BREAKING: American University to implement mandatory surveillance testing
About 1,800 of students will be required to take PCR tests each week
American University will implement a surveillance testing system for COVID-19 that selects students to undergo mandatory testing each week, the University announced Friday. Testing will start Monday, and students will be notified via text message and email on Mondays when it is their turn to take a test.
A sample of students will be selected each week to take COVID-19 tests. Students can get tested at any AU testing site after being notified they need to get tested, and will have one week to test at their convenience. According to the email, the students will be selected every few weeks for testing, which will take place “on a rolling basis.”
The University’s initial email did not specify how many students will be selected for testing per week, or how that number will be determined. University spokesperson Elizabeth Deal confirmed to The Eagle that approximately 15 percent of students will be randomly selected for testing each week.
“We will monitor testing rates among each week’s group to ensure we have a representative sample,” Deal said.
The email said all students, faculty and staff are expected to participate in the surveillance testing program. Students who are unvaccinated are still required to get tested twice per week, and mandatory testing counts as surveillance testing, meaning unvaccinated students will not be required to receive additional tests. Student-athletes will stick to their regular schedule of surveillance testing, and do not need to take additional tests. Students who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are “not expected” to participate in surveillance testing because of the potential for receiving a false-positive result.
The University’s email did not specify testing procedures for faculty and staff.
The implementation of this system comes after student activism to encourage regular mandatory testing for all students, including a petition started by the Disabled Student Union to encourage mandatory testing for all students, which received over 1,700 signatures. Previously, the University had only required regular mandatory testing for unvaccinated students, which make up about one percent of the AU student population.
“Participating in this testing is part of our community of care and our commitment to health and safety.” Deal said.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. This story has been updated with clarifications from the University.