New portable Proactive Community Testing facility replaces Jester West Fireplace Lounge location

Henry Hays

University Health Services opened a new proactive community testing facility on Sept. 8 to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and increase campus testing capacity.

The portable facility replaced the previous testing center inside the Jester West Fireplace Lounge after University Housing and Dining requested UT return the space to a student center. PCT program director Jessica Klima said the center can return results in 15 to 30 minutes on the student’s MyUHS portal.  

The facility, located on Jester Corner, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5:30 p.m., according to the PCT website. The new facility provides rapid antigen tests for asymptomatic students, faculty and staff who will self-administer the test with guidance from PCT staff. The process takes less than 10 minutes, and UHS encourages securing your spot by booking an appointment.

In August, UT started encouraging all students to take a PCT twice a week to help slow the spread of COVID-19. At the time, campus PCT capacity sat at 15,000 tests per week for roughly 51,000 students

Computer science freshman Sanjana Anand said she is going to get regularly tested at the new site because she realized how unavoidable big crowds are when she arrived on campus. 

“Without a mask mandate and having in-person classes, there’s not really a foolproof way of tracing what your exposure is, so I just thought it would be safer to start getting regularly tested,” Anand said.

Tyler Kerch, a computer science and business freshman, said the facility is good for students who need a quick way to get tested or plan on getting tested frequently. 

“It’s right next to Jester where a majority of the student body, or those who live on campus, are,” Kerch said. “So they’ve got it in a great spot.” 

Apart from the new facility outside of Jester, the Student Services Building and the Union also offer PCT availability. 

Klima said the program is considering setting up similar portable facilities elsewhere on campus too. 

“Our goal has always been to break down any barriers folks have in accessing our testing,” Klima said. “We wanted to have a high visibility location, so that folks would know about this opportunity for them to participate and help do their part to keep campus safe.”