As the nation moves toward safely returning to pre-pandemic life, college, and university medical and administration leaders are working hard toto campuses for in-person learning. And while vaccinations, social distancing, and mask-wearing will all contribute to keeping the virus in check, an important tool.
Testing helps identify new cases and prevent the spread and provides safety asreturn to dorms and in-person learning. But there are questions about the role testing plays in helping safely open the doors of college campuses nationwide. Dr. Jeff Andrews of B.D., a medical technology company, shares his expertise.
Is it safe for all students to return to campus right now or even in the next semester?
The benefits of in-person learning and socializing probably outweigh the decreasing risk ofon college and university campuses. Indeed, and professors should think it is safe to return to campus. However, professors or students with health conditions that place them at higher risk and who have not been vaccinated may choose to continue for themselves.
And let’s not forget that there is a tenfold variation in therates in different communities across the continental U.S., so safety may be higher at one campus than another. Besides vaccinations and testing, campuses and states will must be in place.
Campus leaders should know thatcan contribute to safety. Some have required repeat serial testing on campuses to ensure negative results and promote safety.
Another use of rapid, serial testing, and then isolation of any contacts found to be positive. This is a time-honored tactic for eliminating an epidemic or pandemic. The overwhelming number of infections has not always permitted this to be effective in the past. Still, in this phase of the pandemic, we now have the tools to .
What is rapid antigen testing?
Rapid antigen testing is medical testing thatlaboratory technicians can complete. It’s fast, easy, and reliable. Antigen testing provides a 15-minute turnaround, so you get a result while the tested individual is still present. It’s also less expensive than lab-based PCR tests. Rapid antigen testing delivers a combination of simplicity, speed, portability, and reliable results, making it an ideal choice for use in universities and colleges.
One testing device used in colleges and universities nationwide is the BD VeritorTM ™ Plus System – a fully portable device with a simple testing process and results thatfast in as little as 15 minutes via a digital readout.
Moreover, the BD VeritorTM Plus System can be paired with ImageMovers. This companion mobile app enables more streamlined reporting of testing results by capturing demographic details of those being tested, uploading COVID-19 test results, and automating reporting to public health agencies.
How can rapid antigen testing safeguard students and staff at universities and colleges?
Serial, rapid antigen testing enables those who receive negative test results to safely go about theiras possible. As part of a serial testing program, asymptomatic students, professors, and administrators should be tested twice over two or three days, with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.
Suppose a student or teacher is identified as having COVID-19. In that case, the school can quickly isolate and monitor that person, including tracing and contacting their contacts and then beginning serial testing of all communications. After the first two tests, the interval for the ongoing repeat testing can be dictated by the university’s program – once or twice weekly.
It’s also worth noting that rapid antigen testing goes beyond showing a “+” or “-” test result; it facilitates the entireto fast-track a safe return to normalcy.
Are many colleges and universities using rapid antigen testing on their campuses?
Yes, we’re seeing more colleges and universities nationwide using serial rapid antigen. Ohio , for example, is testing its athletes with B.D.’s VeritorTM Plus System.
What should colleges and universities consider when implementing a testing program on-site on their campus?
There are two ways to implement testing programs on campus successfully. As one example, B.D. Partners directly with schools, colleges, andstep-by-step guidance on implementing a testing program and training on how to use the BD VeritorTM Plus System so they can run the testing program themselves. Armed with the learnings from other schools and recommended practices from the C.D.C., B.D. out a cohesive testing program.
Alternatively, schools can work with a third-party testing company to deliver a turnkey solution, alleviating the burden for school administrators and staff in managing the testing process.
From your perspective, why is it important to bring students back to campus?
Thethese young adults from the complete on-campus experience have been among the many sad lessons we’ve learned from this global pandemic. Not only are they missing out on crucial in-person interaction with friends, peers, and teachers, as well as sports and other extracurricular activities. Students than they expected.
Every student deserves to experience college life fully; that is what we all want for them. While it may take time to return to the pre-pandemic college experience, rapid antigen testing can be essential for confidence in student safety from the lecture hall to the quad to the football field.
Dr. Jeff Andrews is the Global Medical Affairsat B.D. Integrated Diagnostics Solutions. To learn how B.D. is supporting back-to-school programs, visit .
- has not been F.D.A. cleared or approved but has been authorized by F.D.A. under E.U.A. for use by certified laboratories.
- The BD Veritor™ System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 has been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens; and,
- These products are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for the under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1) unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner.
- Testing is of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. §263a, that , high, or waived complexity tests. This test is authorized for use at the Point of Care (P.O.C.), i.e., inpatient care settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation. For more information, please see .