UCSD Kicks Off First Week of Return to Learn; Testing Sites Available in All Colleges

This article is a part of our news series on the COVID-19 pandemic. For information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, click here.

UC San Diego began the first week of its COVID-19 screening program with the establishment of voluntary testing sites throughout campus on Monday, May 11. The three-week introductory program offers free self-administered tests for all on-campus undergraduate and graduate students asymptomatic for the novel coronavirus.

This on-campus screening is a part of the broader “Return to Learn” program, which was announced in an email from Chancellor Khosla on May 5. In this initial phase, the university aims to screen over 5,000 on-campus students for the novel coronavirus.

The first week of the program, which ran from May 11 through May 15, allowed undergraduate students the opportunity to self-administer the test at one of seven on-campus testing sites. The second week, May 18 to May 22, will allow on-campus graduate students the opportunity to do the same at their own testing sites located near graduate student housing.

During the third week of the program, both undergraduate and graduate students will be able to self-administer tests at a number of on-campus locations anytime between 9 a.m.–3 p.m. from Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, May 29. Testing is free for all on-campus student residents.

Undergraduate testing sites will be available at:

  • Conference Room C in Roger Revelle College
  • The Mariposa Room in John Muir College
  • The Middle Earth Lounge in Eleanor Roosevelt College
  • Angela’s Space in Thurgood Marshall College
  • The J. Kevin Wood Lounge in Earl Warren College
  • The Apartments Lodge in Sixth College
  • The Village West Building 2 Residential Services Office in The Village at Torrey Pines

Graduate testing sites will be available at:

  • The lobby of Rita Atkinson Residences
  • The Building 4 level 2 Study Lounge at the One Miramar Street apartments
  • The Small Conference Room at Cala in the Mesa Nueva/Nuevo West apartments
  • 9126 Regents Road Community Room at the South/Central Mesa apartments
  • The Community Room at the Coast apartments

All testing is self-administered using a nasal swab obtained from the testing sites. Detailed instructions on how to take the test are available on the Return to Learn website and in a YouTube video created by UCSD Health Promotion Services.

While the university has not released any official numbers, a spokesperson for the school told The UCSD Guardian that over 200 tests had been administered during the first three days of the program.

Jack Mitchener, a Muir College junior, spoke about his experience with taking the test during the first week of the program in an interview with The UCSD Guardian.

“It was a very smooth and quick process,” Mitchener said. “Everyone was wearing masks and gloves and they made sure everyone was following social-distancing guidelines. They made sure I performed the swab properly and answered all my questions as I went through the process. Overall it was a nice and chill experience.”

Testing results are made available to students via their MyChart/MyStudentChart accounts within 24 to 48 hours of taking the test. Students who test positive will also receive a phone call from Student Health Services.

In the event that a student tests positive for novel coronavirus, an SHS provider will work with them to assess their clinical condition and to determine if relocation to a designated on-campus quarantine location for 14 days will be necessary. SHS will also work with the student to identify anyone they may have come in contact with while contagious. The San Diego County Public Health Services will be notified of the positive test and may reach out to the student as a part of their ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19.

On-campus student residents will only be  able to take the test once during this introductory period. However, students will be able to take more COVID-19 screening tests during Fall Quarter 2020, as the university anticipates they will be able to test the nearly 65,000 students, staff, and faculty members on a monthly basis beginning in September.

All asymptomatic students are encouraged to participate in the self-testing program. Students experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, including shortness of breath, cough, fever, chills, or loss of smell or taste, should contact SHS immediately by phone at 858-534-3300.

Artwork by Anthony Tran for the UCSD Guardian.

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