this week is down to less than 50.
Students are on board with the mandatory testing -- aimed at lowering COVID-19 cases even more.
“This discussion was had with several different student groups and focus groups before it was something that was decided on. All the reactions have been positive. There’s been a lot of support from students,” Hermann said.
Testing isn’t mandatory for faculty and staff, but it is free.
Hermann said the mandatory COVID-19 testing will be in place indefinitely -- throughout the summer, and possibly even into the fall.
It’s free for students, and there are testing sites around campus.