September 23, 2020

Random COVID-19 testing for students starts next week

Dear Campus Community,

Furman University continues to evaluate and evolve its plans and strategies for protecting the health and safety of our campus community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A multi-layered detection and mitigation approach is integral to Furman’s comprehensive COVID-19 strategy. Recent recommendations from federal and state agencies support increased testing in combination with existing disease-prevention measures for those who engage in high density environments. With the full return of students to campus, Furman is partnering with a regional provider capable of administering PCR testing with rapid turnaround times.

With all of this in mind, Furman is implementing an ongoing COVID-19 monitoring program that will include random asymptomatic testing of students, beginning next week, to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 among students on campus.

This asymptomatic testing protocol will supplement symptomatic testing referrals available through the Earle Student Health Center and will involve on-site, regular testing among students living and learning on campus. At least 20% of the on-campus student population, including commuters and graduate students, will be tested weekly. Students will be selected for testing through random sampling, which could result in some students being tested multiple times, even back-to-back, throughout the semester.

The tests, which are mandatory for selected students, will be administered at no cost on Tuesdays and Fridays, 7-11 a.m. (drop-in), in the Daniel Chapel parking lot near Paladin Stadium. Students selected for testing will receive an email notification from the Furman Focused account with further instructions on the day before their assigned test date.

To make the process quicker for students, the nasal swab will be used to collect the samples. The saliva-based collection test will also be available for students who prefer this option. Students who have tested positive within the last 90 days will not be re-tested.

Faculty and staff may continue to seek symptomatic testing through their health care providers. Employees should report tests and results to Human Resources to assist with contact tracing and reporting efforts, as tracked through Furman’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Although we have updated our student testing protocol to include regular testing of asymptomatic students, we will continue to apply Furman’s comprehensive strategy for managing COVID-19 and protecting the health and safety of the campus as outlined in the Paladin Promise. This includes using face coverings and practicing physical distancing in most situations, student testing for symptomatic individuals, a daily symptom checker for students and employees, contact tracing, and ongoing tracking of data trends to inform mitigation efforts. The university will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and adjust its plans as necessary.

Please get your flu shot if you haven’t already done so and continue to follow the Paladin Promise, complete your daily LiveSafe health survey, and check the Furman Focused website and your email for regular updates.

Once again, thank you for your flexibility and continued commitment to the wellbeing of our campus community.

Be well.

Sincerely,

Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life

Co-Chairs, Fall Planning Steering Committee