Dear USF Community,
Because of your continued vigilance and adherence to our health and safety measures, we have experienced a relatively calm first two weeks of the fall semester. As we return to campus after the long weekend, it is especially important to maintain our discipline and do our part to mitigate the virus’s impact so that the university can remain open.
This includes participation in our robust surveillance strategies, including the Daily Symptom Check (Campus Pass) and randomized testing.
It is vital that every member of the USF community who is coming to campus this semester complete the Campus Pass every day and respond immediately if you are contacted to contribute to our random testing program.
Both the Daily Symptom Checker and the random testing invitations are sent to those faculty, staff and students who indicated they would be returning to campus in the fall on the Return to Campus COVID-19 Assessment. If you answered “yes” on your Assessment, your name may be drawn for random testing. The Campus Pass should be completed every day, even if you are not planning to come to campus that day. Failure to complete the Campus Pass will not exclude individuals from being selected for random testing.
If you are selected at random to be tested, you will be notified by email with further instructions. Any student, faculty and staff whose COVID-19 test comes back positive will be notified of their test results and instructed to self-isolate until medically cleared.
Our surveillance strategy also includes identifying possible cases through the required Daily Symptom Checker, as well as environmental sampling of high-touch surfaces in frequently visited areas on our campuses. You may be asked to be tested in response to information learned from either of these surveillance mechanisms. Your cooperation is vitally important to our overall efforts to promote health and safety on our campuses.
FAQs on random testing
Will students, faculty and staff have to pay for tests ordered under the random testing
No. Students, faculty and staff required to be tested under the random testing protocol will not be charged for tests.
Can I refuse random testing?
Yes, but you may be asked to self-isolate and remain off campus for a two-week period. You may also be subject to disciplinary action, per university policy.
If I’m selected for random testing but no longer plan on coming to campus this semester,
do I still need to present myself for testing?
We will assess these situations on a case-by-case basis. The surveillance strategy is designed to detect viral activity on campus, so depending on how often you are coming to campus, you may still need to participate in the testing program.
I’ve been selected for random testing but do not plan to come to campus until next
week. Do I need to come to campus this week to satisfy my testing requirement?
If you are drawn as part of the random sample on the Tampa campus, you have all week to make your appointment to provide your saliva sample. On the other campuses, you will need to be present for testing through the existing testing program available on Wednesdays on the St. Petersburg campus and on Thursdays on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Where necessary, we will work with individuals to determine an alternative method to acquire a test.
FAQs on cluster screening
What would cause me to be tested as part of a cluster screening strategy?
If environmental sampling indicates the presence of the virus in a particular space, persons who have been in that space may be asked to be tested. Similarly, if responses to the Daily Symptom Checker indicate a greater than anticipated number of persons with symptoms in a specific population or linked to a particular space on campus, members of that population or who have been in that space may be asked to be tested.
If I’m asked to be tested as part of cluster screening, do I need to self-isolate
while awaiting the test results?
No. Unlike a situation where a person is known to have been directly exposed to a person positive for COVID-19, the presumption in the surveillance strategy is that no one is infected unless and until we learn otherwise. We will use the most rapid test method available so that results can be obtained as quickly as possible and any positive cases will be isolated immediately.
As a reminder, anyone who comes to campus is required to follow the university’s guidelines for wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, hand washing, disinfecting spaces and other posted mitigation measures. Anyone who does not comply with these requirements will be asked to leave.
The health and safety of our campus community -- and the communities around us -- depends on this important shared responsibility. Your participation in this surveillance protocol is essential to our efforts to reduce the spread of the virus on our campuses in order to allow the university to remain open and in service to our students and our community. Thank you for doing your part.