Dear Campus Community,
Last week we increased the number of signal tests conducted to 160. Going forward, we will be testing about 10 percent of the campus population each week. We had no new confirmed cases as a result of last week’s tests. As of this morning, we have 13 total community members in some type of quarantine (including those quarantining upon return from travel). We have no students in on-campus quarantine spaces.
Socializing in residence hall rooms: Yesterday, we tested the first-year class using the Vault Health saliva-based test. This is the first step towards giving students more freedom to socialize in one another's residential hall rooms. We know this is important to students and something we want to do as we approach colder weather. We should have the test results back on Tuesday or Wednesday and will then communicate to first-year students when they may begin having in-room guests. First-year students will receive that information in an email from Student Development. We are also working on plans and timing for testing sophomores, juniors, and seniors with the intent of moving as fast as we can. We will share those plans this week. Once we have all students tested, I believe it will allow us to open up even more social life options beyond just loosening residence hall restrictions. Thanks to all of the students who have written to me with ideas. I look forward to implementing more of them in the next few weeks.
Confusion over testing costs: There seems to be some confusion over who pays for COVID tests. Denison is paying for the tests, except when insurance companies will cover the cost of diagnostic tests. No student will have to pay for a COVID test. The signal testing that we do each week is paid for by Denison. The Vault Health testing we are administering to the entire student population is paid by Denison. If a student goes to the Wellness Center and needs a diagnostic test (this means a student is showing symptoms and we need to test for COVID) or has to get a diagnostic test as a result of contact tracing, we will give the student a form to submit to their insurance company. Most insurance companies are covering COVID diagnostic tests. If an insurance company does not do so, then Denison will cover the test.
Thank you. As we enter week six, we have made progress on lots of fronts and will continue to do so based on ideas and feedback we receive from members of the community. A huge thank you to our students, faculty, staff, and others who are making all of it happen.