Higher education institutions receiving resources to conduct some coronavirus testing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing announced all two-year and four-year institutions in West Virginia will receive the necessary resources to conduct coronavirus surveillance testing on a portion of each campus’s population.

Public and private institutions will receive materials for testing on 10% of students and staff.

Sarah Armstrong Tucker, the chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, said at the start of the fall semester, institutions worked with local health departments on testing students and staff.

“What’s wonderful about the opportunity that we have now is that we knew what a strain that local health departments were under in trying to make sure that our whole campus community was tested. It was a huge effort on their part, and they were just wonderful to work with,” she said. “We didn’t want to continue to tax them, so DHHR and the National Guard have been able to come up with a solution for higher ed that I think is just terrific.”

Institutions will be allowed to administer saliva-based tests without needing local health officials on site.

“We’re very, very thankful for that,” Armstrong added.

According to Armstrong, less than 1% of students, faculty and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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