COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program Launches in Student Housing

A+sign+in+the+Student+Union+tells+university+community+members+to+wear+face+coverings.+The+signage+is+part+of+UTSA%27s+%22Do+Your+Part%22+campaign+to+slow+the+spread+of+COVID-19+on+campus.+

Robyn Castro

A sign in the Student Union tells university community members to wear face coverings. The signage is part of UTSA’s “Do Your Part” campaign to slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Josh Peck, News Editor

UTSA launched a new COVID-19 surveillance testing program on Sept. 14 for asymptomatic students living in on-campus housing. Participation in the program is voluntary, and the tests will come at no cost to students who are selected and choose to participate.

The surveillance testing program is aimed at asymptomatic students living in Laurel Village and Chaparral Village, two UTSA-owned housing complexes at the UTSA Main Campus. 1,027 students are currently living in UTSA-owned housing, according to a university spokesperson. 

Students living in Laurel Village and Chaparral Village will be contacted via email notifying them of their selection and providing instructions about when and how they should proceed to get tested. Students living in Laurel Village will be tested the week of Sept. 14, and students in Chaparral Village will be tested the week of Sept. 21. Testing will occur 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the H-E-B Student Union, Room 1.002, and will be conducted by Livingston Med Lab, a lab that has been testing on-campus by appointment since the semester began.

UTSA has reported six total positive COVID-19 cases as of publication, five among students and one among faculty and staff. UTSA has reported many fewer cases than other universities in Texas such as UT Austin, which has reported 441 positive cases among students and 181 cases among faculty and staff since the first day of classes. Texas A&M University has reported over 1,000 cases since early August. However, UT Austin and Texas A&M have much larger student populations than UTSA. UT Austin enrolls more than 50,000 students and Texas A&M enrolls nearly 70,000 students, according to data from the two universities.

Both schools have also administered many more tests to students. UT Austin has administered over 5,000 COVID-19 tests, and Texas A&M has administered more than 11,000 according to COVID-19 dashboards of the two schools. In the first week of the fall semester, UTSA administered four tests to students. A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how many total tests UTSA has administered since the beginning of the semester.