COVID-19 testing among checklist items for students returning to KU

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Along with their applications, letters of recommendation, and perhaps entrance essays, incoming University of Kansas students now have yet another piece of information to file.

A COVID-19 test.

FOX4 visited the university’s drive-in testing area and spoke to students about how the process works.

Friday was day one of testing. Coordinators said the school tested about 1,000 people during this first day shift.

The appointments are scheduled. That means, in general, there are no lines. Students appreciated that, saying it was a kind of odd re-welcoming to campus.

Every 15 minutes another car pulled up to the parking lot set up with canopies for employees wearing blaze orange vests. Inside the vehicles were students like senior Isabell Carttar.

“It was still a little uncomfortable just because there were other cars around and spitting is just… yeah,” Carttar said after her test.

“I’ve been feeling pretty anxious honestly. I have really bad asthma. Luckily that’s the only pre-health condition that would make me more susceptible to COVID.”

Andrew Foster is the emergency management director for KU’s Lawrence campus. He says each spit test comes in a bio-hazard bag that is sealed by students in their vehicles before given to workers.

Results are texted to test-takers within 48 hours. If positive, the school requires quarantine.

“So this has been a long couple weeks, a long couple months. You’re always trying to see what the ground truth is and adjust to make sure we’re doing what’s right,” Foster said, talking about how fluid the situation is at the moment.

But some students, including Isabell, say a new required health app feels lacking.

“I only put that I had a headache or something, and it put me on the ‘yellow’ status,” Carttar said.

“People are definitely going to be missing a lot of what normally happens.”

This drive-in testing site actually has double the capacity of what test administrators were using on Friday.

Organizers say the closer we get to the start of classes, they expect a bigger influx of procrastinating students to start requesting appointments — otherwise they risk their enrollment getting flagged.

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