Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Students, faculty urged to participate in COVID-19 early detection program following spike in cases

September 11, 2020
<p>Kisha Nason works in the tent performing COVID-19 testing at the Black Lives Matter rally at the Capitol on June 29, 2020.</p>

Kisha Nason works in the tent performing COVID-19 testing at the Black Lives Matter rally at the Capitol on June 29, 2020.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

After a spike of cases among students was announced Tuesday, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail cautioned that continued partying will cause more death.

In an email sent to the Spartan community Wednesday, President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. warned students that if they don’t adjust to the new reality brought by COVID-19, students won’t return to campus. Stanley also urged students, faculty and staff who remain in East Lansing to sign up for a COVID-19 early detection program, dubbed Spartan Spit.

The early detection program involves participants providing saliva samples to be processed in order to determine whether or not they need to get tested for COVID-19.

“This program is one vital factor in possibly bringing members of the Spartan community back to campus in the spring, as it will help us identify the presence of the virus in people who are asymptomatic,” Stanley said.  

The test, which was developed on campus, involves testing multiple students to determine whether or not they should get tested or isolate. Students are put into multiple pools in order to identify infected individuals, by determining commonality between batches. 

“The advantage of this is speed, volume, fast results and more specimens being able to be tested more rapidly,” Vail said.

Vail also backed up Stanley’s claim that students must take more precautions before the spread of the virus slows enough to invite everyone back to campus.

“Students just need to know this is what’s happening right now,” Vail said. “You are setting the stage for not returning to face-to-face learning, not having an enjoyable basketball season, all of these things that you can count on in your college experience are not going to happen.”

The Dean of Students Office also announced Wednesday that students found violating the Ingham County Health Department Emergency Order limiting outdoor gatherings may be suspended for a minimum of one semester. 

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