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Antigen testing underway for UW-Eau Claire students in residence halls

| Gary Johnson

Starting this week, all students in University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire residence halls are being tested for COVID-19 to protect the safety of the campus community and help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Testing began Tuesday for about 3,900 students who will receive a free antigen test in the 11 on-campus residence halls and at university-sponsored housing at Aspenson Mogensen Hall, Haymarket Landing and Priory Hall. The antigen tests can produce results in minutes.

Students living in residence halls will be tested on a rotating schedule throughout the fall semester, according to Jodi Thesing-Ritter, executive director of equity, diversity and inclusion.

“The goal of this asymptomatic testing is to find any student who may be contagious, and not know it, to help with their behaviors to reduce the spread of the disease,” Thesing-Ritter says.

“As a student, I would be pleased to have the opportunity to have this test at no cost to help stop the spread on campus. It also identifies cases as quickly as possible so students can be placed in isolation.”

Residence hall students will receive an email in their campus account inviting them to an online registration system to schedule an appointment at McPhee Physical Education Center 210C, which is being used as a testing clinic.

Only asymptomatic students will receive the antigen test; students with symptoms should go to Student Health Service for the more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Any asymptomatic students who test positive on the antigen test also will be sent to Student Health Service for a PCR test.

The UW System ordered more than 315,000 antigen tests for state universities; UW-Eau Claire has received 5,300 antigen tests to begin testing and will receive additional kits as needed.

Thesing-Ritter said the regular testing is important for the campus community.

“The goal is for the safety of students so we can continue in-person classes,” Thesing-Ritter says.

Photo caption: Chancellor James Schmidt received an antigen test for COVID-19 this week on campus similar to what all students in residence halls at UW-Eau Claire will undergo on a rotating schedule. The chancellor's test was negative.