By Erica Rachel Sultan, News Editor
For the Spring 2021 undergraduate semester, Yeshiva University requires students on the Wilf Campus and the Beren Campus to be tested for COVID-19 two days a week. This new monitoring program is set in place due to increased capacity of students who are able to attend in person classes on the two campuses. At the very beginning of the semester, January 20, Vice Provost Chaim Nissel reminded in-person students of the program and reinstated the procedures it entails. Every Monday and Thursday, students are to get nasal swab testing done on their respective campuses. On the Beren Campus, testing takes place on the third floor of the 215 Lexington Avenue building. Wilf Campus testing takes place on the second floor of Furst Hall. Beren testing starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. and Wilf testing starts at 12 p.m. and goes until 5 p.m. In order to get tested, students are required to make appointments for their ten minute testing. Once on the site, students are asked to schedule an appointment, or multiple appointments for the rest of the semester, give their name, email address, phone number, date of birth, and additional information if special requests need to be made.
At the testing cite, all students are required to comply to the Code of Conduct, wear masks, abide by social distancing guidelines — which Vice Provost Nissel reminds that social distancing means being at least six feet apart from others at all times — fill out the daily health screenings, and participate in the new monitoring program. So far, Nissel has sent out email reminders the day before every screening takes place. Specifically on January 26, he sent an email to all undergraduate students in regards to the rising numbers of positive Covid cases on the Wilf and Beren Campuses.
The New York Department of Health’s dashboard shows that from January 16 to February 11, there have been 34 positive Covid cases (28 positive cases during the period of January 16-January 29 and 6 more cases during the period of January 30-February 11) on the Beren Campus and the Wilf Campus. Nissel starts his January 26 email by mentioning that while YU’s procedures are working, the campuses also need the help of the students in order to stop the spreading of Covid. He then explains that most of the positive cases have been asymptomatic and these cases were identified through contact tracing done by the Covid-19 monitoring team. The team’s process is to contact anyone who, within the past 48 hours of the positive test, was within six feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period. Students who live on campus are offered to quarantine at home or on campus.
As a result of the rising cases, Vice Provost Nissel says that YU will be fine-tuning their Covid-19 monitoring program. Still two days a week for testing, one day will be a nasal swab, and the other will be the Abbott Binax Test. In order to take the Abbott Binax test, students are required to download the Abbott Navica app and create an account. Once that is done, the email instructs students to “Pull up the screen with your unique QR code and show it and your YU ID to the registration table. Make sure your name is recorded accurately. Present the QR code to the technician who will scan it with an iPad. The tech will then scan a test card to link it to your ID. The tech will prepare the test and provide you with a swab and a testing kit. You will swab your nose and complete the testing process according to the posted signs. When your test has been read and reported, you will be notified via email and the Navica app (within approximately 30 minutes).”
If you test negative for the Abbott Binax Test, which you are able to check the status of your test under the Results tab in the Navica app, “there is nothing further required of you.”
“If you test positive, you must return to the testing site ASAP to take a confirmation nasal PCR test. You will be placed in precautionary quarantine pending the results of the PCR test.”
When taking the PCR test, you will only receive a call if you are positive and will receive no news if you are negative.
If students have tested positive for Covid-19, they should not take the test and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Students are also encouraged to contact COVIDstudentline@yu.edu with any questions. More information on the Spring 2021 semester Covid-19 procedures can be found here.