An important requirement for colleges during the pandemic is the development of virus mitigation and prevention measures on campus. As prepared last August for the resumption of individual activities for the 2020-21 academic year, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Implemented a rigorous COVID testing program for students, faculty and staff. With safety in mind, WPI partnered with Triumvirate to conduct tests 5 days a week at WPI’s Harrington Auditorium as part of the university’s health and safety protocols, requiring everyone on campus to wear face coverings, 6 feet Ensuring proper social distancing of and avoid meetings.
self administered test
WPI’s testing program consists of three phases: pre-arrival (before arrival on campus at the beginning of the semester); onboarding (on arrival); and regular, ongoing tests throughout the semester. During recess and mid-term breaks, students were encouraged to stay on campus; According to Massachusetts travel guidelines, those who chose to travel were re-tested before returning to campus or quarantined upon return.
At the start of the academic year, WPI partnered with comprehensive institute, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biomedical and genomic center, to provide on-campus testing. The university began using a self-administered swab kit to conduct 1,400-1,800 tests per day. Triumvirate manages day-to-day on-site testing operations on WPI.
By the spring semester of 2021, the Broad Institute had introduced unsupervised self-administered swab tests. Unobserved tests reduced the need for on-site observers, allowing a greater amount of tests to be collected throughout the week. With aggressive contact tracing and mandatory isolation for students who test positive and quarantine for their contacts, the university has been able to reduce the rate of positive COVID cases on campus during the 2020-21 academic year..
Safe return to campus support
The university’s current COVID testing plan includes testing all students and staff who have access to campus – whether living on campus, off-campus, or commuting – either once a week or twice for the duration. When a positive test occurs, the student, staff, or faculty member is notified and instructed by the testing coordinator or member of the public health team, including preparing for a 10-day isolation. In addition, WPI notifies any student or employee who may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive on campus and helps them adhere to quarantine guidance. Campus test statistics can be tracked WPI COVID Testing Dashboard.
With multi-departmental efforts and immense support in the WPI community, Triumvirate has helped the university navigate these complex times with safe, productive and compliant onsite waste management, COVID-19 decontamination, and EHS compliance. We will continue to support campus health and safety during the reopening of colleges and universities and with ongoing testing and safety program support throughout the year.
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