Students attending the University of Oklahoma are beginning to take the saliva-based COVID-19 test required before move-in, which is just a week away.
With about 5,000 students arriving soon, this task of testing everyone is daunting.
“It is not perfect. No test is perfect,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU’s Chief COVID Officer.
But Bratzler said the saliva test is effective as any other testing methods.
“The sensitivity and specificity to the test are very similar to the nasopharyngeal swab,” said Bratzler.
Students are using an at-home test. They cannot eat, drink or smoke 30 minutes before, and they have to have a witness.
Results come back quickly.
“Once they send it back, the company gets it back in about a day, and then we get the results in 48 to 72 hours,” said Dr. Bratzler.
Some students living in residential halls worry about those living off-campus.
“I think OU is as ready as they can be. I am just worried about my friends living in off-campus housing that be at a Greek facility or their own apartment because they do not have access to these COVID tests, they do not have access to these quarantine facilities like I do being an on-campus resident,” said one OU student living on-campus.
News 9 asked how the university expects students to take this test and remain negative until they move in.
“Well, you know that is the main limitation of any testing strategy for COVID-19,” Bratzler replied.
He said this is the best plan they have to keep the numbers as low as possible. After students take the test, they are highly encouraged to self-isolate.