UT-Austin students required to receive COVID-19 test before arriving to campus

Sheryl‌ ‌Lawrence‌ ‌, News Reporter

All UT students will be required to receive a viral COVID-19 test within their community before arriving in Austin after an uptick in COVID-19 cases, according to an email from University Health Services on Monday.

The announcement follows President Jay Hartzell’s recent message stating that the university is planning a full return in the fall and they are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

If the student already lives in Austin, UHS said they must receive a test at most 72 hours prior to moving into the residence where they will live for the academic semester. If the student is already living in their residence for the academic semester, they must receive a test at most 72 hours prior to the start of classes on Aug. 25. The results of the test must be uploaded to MyUHS, the University Health Services student portal. 

If students are already in Austin, they can test through the University’s Proactive Community Testing, which is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Other places to get tested include urgent care centers, pharmacies, and through Austin Public Health, whose locations and times are listed on their website.

“PCT typically opens appointments for scheduling a week in advance,” Susan Hochman, UHS spokesperson, said in an email. “UHS is evaluating staffing to determine to what extent appointments can be opened for scheduling a bit earlier in response to the testing expectation.”

Vaccinated students and those who have had previously had COVID-19 still need to get tested as the risk of infection is still present in these individuals, according to the announcement.

Students who will be living in on-campus residence halls, 2400 Nueces and University Apartments have already received a message on Saturday regarding required COVID-19 tests and the testing process.

UHS recommends students take an antigen test rather than a PCR test, as PCR tests can show a positive result if the individual has previously had COVID-19. Viral COVID-19 tests can sometimes be taken at home, but these can only be used if the student is on a telehealth video call with someone authorized to supervise the testing procedure. A picture of the test kit is not sufficient, according to the FAQ page. 

If a student tests positive, they should isolate at home until they test negative and contact the Behavior Concerns and COVID-19 Advice Line for assistance with class absences and other isolation options.