TAMUS Inks Deal for Free COVID-19 Testing for TAMIU Students, Faculty, Staff
COLLEGE STATION — Students, faculty and staff at all 11 Texas A&M System universities, including Laredo’s Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) will soon have easy, free and quick access to COVID-19 testing.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our students is our top priority,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, “Facilitating increased accessibility and availability of COVID-19 testing will help us mitigate the spread and help to protect each other by taking preventative and proactive measures.”
TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz praised the System’s initiative and leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Again and again, The Texas A&M University System has shown its commitment to all students, faculty and staff throughout our ongoing response to this dreadful pandemic. This initiative provides us all with a valuable weapon in TAMIU’s fight against COVID-19. Early in our response, we also worked with the System to provide the Laredo Health Department with much-needed COVID-19 sampling kits,” Dr. Arenaz observed.
Approximately 15,000 test kits will be sent to system campuses each month. Each campus will set up a central location for the testing: a simple, painless mouth swab. The on-campus tests are available to TAMIU students, faculty and staff and will not be available to the general public. Testing is expected to be offered in August.
The testing is possible thanks to an agreement Chancellor Sharp negotiated with Curative Inc., a national testing company based in California. Curative has committed to turning around lab results within 30 hours from when the sample arrives at their lab.
To date, Curative has released more than 1.2 million test results and is processing 55 to 60 thousand test kits per day with plenty of capacity. A major benefit of the Curative testing system is it is a turn-key operation, offering tests, shipping, processing and a software system that collects and reports results.
While the tests are free, those who have insurance are encouraged to use their primary care physician to access the test so that their test can be paid for by insurance. System campuses like TAMIU will establish an online test registration, and those wishing to be tested must first sign up there. Priority will be given to those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Trained personnel will monitor the self-administered oral swabbing required. Once finalized, details will be communicated within the campus community and shared on the University’s online COVID-19 Response Center.
TAMIU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested if they experience COVID-19 symptoms, or suspect they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Close contact is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes at any time, beginning 48 hours before the individual had symptoms.
Registration for Fall 2020 is now underway. TAMIUFlex, Hybrid, Face-to-Face and online courses will all have the same tuition rates. An online catalog containing a list of all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs is at http://catalog.tamiu.edu
TAMIU ranks 5th in the nation among the 100 Most Affordable Public Schools with the Highest Return on Investment (ROI), according to ranking authority Great Value Colleges. U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Edition of its popular Best Colleges guide ranks TAMIU as the second highest-ranked Texas public university in its Best Regional Universities West category and the highest-ranked regional campus of the Texas A&M University System.
Most recently, TAMIU earned a top tier ranking for its COVID-19 Pandemic response. The 2020 Educate to Career College ranking placed TAMIU in Tier I for colleges and universities that have responded to the pandemic in ways that benefit and protect students, especially in terms of available online learning resources. Some 1200 colleges across the nation were reviewed.
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAMIU’s campus is closed only to the general public. Entry to campus continues for students, faculty, staff and those having legitimate reasons to be on campus. Online and virtual services at the University continue, practicing all CDC Guidelines on gathering, masking and social distancing and with most staff working remotely.
Office hours are subject to change and it is recommended that phone or email contact be made first to determine the office’s schedule of operation. An online directory is here.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy. For more, visit www.tamus.edu
Curative Inc. was founded to develop tests for sepsis in January 2020 and pivoted to COVID-19 in early March 2020 upon realizing the urgent need for test development and production in the United States. Founded by Fred Turner and comprised of a team of doctors, scientists, engineers and health industry experts, the Curative test is a simple-to-use oral fluid COVID-19 test that can be rapidly scaled to enable widespread access to testing to keep our communities. For more on Curative, visit www.curativeinc.com.