AUSTIN, Texas — Providing easy access to on-campus COVID-19 testing has been a critical component of a safe return to classes this fall at The University of Texas at Austin.
Students, faculty members and staffers have offered valuable feedback on how the testing process could improve, and in response, UT Austin is rolling out the following changes:
- More walk-up testing, no appointments necessary. In response to student requests, the university has made all proactive community testing available on a walk-up basis.
- Easy form completion through our free app. UT Austin has simplified the process of filling out necessary forms prior to taking a test — all forms can now be completed through the Protect Texas Together app, increasing speed and efficiency. There are also simple online options for those who don’t have the free app on their phone.
- One-stop comprehensive testing. Those who receive a positive test result from the proactive community testing (through a saliva test) will no longer need to get a second test, a nasal swab, to confirm the results. The university’s saliva test is now approved for one-stop clinical confirmation, making this free, fast option even more convenient.
- The university plans to roll out an incentive program that will encourage further participation in proactive community testing from students, faculty members and staffers.
The university offers tests to both symptomatic and asymptomatic members of the community, the latter through volunteer proactive community testing (PCT). As of Sept. 28, the university has tested about 10,000 asymptomatic students and employees at no cost to them. University labs, however, have the ability to test up to 5,000 asymptomatic community members each week.
“Our goal is to make full use of the impressive testing capacity we have at UT,” said Michael Godwin, program director of UT’s proactive community testing. “We’ve been encouraged by the thousands of Longhorns who have already volunteered for PCT, and we hope the steps we’re taking to streamline the process will encourage even wider participation.”
Getting tested is one of the most effective ways students and staff members can protect their health and the health of those around them. Widespread testing allows university and public health officials to identify cases, conduct rapid contact tracing and reach people in time to limit the spread of the virus within the community.
To volunteer for UT’s proactive community testing, please visit the University Health Services website.