OU Expands COVID-19 Testing Efforts

Saturday, September 19th 2020, 11:39 pm
By: Hunter McKee

NORMAN, Okla. -

The University of Oklahoma is expanding its COVID-19 testing efforts. Students who live on-campus will be randomly selected for testing. 

The university said the testing will start Monday with the hopes that this will decrease the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

OU said this is part of its surveillance testing program. Approximately 25 percent of all students living in campus housing will receive an email with a link to schedule a testing appointment.

The appointments will be offered beginning Monday and will run through Thursday. 

OU students like Chris Fisher support the effort.

“I think, in general, whenever we do more testing, it's important, especially with the freshman dorms,” Fisher said. “It gives a sense for both the state and the university of how it's spreading and such.”

“I feel like them doing a mandatory testing on 25 percent of people in the dorms is the best way to get that accurate data,” OU student Kennedy Trahan said.

Other students aren't in favor of the additional testing.

“I think it's a little unnecessary because so many people I know in my dorm have already had it and have already gone through the quarantine process,” OU student Liv Walbeck said.

The test will be a self-administered nasal swab. Students will be notified of their results within 24 to 48 hours.

OU's Chief COVID-19 Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said, in part, that by testing a representative sample of students who are asymptomatic they can “better pinpoint the presence of the virus and limit its transmission."

“I'd rather be safe than sorry knowing kind of the numbers,” OU student Olivia Townsend said. “We are getting exposed rather than being kind of left in the dark.”

Students who tested positive during the pre-arrival testing will not be expected to participate. The university said it's using other methods to combat COVID-19, including voluntary student testing and wastewater analysis.