Science / Technology and Health

Randomized COVID-19 Testing Informs and Protects Seattle U

October 7, 2021

Faculty and staff wearing face coverings outside.

Image credit: Yosef Kalinko

The health and well-being of the campus community remains a critical component of Seattle University’s return to in-person learning and programming this fall. A new element of the university’s COVID-19 response is a Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Plan for both unvaccinated and vaccinated employee populations.  

As introduced on the COVID-19 Response site, testing continues to be a central component of Seattle U’s strategy to lessen exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 illness on campus.

Each week, beginning on October 4, a subset of vaccinated faculty and staff population will receive an email directing them to obtain a COVID-19 test at any appropriate test site, including the free and temporary Curative test kiosk located in the Columbia Building parking lot.

A permanent location with expanded hours will open soon.

All unvaccinated faculty and staff with approved exemptions are required to submit test results weekly. Given the increasing number of breakthrough COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals, the university has initiated a randomized COVID-19 surveillance testing program of vaccinated employees.

Among the first randomized group was Provost Shane P. Martin, who received an email notifying that he needed to complete a COVID-19 test and report the results to Seattle U by the end of the week. To familiarize us with this new procedure, Martin shares his recent experience with the testing process and why participating matters to the health of our community:

What was your personal experience going through surveillance testing using the Curative test kiosk? Please briefly explain the process end to end.

Martin: “As co-chair of the Opening Task Force for the fall quarter, I was pleased to be selected so I could see how this would all work and nicely surprised that it worked so well. I received an email on Monday morning sharing the news that I had “won” the surveillance testing lottery and needed to complete a COVID-19 test and report the results to SU by the end of the week. I had the option of getting the test at any appropriate test site, but I could get the test done through the Curative test site on Seattle University’s campus.”

Martin reserved an appointment for later that morning using Curative’s website. The initial online registration takes a few minutes to provide insurance and other general information, which only needs to be done once.

Was it invasive? How long did the testing process take?

Martin: “It was very straightforward and not invasive at all. I was in and out in 5 minutes. There was no wait, I showed my appointment number and a health professional guided me through the self-administered sample collection process.”

Results of these self-collected swab tests are sent via email one to two days after arrival at Curative labs.

Why is it important that Seattle U does surveillance testing of faculty and staff?

Martin: “Our major commitment is to keep our students, faculty and staff safe and well during the pandemic. Surveillance testing lets us know the amount of virus that is present in the community. Low numbers of positive tests give us confidence that our proactive health measures are working—such as masking, required vaccinations, improved ventilation and others."

“If the numbers increase, we have the data we need to make further adjustments to our plan. We do surveillance testing to be informed by science and data as we make decisions, so we can continue to be primarily on campus in face-to-face environments.”

Learn more about Curative and the kiosk location at Seattle U. If you are visually impaired or need additional assistance, please call Curative’s support line at (888) 702-9042.

There is no cost associated with Curative’s test. Be sure to confirm cost of testing prior to completing testing at any off-campus sites.