COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texas A&M University will require all employees and students who are living on-campus to be tested for COVID-19 before the start of the spring semester.
“Essentially we’re doing public health screening testing for these populations so that we can reduce the number of asymptomatic positives as they come in the door,” said Shawn Gibbs, Dean of Texas A&M's School of Public Health.
Roughly 17,000 employees and 10,000 students will be required to be tested.
“For faculty and staff, the testing range they have is essentially January 2nd through January 12th. For students, their testing window is January 12th through January 22nd,” Gibbs explained.
Given the new requirement, Gibbs says the university will be increasing the testing options provided to Aggies, including tests developed right on A&M’s campus.
“We are anticipating not only having the kiosks available, but we are also going to be standing up at least four additional sites on campus, and we are going to be standing up drive-through testing as well,” he said.
While the required testing program is in an effort to help manage the initial surge in cases when students return to campus, Gibbs is emphasizing the importance of continuing best practices.
“Testing is just one point in time and it does not replace the need for people to continue to mask, to continue to social distance,” he said.
Gibbs says the required testing at the beginning of the semester is part of the evolution to the random testing program started in the fall semester as the university continues to provide Aggies with proper COVID-19 resources.
“We’re essentially going to be moving to the Texas A&M Testing Program, where what we’re going to be doing is encouraging everyone, essentially on every other week basis, to come in and get tested,” said Gibbs.
While students who live off-campus aren’t required to be tested at the beginning of the semester, school officials are encouraging them to also take advantage of the free testing resources provided to them before the start of in-person classes.