Kellen Stepler | Editor-in-Chief
Duquesne University is providing free COVID-19 testing kits to all students before returning home for the holiday break.
The tests arrived earlier than expected, and the university was able to begin distribution Monday. The university is covering the cost of the tests.
Distribution began Monday in the Towers Multipurpose Room. Students will be provided with an Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit. Sign-up is not required, as students may pick up tests at their convenience. The first 3,000 students will get a free T-shirt “celebrating a successful semester at Duquesne,” according to an email sent to all students on Nov. 12 from Duquesne administration.
“Our goal is to ensure that you, and your friends and family, remain safe and healthy throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and for the rest of the year. We therefore encourage all students to pick up your free test and complete it at a time that works best for your schedule,” according to the email.
The announcement notes that if a student will be driving home with someone who picks them up, the test should be taken in advance so that the student has enough time to get the results before they leave.
On the other hand, if a student is driving home themselves and they are able to self-quarantine until they get their test results, the test will be “more meaningful” if the student takes it as soon as they get home.
“Remember that the test shows only whether or not the virus is present at the moment it is administered. If you are taking the test prior to departure, take great care to limit your contact with others,” the email said.
The take-home tests are available from Thursday, Nov. 19 to Saturday, Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Students can administer the test in their residence by following the instructions in the kit. Duquesne will provide a receptacle where students can drop off their completed samples, and the university will ship the samples for free. The receptacle is located in the Towers Multipurpose Room, during the same hours when the test is provided.
“In addition to testing, the best way to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to others is to wind down and limit contact with others for 14 days before you travel, and most especially for the days after you take the test,” the email said.
Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms should not access testing through this method — rather, they should call Duquesne Health Services for instruction.
“In the remaining days of the semester, with areas of the nation seeing spikes in positive cases, following safety measures is critical to a safe departure and return to homes and families. The best means of prevention is to continue to meet the commitments of the Protect Duquesne pledge. Answering Daily Screening Questions, maintaining physical distance, wearing your mask and washing your hands will help improve the likelihood of protecting yourself, your family and your friends and loved ones when you return,” the email said.