PHILIPPI, W.Va. – With the completion of the large-scale COVID-19 student, faculty, and staff testing prior to Alderson Broaddus University reopening for the fall semester, the University has begun implementing ongoing surveillance testing as part of its comprehensive plan to maintain the safest possible environment.
According to university officials, after several weeks on campus, members of the community received an email on Thursday, October 8, from Bruce Blankenship, special assistant to the president, announcing the addition of COVID-19 surveillance testing to the University’s already established testing strategy.
“Our goal is to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community,” said Blankenship. “Surveillance testing is a necessary and critical part of our strategy designed to keep our community healthy.”
As required for all West Virginia colleges and universities by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the West Virginia State Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC), random testing of 10% of the campus community began and will continue on a weekly basis for the remainder of the semester.
Officials explained that the tests, which are highly sensitive, non-invasive, and saliva-based, are being administered weekly at the Multi-Sport Performance Stadium pavilion. Test results are available within 48 hours, and the testing data is being communicated to the Barbour County Health Department.
Those who test positive will be guided next steps, should begin isolation, and will be required to participate in the University’s contact tracing process.
The University will maintain an individual’s privacy regarding their health status to every degree possible and will only share the information as needed in accordance with applicable law and as appropriate to help meet the individual’s needs or if there is a concern for the health and safety of the campus community.
In the initial three weeks of testing, 241 tests have been conducted and only one positive test has been reported, bringing the positivity rate down to 0.41%.
“Students and employees who are selected to participate are playing a valuable role in helping to support the health and well-being of the broader campus and local community,” explained Blankenship.
Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to continue monitoring their health and follow University social distancing and face-covering protocols. For the latest updates and information on AB’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, visit https://ab.edu/coronavirus/.