Emerson COVID-19 testing procedure minimizes interaction with medical staff for the spring semester

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

Emerson’s COVID-19 testing procedure at Tufts Medical Center has been altered for the Spring 2021 semester to involve less interaction between testing staff and the college students, faculty, and staff being tested. 

The new procedure is designed to increase the efficiency of the testing process, an email from Erik Muurisepp, assistant vice president for campus life and “COVID lead” sent Friday morning said. Students are now responsible for completing tests almost autonomously, with their only interaction with Tufts staff being at the “screening bay.” There, students are asked if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and are given hand sanitizer. Their only other interaction with staff comes at the end of the process, when students drop off their tubes. 

“With patient health and safety in mind, the testing center has adjusted procedures in order to increase efficiency and improve the patient experience,” Muurisepp wrote in the email. 

Individuals will now walk into 116 Harrison Avenue, get screened, receive hand sanitizer, and collect a tissue at the door. Then, students will proceed to a designated bay in the front of the testing center to blow their nose. From there, students will tap their I.D. at the computer and receive their barcoded label, test tube, and cotton swab, and proceed to the new “testing bay,” a series of sheet-separated cubicles. There, individuals stand in their own cubicle to complete the self-swab test without instruction from medical staff, unless help is requested. 

Once completed, students will drop their tests in a designated box where a Tufts staff member sits, sanitize their hands, and exit the building in the back, the same as the Fall semester. 

Emerson individuals will not be allowed to receive their test without an active Emerson ID. No manual data entries or temporary IDs will be allowed. 

Testing will be available to residential students upon arrival to campus, to off-campus students starting and staff on Jan. 19, and to faculty at least five days prior to their first in-person class. Everyone in the Emerson community must receive a negative test result before visiting campus or being released from quarantine.