COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Texas A&M University, along with their COVID-19 Response Team, is gearing up for their increased testing efforts which started Monday, Jan 4, as faculty and staff start to return.
Prior to the start of the spring semester, Texas A&M University is requiring all employees working at the Bryan-College Station campus/sites, along with students who live on campus, to test for COVID-19.
"I think it's really safe. I feel a lot more protected now that everyone is required to get it done," Katherine Halloran, a TAMU PhD Student said on first day of required testing.
Halloran says the University is doing their part, and making it easy for staff to do theirs.
"There are a lot of slots available to choose from. I know I signed up as soon as I could, and it was already pretty full until like noon today. So, it's good, that a lot of people are getting on it quick," Halloran added.
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology with Texas A&M's School of Public Health, Chief Epidemiologist for the University and Co-Director of A&M's COVID-19 Operations Center, Dr. Rebecca Fischer, says we can all step up.
"We really are taking this seriously at Texas A&M. Our country, our state, and even locally, we are in a very precarious situation. We have more cases today than we have before. We have more deaths daily. Our situation is not yet improving," Dr. Fischer, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist at A&M said.
While spearheading the COVID-19 Operations Center fighting the virus within the campus community, Dr. Fischer says testing remains just as important as it always has.
"What the testing allows us to do, is to identify those who might be sick, and then they can be informed and not pass it on to others. In particular, our Texas A&M testing program is really asking everyone to test, including those people who have no symptoms, don't think they are sick, or think they have been exposed, but what I want to do is help them identify their infection status," Dr. Fischer added.
Utilizing the university's objective to have everyone tested is just the first step. Dr. Fischer says the university's COVID-19 Response Team is actively seeking staff, faculty and student volunteers to assist with the activation of several testing sites across campus.
"We really need all hands-on deck and so, for this reason, the university has asked for partners across the university to come out and helps us test. I can tell you at our drive-thru today, I saw deans and departments heads, and really leaders at this school next to undergraduates and graduate student workers." Dr. Fischer said.
"This has been a really powerful showing of our faculty, staff and students, as a community," Dr. Fischer added.
The COVID-19 Curative kiosks on campus that were once open to the general public are now being used for TAMU students and staff only as they monitor COVID-19 on campus.