Dear Samford Students…This email contains important information about the campus reentry requirements and our spring testing program. We look forward to your return for the spring semester.
Last fall, Samford employed a multi-level testing program to help protect the safety and well-being of our community. This program proved significant in our ability to complete the fall semester on campus and in person. Given this success, and in response to the substantial rise in COVID-19 cases nationally and locally, we are expanding our testing program in the spring semester. Please remember that, as a member of the Samford community and as a condition of being on campus this academic year, all students and employees have agreed to participate in Samford’s COVID-19 testing program.
This semester the university will employ a four-pronged approach:
- Required Reentry Testing. As previously communicated, COVID-19 testing is required of all employees and students prior to returning to campus in January, 2021. Regardless of whether you are using the Everlywell test kit supplied by Samford or submitting a result from a PCR test administered by your health care provider, all PCR tests must be taken no more than seven days prior to your return to campus. Everyone must upload a copy of your negative PCR test result to be cleared for entry to campus. In order to verify your PCR test results are received and you are cleared to reenter campus, visit samford.edu/go/MyCovidStatus. Individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 based on a PCR test administered in the previous 90 days may be admitted to campus without a negative test result if they upload a copy of the prior positive COVID-19 result.
- Random PCR Sentinel Testing. Sentinel testing involves testing a random sample of individuals within our Samford community (faculty, staff and students) to monitor campus prevalence. This data will help us understand the underlying prevalence of COVID-19 within our campus community and will allow us to promptly respond to changes in infection rates on campus. In partnership with the GuideSafe program, we will administer up to 1,440 PCR tests to randomly selected individuals each week. You will receive an email from Healthy@Verily.com allowing you to schedule an appointment any time between 1-7 p.m. (Tuesdays) or 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. (Wednesdays).
- Rapid-Antigen Focus Testing. Focus testing allows the university to respond promptly to any suspected increase in COVID-19 exposures in a specific campus location or within an identified group of individuals who may be more likely to have contracted COVID-19. Unless we test all persons in a focus area, individuals within a focus area are selected randomly to develop a representative sample. We will administer focus testing on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. You will receive an email from COVID19health@samford.edu allowing you to schedule an appointment any time between 1-4 p.m.
- Testing by Request. As an added measure to promote campus well-being, we are finalizing a program to allow any recognized student organization or university department to request rapid-antigen testing in their area at no cost to the group. Details will be forthcoming.
All testing will be administered on the ground floor of the Beeson Alumni Center, across from Seibert Gymnasium. You should enter from Dawson Drive. We have extended the hours of testing operations in order to minimize any inconvenience associated with participation. Given the current rate of positive cases locally and nationally, and the complexity of potential new strains of COVID-19, testing participation is especially vital. As noted, the selection process is random and it is likely you will be tested multiple times during the spring 2021 semester. However, if you are scheduled to test more than once in the same week, you will be allowed to decline requests for additional testing during that week by sending an email to COVID19health@samford.edu documenting the date and time of the test already completed. Students enrolled in a fully online program and employees who are working remotely who will not be on campus at any time during the spring semester are exempt from testing. Individuals who are isolating or quarantining also are exempt from testing.
Missing your testing appointment may render you ineligible to access the campus and/or attend classes in person. Therefore, if you miss your appointment for any reason, please reach out immediately to COVID19health@samford.edu so we can reschedule your appointment. Remember that all questions, concerns and communications related to testing should be sent to COVID19health@samford.edu.
While our spring testing program is very robust, it is administered fairly, equitably, and applies to all members of the Samford community. We’re all equals in the eyes of COVID-19 and are all equals in the processes we use for test selection. Please be a willing, active and encouraging partner in Samford’s COVID-19 testing program this semester. Along with mask wearing, hand washing and distancing, it is a significant element of COVID-19 over which we have control. Thank you for doing your part.
Finally, I encourage you to review the recently updated Bring Back the Bulldogs: Spring Guide for Returning to Campus as well as the updated coronavirus FAQs and coronavirus testing page to assure you are informed of the university’s plans and protocols for the spring semester.
I wish you well as you prepare to return to campus and look forward to seeing you later this month. Take care… Buck Brock
Harry B. Brock III (Buck)
Executive Vice President