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One Michigan university plans to test all faculty and students for COVID-19

Flickr User Andrew Horne

One West Michigan university with plans for holding in-person classes this Fall will do so with an added safety feature. 

It’s forging a first of its kind partnership with a laboratory testing all students and faculty for COVID-19 before the beginning of the fall semester.

As colleges and universities are struggling to figure out whether they can hold in person classes in the fall, Calvin University is planning to screen all faculty, staff and students for COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall. President of Calvin University, Michael Le Roy says Helix Diagnostics will be providing 5,000 COVID-19 tests. The partnership is the first of its kind in the state of Michigan.

“And so our goal here was to first reduce the risk of the burst of transmission as everybody gathered again and the second was to make sure that there weren’t any folks who had low grade symptoms that weren’t being ignored.”

Le Roy did not disclose how much the testing will cost the university, but did say there are donors who want to ensure Calvin University students get the opportunity to experience life on campus.

“We believe we are small enough to be able to identify infections and then contact trace and isolate infected or exposed individuals; and we know we’ve been doing that. We’ve done that in the past with other infected or exposed diseases. We are a small community that we feel that we can do that.” 

The University will plan to only use 4,000 tests for the initial screening and will have 1,000 tests left to use throughout the year and is working on creating plans for immunocompromised faculty, staff and students. If Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay-Safe Stay Home Order” continues to the fall, Calvin will not be holding in-person classes.