RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University students are coming back to campus this fall, but those living in on-campus dorms must get tested for COVID-19 before moving in.
Students living on-campus are being mailed a free at-home test kit from the university. Once students get a negative result, then they can set up a move-in date. VCU’s staggered move-in starts on Aug. 1.
Two percent of employees and students living off-campus will have the opportunity to participate in free COVID-19 prevalence testing, where the school will test a percentage of asymptomatic VCU community members on a daily basis to monitor the virus’ prevalence.
Rising VCU sophomore Haley Carney is one of those students required to take the self-administered test.
“My mom actually helped me take the test because she’s a nurse of sorts. Otherwise, I don’t know what I would’ve done. It wasn’t a nose one which was good, it was a swab in the mouth,” said Carney, who is currently at home in Northern Virginia.
She sent her test back to VCU on Monday. The university said it should take up to three days for results to come back. Until then, Carney’s move-in date is up in the air. “We sign up for time slots to move-in after we get a negative test result,” she said.
Carney is thankful VCU students are being mailed their test kits. “There are other schools where you have to go down there and get the test and you could have all your stuff with you and get a positive and have to turn back around,” Carney told 8News.
One of those schools is Virginia Tech. On-campus students there are required to get tested as well, but it will happen at the health center when they return to Blacksburg for move-in. They will then be asked to self-quarantine until their results come back. Sophomore Mohamed Hussein told 8News he is thankful the school is providing testing to student living in dorms, but he wishes they were sent at-home test kits like VCU. “We all pay a health fee,” he said.
Just like VCU, Virginia Tech is only requiring students who live on-campus to get tested. Hussein will be living off-campus, but believes he should be required to get tested too. “Off-campus students are using all the same resources, we’re going to the same library, we’re using the same dining halls,” said Hussein.
Some students at VCU feel the same way. If off-campus students at VCU are experiencing symptoms, they can get free testing by VCU Medical Center, according to the school’s “Return to Campus” plan.
Other Virginia colleges are taking different action. At the University of Richmond, all full-time, degree-seeking students must get tested for COVID-19 before classes start, regardless of where they will be living.