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K-State Today

August 24, 2020

K-State expands COVID-19 testing capacity; conducts voluntary surveillance testing of students

Submitted by Division of Communications and Marketing

On Monday, Aug. 24, Kansas State University will begin conducting voluntary surveillance testing of students who live in Manhattan residence halls and Jardine Apartments as part of the university's enhanced testing for asymptomatic individuals.    

In addition to testing for students, K-State has expanded its COVID-19 testing capacity at Lafene Health Center to include asymptomatic testing of faculty and staff as needed. The university already has the capability to test students, faculty and staff with COVID-19 symptoms.   

The voluntary surveillance testing of students in on-campus housing is intended to help identify students who may be asymptomatic but COVID-19 positive, in order to isolate them, provide follow-up care and contact trace to help mitigate the spread of the virus.      

Student participation in the testing is not mandatory and the testing will be provided at no cost to students. Students who live in the residence halls will be in the first pool of testing candidates. Additional student groups will be invited to test over time.  

Each week K-State will test approximately 10% of students living in the residence halls. An email will go out at the beginning of each week to the students who are randomly selected to participate. The test results are protected as a confidential student record.   

The testing will be conducted at Lafene Health Center and will be a self-administered nasal swab test. This is not the deep swab, but is a more comfortable and quick testing method that is still very accurate, said Kyle Goerl, medical director for Lafene Health Center.   

"We strongly encourage students to consider participation in this testing program," Goerl said. "This strategy will be more accurate and effective if we have a higher rate of participation. We want every Wildcat to be a Wellcat."   

In addition to the surveillance testing, K-State also has enhanced its asymptomatic testing of students, faculty and staff. The enhanced asymptomatic testing at Lafene Health Center will be for individuals meeting specific criteria, including students in isolated areas of congregate living, people in certain academic programs where prolonged close contact occurs, and close contacts of positive cases.  

Students, faculty or staff at the Manhattan campus should call Lafene Health Center at 785-532-6544 or their local health care providers to determine if asymptomatic testing is needed. They should call before arriving at Lafene Health Center because an appointment to complete testing may be needed. Students, faculty and staff at the Polytechnic and Olathe campuses should contact their local primary care providers or county health departments to access a testing location. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.   

If students, faculty and staff are close contacts, they will receive a call from their county public health departments or Lafene Health Center to inform them if they should be tested. Read more information about close contacts and contact tracing. If students, faculty and staff are concerned that they have been exposed, they should contact Lafene Health Center or their primary care physicians to discuss the appropriate steps.  

Visit k-state.edu/covid-19 for the latest updates and learn more about the Every Wildcat A Wellcat initiative at k-state.edu/ewaw