UMBC’s transition from fully remote operations toward limited on-campus activity includes a pilot program for COVID-19 symptom monitoring and testing. Even as we plan to have a low-density campus, we know that these tools are essential to support campus health and safety.
Who will participate?
Pilot participants will include the small number of faculty, staff, and students approved to be on campus this summer. Participants are notified directly by UMBC. They include people such as researchers approved to be on campus, a small number of student-athletes accessing physical therapy services on campus, and summer residential students, among other small groups.
What does participation involve and are all of the elements required?
COVID-19 online safety training and daily online symptom tracking are mandatory for all faculty, staff, and students approved to be on campus this summer. The testing pilot program is not currently mandatory, but is strongly encouraged for this group.
If you have been approved to be on campus for the summer, but have been working fully remotely and are not planning to come to campus this summer, you may choose not to take advantage of testing. However, the training and daily online symptom tracking are still required to maintain your approved status.
The CDC has stated, “Testing to diagnose COVID-19 is one component of a comprehensive strategy and should be used in conjunction with promoting behaviors that reduce spread, maintaining healthy environments, maintaining healthy operations, and preparing for when someone gets sick.” UMBC’s plan seeks to address all of these components.
Can I get a test if I’m not in the pilot?
At this time, UMBC’s COVID-19 testing is specifically available to pilot program participants. However, some local areas are offering free testing for residents. Information on free testing in Baltimore County is available on the county’s website. Information on free testing for Maryland residents outside of Baltimore County is available on the Maryland.gov COVID-19 website.
Additional UMBC testing opportunities will be scheduled prior to the start of the semester for faculty, staff, and students who will return to campus in the fall. We anticipate this will still be a small proportion of UMBC’s faculty, staff, and students.
What does testing involve?
Testing is by appointment only, with pilot program testing scheduled for July 13 and 14, 2020. To schedule an appointment, participants should call University Health Services (UHS) at (410) 455-2542. UHS will complete testing outdoors, under tents (or similar cover), to support safe physical distancing. It will involve a simple, rapid nasal swab, and will be free of charge.
How does symptom monitoring work?
UMBC is using an online tool to help community members keep track of symptoms linked with COVID-19. Pilot program participants will be required to monitor their symptoms daily and will receive a link to the tool by email.
Will additional testing days be scheduled?
Yes, there is a plan to organize additional on-campus testing. Those dates will be announced in the future.
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