ST. LOUIS — Though there have been a handful of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Washington University campus, the university is launching an aggressive testing plan that includes testing all undergrad students every two weeks during the fall semester.
According to the university's newly-released COVID-19 dashboard, a total of nine faculty/staff members and 43 students have tested positive for the virus. It is not clear whether those patients currently have the virus or have had the virus and recovered. The test results come from a variety of sources: university testing, reports from health departments and self-reporting.
The university is in the "entry phase" phase of testing. During this process, all undergraduate students moving into residential life housing were tested as part of their check-in process. So far, there have been 2,694 tests performed during the entry phase. Of those tests, the university found four positive cases.
All undergraduate students in the St. Louis area who are living in off-campus housing will be required to complete a COVID-19 test during the first week of undergraduate classes, which began Monday.
Once the "entry phase" is completed on Sept. 25, all undergraduate students will undergo testing every two weeks during the "surveillance testing" phase.
WashU will also provide free testing for all students, faculty and staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms. The testing will be administered by university medical professionals, according to the university's website.
Students may be exempt from testing if they are studying remotely and do not live in the St. Louis area. Students who live in the area, but do not come to campus may also be exempt.
The tests will be conducted using a saliva sample.