In an email sent to students this morning, Barnard’s Public Health Response Team informed students about a change to the college’s COVID-19 testing model for the Fall semester.
Director of Public Health Response Team April Autry announced Barnard’s shift away from the group assignment COVID-19 testing model in an email to students this morning. The College is doing away with its current testing model, which it adopted in March, in favor of a new, less restrictive model that allows students a greater range of options for when to test. The full text of the email can be found below.
Under the previous testing model, students were separated into groups by last name and each group was only able to test on certain days, once every two weeks. The new model allows Barnard community members to test any time the testing center is open. However, testing timeframe requirements will stay the same. Campus residents must test once every 14 days and all other community members must test every 30 days. Noncompliance will result in restricted campus access.
In addition, Barnard community members will now receive positive test result notifications via email rather than phone call. Those who test positive will receive additional instructions after five days of isolation.
Autry’s email also announced the introduction of The Color System, a new COVID-19 testing platform Barnard will use beginning in September. The Color System will allow for a “drop-off” testing model, expanding testing ability beyond Barnard testing center hours. The Broad Institute, Barnard’s current lab, will continue processing all COVID-19 test samples. More information about this new testing platform will be made available in the coming weeks.
Email sent to students on Wednesday, August 24 at 2:55 pm EST:
Dear Students and Colleagues,
We hope you each are doing well and enjoying the remainder of your summers. We are writing to you today with several COVID-19 testing-related updates.
Pre-Arrival Testing: Urgent Reminder for All Students
Please be reminded that all students, except those who have tested positive in the last 90 days, must take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 10 days before moving in and/or accessing campus for the first time this semester. This result must be uploaded into the CoVerified app and will result in a “green screen.” Positive results should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org for review and then incorporated into CoVerified. Students will not be permitted to move in without a GREEN screen in the Coverified app.
If you test positive at any time in the ten days before you move in, you must complete a full 10 days of isolation before you can access campus. Additionally, you should not come to campus if you feel sick or unwell. We created these policies to minimize the spread of COVID-19, agree with CDC guidance that advises no travel, and to align with many other colleges and universities, including Columbia University. As there are no exceptions to these policies, we encourage everyone to have a travel and off-campus accommodation plan to account for sickness and/or a positive COVID-19 test.
After you’ve moved into your residence hall or to New York City, we encourage you to consider taking an antigen (rapid) test if you’ve traveled extensively or think you may otherwise be at risk. This testing is not required and only positive results should be reported. Positive test results should be emailed to the Public Health Response Team at email@example.com. Residential students who test positive after they’ve moved in will be connected with the PHRT and provided on-campus isolation support.
Surveillance Testing Model Change
Recognizing that many of our community members are rejoining our community after a summer break or are here for the first time, we are moving away from our group assignment testing model to a less restrictive plan for COVID-19 testing. Individuals can now present to the testing center whenever it is open to take their test. All community members, students, staff, and faculty will be responsible for keeping track of their last PCR test and when they are due to test again. Please remember that your campus building access will be restricted if you are not in compliance with your required testing.
Surveillance testing requirements remain the same: residential students must test every 14 days, and all other community members, every 30 days. Everyone has to maintain compliance with testing to keep a green screen and for uninterrupted building access. Outside PCR tests will continue to be accepted and satisfy the testing requirements.
Please remember our testing center is for asymptomatic testing only, and if you are unwell, you should stay home and get tested. Anyone who has tested positive in the last 90 days is exempt from this testing. If you need help knowing when to test next or creating a reminder alert, please ask one of the PHRT coordinators in the testing center or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have made these adjustments to provide increased flexibility and ease in meeting our testing requirements. Please note that we will monitor testing frequency and will contact those found to be testing excessively or inappropriately.
Positive Test Result Notifications
In the same way community members are currently notified that “a new result has been posted” when they’ve tested negative, effective in the near future, POSITIVE notifications will also be immediately released.
If one tests positive or inconclusive, instead of the initial notification being a phone call, an email will be sent that includes all relevant details and instructions for isolation. It is expected that all community members will regularly access and read their Barnard email and follow these instructions. Additionally, those who have tested positive will have a “red screen” in CoVerified, signaling they shouldn’t be accessing campus and need to isolate. On Day 5 of isolation, another email will be sent with guidance on how to end isolation and return to campus/resume activities, noting that an antigen test is not required to end this period.
Students should reach out to Primary Care Health Services with any medical questions or concerns, and staff and faculty should consult with their own or an outside medical provider. All other questions about isolation should be directed to email@example.com.
Coming Soon to Barnard College: The Color System
We are excited to announce that beginning in September, the College will transition to a new COVID-19 testing platform provided by Color Health Inc. Our current, exceptional lab, the Broad Institute, will continue to process all COVID-19 test samples.
This will be a remarkable offering for our community as individuals will have increased flexibility of when they choose to test as it employs a “drop-off” model to testing, instead of relying on testing center hours of availability and more. Community members should expect only to use this testing to meet their surveillance testing requirements.
As we transition to this new testing method, PHRT Coordinators will continue to be available in the testing center to help explain the new process for testing and answer any questions. Please continue to look for additional information and communications about this and all other changes in the coming weeks.
Thank you as always for your continued commitment to the health and wellness of our community.
Take good care and warm regards,
April Autry PA-C, MPH
Director of Public Health Response Team
Barnard campus via Bwog Archives