Free COVID-19 Testing is Available to WTAMU Students


Tearanee` Lockhart

In the front of the Virgil Henson Activities Center, located by the weight room you can find the COVID testing entrance, Septemper 6th, 2020.

Free COVID-19 Testing is Available to WTAMU Students

With many colleges nationwide having to reclose due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration at West Texas A&M is doing everything possible to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff while keeping the campus open. One of the precautions is offering free on-campus testing.

While most rapid testing in Amarillo costs about $52, WTAMU is offering tests to students for free at the Virgil Henson Activities Center. If students wish to get tested, they should contact Student Medical Services.

“Students call [806-651] 3287 and schedule for a nurse triage over the phone. A time will be determined and the student will drive or walk up to the area designated at the VHAC for COVID-19 testing. This area is to the right of the mains doors of the VHAC and there is a sign that says COVID-19 testing. The test will be administered and results are usually received the next day, late afternoon or evening through their buff email,” said LuAnne Rickwartz, Student Medical Services’ nurse. Tests are administered orally and in a car, if possible.

The testing process, as explained by Rickwartz is:

Keep all windows rolled up (If in vehicle)
Cough 3-4 times into elbow or mask
Swab for 5 seconds
Each side of your mouth (5 seconds)
Gums inside top lip (5 seconds)
Gums inside bottom lip (5 seconds)
Under the tongue (5 seconds)
Roof of mouth (5 seconds)
Place swab in vial
Place vial in bag
Drop bag into box

“Your results will be emailed to your student email within 48 hours,” Rickwarts said.“Self isolate until your results are received.”

Rickwartz recommends students get tested if they have symptoms or after 5-7 days of being exposed. If a student tests positive, Rickwartz recommends students stay home and follow the CDC’s guidelines.

“Students will be reported to [email protected] for being positive and accommodations will be made for a student who needs to be isolated at a predetermined residential living area. Check with residential living on their protocol for students who test positive,” Rickwarts said.

During recovery, Rickwartz recommends following one of the two strategies before returning to campus: the time-based strategy and the test-based strategy.

The time-based strategy suggests that persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:
“At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. If they develop symptoms, then the symptom-based or test-based strategy should be used. Note, because symptoms cannot be used to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness, it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test,” Rickwartz said.
The test-based strategy is described as follows:
“A test-based strategy is contingent on the availability of ample testing supplies and laboratory capacity as well as convenient access to testing. Persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions: negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected ≥24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens),” Rickwartz said.
Connie Mckee, director of forensics, got tested on campus and tested positive. “ I was tested twice, once on campus. My papers had the quarantine time on them and said when I could come back. I got those from the rapid test place I had to run the quarantine. Since I got the rapid testing they knew I was infected at the test so the two weeks started,” McKee said. “One thing I found interesting is the health department called me every day. But they did not do contact testing. However, that was super easy to figure out. The COVID lasted ten days but the quarantine was fourteen.”

The CDC recommends if you test positive to “stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.”

If you are experiencing symptoms contact Student Medical Services at 806-651-3287 to set up a testing time. WTAMU is also offering COVID-19 testing at the First United Bank Event Center from 9-11 am Friday, September 11.


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