Elementor #1282

testing tightrope
 

What testing strategy is right for us?

In July, the CDC issued guidance for reopening practices for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs). Since their guidance was issued, the Delta variant has proven to be more contagious than initial expected. In addition, Delta has demonstrated its ability to break through in the vaccinated population.   

Specific communities of interest (Performing Arts, Athletics, Academic Research, Administration, etc.) within the IHE population have developed best practices to increase the possibilities of remaining in-person throughout the “21-’22 school year We believe there is a further best practice that is necessary. Mandatory testing should be included for everyone on campus, whether they are vaccinated or not.

Consider the situation at the University of North Carolina at  Chapel Hill, where over 90% of the campus population is vaccinated. UNC-CH is in a county with over 82% vaccination rates. Recently, when a small outbreak was discovered in the dorms, researchers actively began testing vaccinated students in the areas as well and found multiple clusters (3 separate dorms) of breakthrough infections. We  now know clusters of infections like these  contribute significantly to overall spread.  This is interesting when considered with the Ursinus College math models (reported Aug 4). Their work reports that even at 90% vaccination rates, vaccination alone without testing is not a sufficient strategy to hold off an outbreak.  Additional support for the best practice of testing in vaccinated populations is suggested by another NC school’s recent experience. In late June this year  NC State University was sent home from the College World Series in Omaha due to positive COVID-19 tests among coaches and players. At least half of their positive tests were of vaccinated players.  The problem was that the NCAA did not require vaccinated players to be tested – This policy has been changed. 

The moral to this story is that not testing vaccinated individuals at colleges and universities can result in significant consequences. The ability to remain in-person which has significant impact on the ability to deliver superior higher education experiences. Associated with this is the impact of lost revenue to housing, performance arts, and athletics. While College Football is somewhat shielded from having to cancel games due to positive cases, guidance from the NCAA on how the  College Basketball (CBB) season will be managed is not yet provided.  If testing best practices do not evolve to include vaccinated players and staff the potential exists for a significant loss of portions of the college basketball season and participation in March Madness. This has far-reaching impact on the programs, the players, and resulting revenue stream

In July, the CDC issued guidance for reopening practices for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs). Since their guidance was issued, the Delta variant has proven to be more contagious than initial expected. In addition, Delta has demonstrated its ability to break through in the vaccinated population.   

Specific communities of interest (Performing Arts, Athletics, Academic Research, Administration, etc.) within the IHE population have developed best practices to increase the possibilities of remaining in-person throughout the “21-’22 school year We believe there is a further best practice that is necessary. Mandatory testing should be included for everyone on campus, whether they are vaccinated or not.

Consider the situation at the University of North Carolina at  Chapel Hill, where over 90% of the campus population is vaccinated. UNC-CH is in a county with over 82% vaccination rates. Recently, when a small outbreak was discovered in the dorms, researchers actively began testing vaccinated students in the areas as well and found multiple clusters (3 separate dorms) of breakthrough infections. We now know clusters of infections like these  contribute significantly to overall spread.  This is interesting when considered with the Ursinus College math models (reported Aug 4). Their work reports that even at 90% vaccination rates, vaccination alone without testing is not a sufficient strategy to hold off an outbreak.  Additional support for the best practice of testing in vaccinated populations is suggested by another NC school’s recent experience. In late June this year  NC State University was sent home from the College World Series in Omaha due to positive COVID-19 tests among coaches and players. At least half of their positive tests were of vaccinated players.  The problem was that the NCAA did not require vaccinated players to be tested – This policy has been changed. 

The moral to this story is that not testing vaccinated individuals at colleges and universities can result in significant consequences. The ability to remain in-person which has significant impact on the ability to deliver superior higher education experiences. Associated with this is the impact of lost revenue on housing, performance arts, and athletics. While College Football is somewhat shielded from having to cancel games due to positive cases, guidance from the NCAA on how the  College Basketball (CBB) season will be managed is not yet provided.  If testing best practices do not evolve to include vaccinated players and staff the potential exists for a significant loss of portions of the college basketball season and participation in March Madness. This has far-reaching impact on the programs, the players, and resulting revenue streams.

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