COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program  Details & FAQs

Surveillance Testing Program 

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program 

In response to a mandate by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Fairmont State University is in the final planning stages of a campus-wide initiative for COVID-19 Surveillance Testing using a saliva-based test. Testing will be self-administered by students, faculty, and staff who take classes, report to work, or use campus facilities during the semester.

Students, faculty, and staff who completed a testing exemption certification at the start of the semester and are not on campus at any time throughout the semester, will not be included in the surveillance testing program. To see if you qualify for a testing exemption visit the COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Exemption Form.

Phase I of testing will begin the week of Oct. 12 and will be focused on employees, students living on campus, and athletes.

Phase II will begin the week of Oct. 19 and will include a stratified sampling of students, and employees across campus. Testing will continue through the rest of the semester; concluding prior to finals week.

This initiative is part of the University’s multi-pronged strategy to mitigate and monitor the spread of COVID-19. The purpose of this testing program is to allow the University to monitor and address real-time trends and prevalence and make timely decisions on intervention and response.

A surveillance testing program means that samples of students and employees will be selected and tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have a known exposure. This allows us to make inferences about the level of spread in the campus population and identify asymptomatic cases for quarantine.

This is a required program. Those selected for testing will receive an email and a text notification through our emergency alert system with additional testing information. Participants selected for the saliva-based testing as part of this program are not required to quarantine unless a positive result is received.

Failure to respond and schedule a test may result in a directive to quarantine until testing can be completed. Further, students who fail to test are subject to a $100 fine, loss of access to university spaces, and referral to Student Conduct for further action up to and including possible expulsion from the University. Employees who fail to test are subject to discipline up to and including possible termination. There is no cost associated with taking this test.

Update Your Emergency Alert Information

If you are not signed up for the University’s emergency text alert system, you can do so at my.fairmontstate.edu. Click on “Emergency Notifications” and enter your UCA and password. This alert system will be used throughout the semester to update you on operational changes due to COVID-19, emergency alerts, and weather announcements.

Selection, Notification & Scheduling

  • Each week students, faculty, and staff equal to 10% of our on-campus population will be selected for testing during the following week.
  • Each Wednesday afternoon, those selected for testing during the following week will receive an email and text message. Anyone receiving an email but not a text message should update their information by going to my.fairmontstate.edu and clicking on “Emergency Notifications.” You will then enter your UCA email address and password to enter into the Omnilert system where you can go and update your emergency contact information.

  • Testing is offered on Mondays (7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.), Tuesdays (Noon – 5 p.m.), and Wednesdays (8 a.m. – Noon) by appointment. A link to schedule an appointment is included in the selection notification email.  

  • Those who have not yet made an appointment are reminded daily via email and text message to ensure proper and complete notification of selection for testing. 

  • Failure to respond and schedule a test appointment may result in a directive to quarantine until testing can be completed. Further, students who fail to test are subject to a $100 fine, loss of access to university spaces, and referral to Student Conduct for further action up to and including possible expulsion from the University. Employees who fail to test are subject to discipline up to and including possible termination. There is no cost associated with taking this test.

Testing Process

  • Testing is being held in Falcon Center, Gym 1, and is staffed by employees from various departments across campus.

  • This testing program is for asymptomatic individuals. If you have a fever or symptoms, you will need to complete the Illness Reporting Form and indicate in the notes that you have been selected for surveillance testing. You cannot test it you have symptoms.

  • If you are in quarantine or isolation, you should not leave to visit the testing center. If you have been directed to quarantine, you should complete the Illness Reporting Form and indicate in the notes that you have been selected for surveillance testing.
  • If you have had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 90 days, you should not be tested. Students should notify the COVID Student Liaison that they have been selected for surveillance testing and have had a positive test by emailing covidstudenthealth@fairmontstate.edu. Employees should inform Human Resources of their recent positive test by emailing hr@fairmontstate.edu. If the appropriate documentation is not provided, testing will be required.
  • Surveillance testing will be a self-administered salvia-based test. It is recommended that you hydrate in the hours before your test, however,  you should not eat, drink, smoke, use tobacco products, chew gum, or use mouthwash within 30 minutes of your test. 
  • It is important that you arrive during your scheduled time to help manage wait times and facilitate physical distancing.
  • Please bring your Falcon ID to the testing site and have it ready to show at check-in. You will not need a health insurance card and there is no cost to you for these tests.  
  • Head to your testing location (at the Falcon Center – Gym 1) and follow signs for surveillance testing. You will be required to enter through the outside doors near the quad area. Testing will occur with  physical distancing  and masks required. Only those who need to complete testing, or are assisting in the testing process, will be permitted in the testing area.  
  • When testers arrive, they will scan a QR code and access the Vault Laboratory testing website to complete patient consent documents. They then proceed to swipe their Falcon ID card and are handed an envelope that includes their test. They will then be sent to a sanitized testing table where they use their phone to associate their unique test code to their profile. Two stations are equipped with laptops for anyone unable to use their phone.  

  • After following the provided instructions and providing their sample, the tester will seal their tube and place it in a bag. All wrapping materials are then discarded and as the tester exits, they hand their test to a staff member who ensures the test is valid and then places it in a mailing envelope.  

  • Tests are mailed to the laboratory at the conclusion of testing on Wednesday afternoons and results are expected to be returned 48-96 hours after being received by the lab. Results are emailed to testers based on information provided during the registration process.  

  • You will receive results via your university email account from Vault Health, a testing service that Fairmont State has contracted to conduct the testing. It is anticipated that results will be available within two to three business days. A representative from the Fairmont State COVID team will call you if you have a positive test result. Please note that if results are received later into the night, you may not be contacted until the next morning.
  • Testing typically takes 10-30 minutes. If you have a disability and have difficulty standing for up to 30 minutes, you can request a chair. Please let the person know at the check-in desk. If you are a student that needs accommodations related to the testing process please contact the Office of Accessibility Services at (304) 367-4651. Employees with questions or requests related to a needed accommodation in the testing process should contact HR at hr@fairmontstate.edu. Photos of the testing site and process are attached for your reference.​

 

Surveillance Testing Program FAQs 

Is testing required? 

Yes, this is a required program. Failure to respond and schedule a test may result in a directive to quarantine until testing can be completed. Further, students who fail to test are subject to a $100 fine, loss of access to university spaces and referral to Student Conduct for further action up to and including possible expulsion from the University. Employees who fail to test are subject to discipline up to and including possible termination. There is no cost associated with taking this test.

Who will be eligible to be assigned for testing?  

All students, faculty, and staff who are enrolled in courses, teaching, or otherwise on campus at any time may be selected to test more than one time throughout the semester.

What if I no longer come to campus for classes or any other reason and do not want to be tested?

Students, faculty, and staff who completed a testing exemption certification at the start of the semester and are not on campus at any time throughout the semester, will not be included in the surveillance testing program. To see if you qualify for a testing exemption visit the COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Exemption Form.

What if I’m having possible COVID-19 symptoms?

This testing program is for asymptomatic individuals. If you have a fever or symptoms, you will need to complete the Illness Reporting Form and indicate in the notes that you have been selected for surveillance testing. You cannot test it you have symptoms.

I am regularly tested for COVID-19. Can I provide those results instead of participating in Fairmont State’s surveillance testing program?

No. If you are selected to participate in the on-campus testing program and do not qualify for an exemption, you are required to participate.

Can I volunteer for the testing protocol?  

No, to get the full efficacy of the surveillance program, we must proceed with a true sampling process. If you want to be tested voluntarily instead, you can receive information through Student Health Services and/or the Student COVID Liaison (for students) or HR (for employees).

How will individuals be selected for testing? 

Each week students, faculty and staff equal to 10% of our on-campus population will be selected for testing during the following week. If selected, you will be informed via both email and text messages. Update your emergency contact information to ensure proper notification by going to my.fairmontstate.edu and after logging-in click on “emergency notifications.”

A link to schedule an appointment time will be provided to those selected for testing. Appointments are required. Failure to respond and schedule a test appointment may result in a directive to quarantine until testing can be completed. Further, students who fail to test are subject to a $100 fine, loss of access to university spaces and referral to Student Conduct for further action up to and including possible expulsion from the University. Employees who fail to test are subject to discipline up to and including possible termination. There is no cost associated with taking this test.

How long does it take to get test results?

Tests are shipped to the lab at the end of each weekly testing session. It is anticipated that you will receive an email with results 48-72 hours after your sample is received at the lab. 

Will I have to quarantine while waiting for my test results?

No. Individuals randomly selected for Surveillance Testing will not have to quarantine while they await test results. As always, it is encouraged that you limit contact with others you do not live with, wear your mask, and wash your hands to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

How accurate is this test?

This test is comparable in accuracy to the more invasive nasal swab test and is recommended by our state health officials. The assay can detect the virus down to fewer than 10 copies per milliliter of saliva, which is highly sensitive. In practice, 98% of test results are either positive or negative, with only 2% being inconclusive.

The sequences that help to detect the virus (primers) match the viral sequences almost 100% of the time, which ensures that the test is specific only to the 3 selected viral genes, which in combination are only found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These are the same selected viral genes tested for in the nasopharyngeal swab PCR test.

This saliva-based test is not an antibody test. It is a PCR test. For more information please visit, www.Vaulthealth.com.

Is this test authorized by the FDA?

Yes. This particular saliva-based test is intended for use under the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization #200090 authorized on April 10, 2020. This is the only saliva test and saliva collection device that is FDA-authorized for self-collection in the U.S. at this time. https://www.fda.gov/media/137773/download.

Should I consider antibody testing instead of this?

A COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test that can tell if you previously had COVID-19 and have since recovered. The test involves having your blood drawn at a healthcare facility. It checks for the presence of a particular antibody your body makes when it’s fighting the virus. These antibodies appear in your bloodstream after you’ve been infected.

An antibody test is not the same as a nasal swab or saliva-based PCR test and does not check for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. You should not get an antibody test if you’re currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or need to know if you are currently infected.

The global scientific and medical community still has much to discover and learn about the virus and its resulting disease. For the individual patient, an antibody test is currently unlikely to change your medical management or what precautions you need to use such as physical distancing or masking in public.

At this time, the antibody test is most useful to understand how much the disease has spread in the community and potentially predict if a second surge of cases is likely to occur. The results may also help develop new treatments and even a vaccine.

One challenge with current antibody tests is that there is a high likelihood (almost 50% for some tests) of having a “false positive” result. This means the test will be positive when the person has never had the disease. This is true for all COVID-19-related antibody tests, including very good ones.

What if my friend or roommate tested the same day as me and they have their results, but I do not? 

This is not a cause for concern. The lab is processing the results and it can take up to 72 hours once received. 

  • Check the email account you used to register for Vault
  • Check your spam or promotions folder in your email
  • Ensure you consented at the end of the test

If it has been more than four days since taking your test, you should contact coronavirus@fairmontstate.edu.  

How often should an individual be tested?

The scientific and medical community believe most who are infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or may not show any known symptoms of an infection. This saliva-based PCR test will confirm infection between 2 and 28 days since exposure to the virus.

A negative test confirms that the individual has not been infected and is “safe” as long as they continued to maintain vigilance from the time they took the test to receiving the results. A positive test means that the individual should isolate and monitor symptoms.

What if I have questions about my results?

If you have any questions regarding test results, you should contact coronavirus@fairmontstate.edu.

How will I be notified that I have been selected to test? 

In the middle of each week, if you are selected for testing, you will be notified via your university email account and through the text alert system that you have been selected for testing the following week. The message will include instructions for scheduling your test, as well as contact information for Student Health Services/Student COVID Liaison (for students) or HR (for employees) should you have questions. 

If you are not signed up for the University’s emergency text alert system, you can do so at  my.fairmontstate.edu. Click on “Emergency Notifications” and enter your UCA and password. This alert system will be used throughout the semester to update you on operational changes due to COVID-19, emergency alerts, and weather announcements. 

What happens if I need to reschedule my assigned testing time? 

You are able to reschedule your appointment within the LibCal scheduling system using the scheduling link you receive via email. However, rescheduled appointments must be made within the same week in which you are required to test.

What are the consequences if I do not have a qualified reason for opting out and do not participate in the testing program? 

If you do not attend your initial testing appointment and/or reschedule your assigned testing date within the same week, you will be contacted by Student Health Services/Student COVID Liaison (for students) or HR (for employees) via email to immediately reschedule in the scheduling tool. If you fail to either show up for the second scheduled testing appointment and/or respond to a request to reschedule the initial appointment within three business days, you will receive a directive to quarantine until testing can be completed. Further, students who fail to test are subject to a $100 fine, loss of access to university spaces, and referral to Student Conduct for further action up to and including possible expulsion from the University. Employees who fail to test are subject to discipline up to and including possible termination.  

What if I have documentation that I have previously tested positive for COVID-19? 

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, you must notify covidstudenthealth@fairmontstate.edu (for students) or hr@fairmontstate.edu (for employees). Please note the following:

  • Lab documentation noting positive test results of a PCR test will be accepted. 90 days after the negative test results, you will be added back into the University's testing program.
  • Lab documentation of negative PCR testing within a week of required surveillance testing will be accepted. However, if new symptoms have developed since the test results, you will be required to test. Asymptomatic and negative individuals will go back into the pool for selection.
  • Not all COVID testing is accepted. For example, antibody testing is not accepted.