Proactive UTEP COVID-19 Testing Program
Proactive testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 is one part of our effort to help prevent the spread of the virus as we transition to some face-to-face classes and more people working on campus. This program will allow us to quickly identify those who are infected, even if they are not experiencing symptoms and have them stay home so they do not spread the disease to others.
All current UTEP students and employees who will be on campus during the fall semester are eligible to be tested. All individuals who would like to participate in the testing program will be asked to fill out an online consent form before they will be invited to test.
No, the testing program is open only to UTEP students, faculty and staff who will be on campus during the fall semester. Friends and family should take advantage of the testing sites around the city. Locations can be viewed on the City of El Paso COVID-19 website at epstrong.org/testing.php.
You will be asked to present your UTEP ID, provide your 800 number, or provide your UTEP email address to check in. If you have your ID card, please bring it. We will have a scanner at the testing site and we expect scanning your card to be faster.
With the exception of student athletes, no. Coronavirus tests are not required for employees and students, but highly recommended to help limit spread of the virus within our University community.
Student-athletes have been testing through a commercial vendor since they arrived on campus for voluntary workouts.
Beginning Aug. 17, all student-athletes will be tested under the UTEP proactive testing program before using athletic facilities. Upon starting their respective seasons, they will be tested according to NCAA guidelines.
Yes. The test is free, fast, convenient, painless and voluntary.
All faculty, staff and students who will be on campus during the fall semester will be notified via email and asked to complete a one-time consent form. Beginning the week of Aug. 17, and during the first two weeks of class we will try to test as many people on campus as we can. Thereafter, those who have consented will then be randomly selected to be tested. If you are invited to test and accept the invitation, you will be provided information about the testing station locations and times you can be tested within the next week.
Each week, a random sample of students, faculty and staff required to be on campus for work, class or research activities will be invited to test. Using class and work schedules, the University will use a mathematical algorithm to randomly select the students and employees for testing each week. The algorithm is set up so that those who are on campus more frequently will be more likely to be randomly selected for proactive testing. You could be invited to test as often as once each week you are required to be on campus, or not at all.
Each week, a random sample of students, faculty and staff required to be on campus for work, class or research activities will be invited to test. You could be invited to test as often as once each week you are required to be campus, or not at all.
Athletes will be tested on a schedule developed by the Athletic Director.
Students living in dormitories will be invited to be tested every 14 days.
Certain other subgroups, including musicians practicing on campus and students in certain clinical rotations, will also be tested more frequently than those participants who are randomly selected.
UTEP has the capacity to test about 500 individuals per day. Students, faculty and staff who have consented to be tested may walk-in to be tested as testing capacity permits.
No. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS. UTEP’s testing program is intended to identify individuals infected with the virus who may not know they are infected so they can stay home and avoid passing the virus to others. As such, UTEP will not be testing individuals with symptoms. Students, faculty and staff are advised to seek guidance from their medical provider or visit a community testing site if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. Individuals experiencing symptoms or who were exposed to a person with COVID-19 will be asked to self-isolate until released by the El Paso Public Health epidemiology team. Generally, this follows a 10-day isolation period and at least three days without symptoms.
When you arrive at the sample collecting station, the sample collector will insert a cotton swab into your mouth or nose to obtain a sample.
Within 24 to 48 hours, you will receive an email indicating that your results are available to view on a secure website.
UTEP is hiring technicians who will be trained to collect test samples to determine if you are positive or negative for the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-19), which causes COVID-19. The project is an interdisciplinary effort led by faculty in the Border Biomedical Research Center, Biological Sciences, Public Health Sciences and Mathematics. It also involves staff from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, Information Technology and University Relations.
We are currently planning four outdoor testing stations – Fox Fine Arts Complex lower level courtyard, breezeway between the Engineering and Classroom buildings, Union breezeway and Undergraduate Learning Center patio. Updates on testing locations will be provided.
UTEP will pay for the testing program using funding made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Testing will begin Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.
Because samples will be assessed on campus without relying on external laboratories, results will be available in 24 to 48 hours or less. Each participant will receive an e-mail notification that results are available. They will log in to a secure website to access the results. If the results are negative, no further action will be required. If your test result is positive, you will receive a phone call from a UTEP Environmental Health and Safety employee with additional instructions. If your result is inconclusive, or indeterminate, you will be asked to take the test again.
If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and have not had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you may continue to come to class or work at UTEP as usual.
If your COVID-19 test is positive, please stay home. You will receive a phone call from a UTEP Environmental Health and Safety employee, who will advise you on next steps.
When a positive test result comes in, UTEP Environmental Health and Safety personnel will immediately ask the person who tested positive to stay home and not come to campus. Then, they will determine who else on campus may have been exposed to the person who received a positive test, such as classmates or co-workers, and invite them to be tested as well.
When someone tests positive, UTEP will identify which classes or offices the infected person has been in and will invite the classmates, faculty members and staff members who may have been exposed to be tested.
While we are highly encouraging everyone to participate, the testing program is voluntary for students, faculty and staff who will be on campus during the fall semester. We expect some people will choose not to participate. UTEP has the capacity to test about 500 samples during a work day on campus. We are using this capacity as one part of our strategies to help make UTEP a safe place to be.
No, the data we collect will not be used for research. The purpose of this project is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 among individuals who are taking classes or working on campus this semester. This information will allow us to identify locations on campus associated with individuals who have tested positive for the virus.
If your first coronavirus test was negative, you should still take preventive measures to protect yourself and those around you. If you are on campus during the fall semester, or if you are a student doing a practicum out in the community, there is no reason for you not to be retested. Also, if you consent to participate in UTEP’s coronavirus testing program, you may be randomly selected to be tested for coronavirus as often as once each week.
To address situations involving COVID-19-related compliance requirements involving face coverings and social distancing, students, faculty and staff can consult a helpful guide intended to assist the UTEP community in achieving compliance and supporting a safe and healthy environment. The guide is available at https://www.utep.edu/resuming-campus-operations/_Files/docs/STA_COVID19_20_Announcements_ComplianceReq.pdf