What is the goal for the College’s testing strategy?
The frequency of our testing protocol, which exceeds both state and CDC guidelines, is essential to mitigating the spread of the virus on campus. The twice weekly testing will help identify people with COVID-19 before any symptoms emerge and identify individuals with COVID-19 but do not have symptoms. Regular and frequent testing will enable the College to isolate anyone testing positive from the rest of the community and immediately initiate contact tracing to identify people who were in close contact with someone who tested positive.
What types of tests will be administered?
There are four different strategies for testing that we will be administering this fall: pre-arrival, onboarding, surveillance and symptomatic. For each, we will use a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 test that is considered the gold standard.
Who is conducting the testing?
The College is partnering with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to conduct the onboarding and surveillance testing. They have developed a specific PCR testing program for colleges and universities that provides results within 24 hours of receiving samples in their laboratory. The Broad sample collection process is self-administered using a shallow nasal swab and it will be an “observed” self-swab process in our testing center. You can learn more about the Broad’s efforts to support COVID-19 testing here, find out how they are helping to understand and overcome COVID-19 here and watch a video that describes their process. (Note that the video shows a person being swabbed by another person to collect the sample. At Conn, the test will be self-administered and will be observed by a trained staff/faculty member).