SFU launches COVID-19 rapid screening pilot
SFU is launching an eight-week COVID-19 rapid screening pilot project on Burnaby campus starting June 8, 2021. As the university continues to protect the well-being of our community, the health and safety of students is top of mind. Students currently living in on-campus residences, and varsity athletes from invited sports teams, will be eligible to participate in the pilot.
“More than anything, this pilot project is a preventative measure,” says Martin Mroz, director of SFU Health and Counselling Services.
“We know that it’s possible for people to contract COVID-19 and unknowingly spread it to others, even if they are asymptomatic. Rapid screening will allow us to detect possible cases early on, prevent the spread and protect the safety of the SFU community.”
The pilot groups have been selected for the rapid screen pilot based on several factors, including recommendations by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to prioritize testing for people living in congregate housing (such as on-campus residence halls), and the university’s decision to include student athletes from certain sports teams who may be at higher risk. This pilot project will determine the feasibility of a wider screening approach for SFU if needed in the future.
The rapid screening pilot project does not replace or affect any of the existing COVID-19 guidance from the Provincial Health Officer or SFU Worksafe plans—all SFU community members are encouraged to keep wearing masks, practise physical distancing while on campus and get vaccinated as soon as they are able. However, the pilot does provide an extra layer of protection for the more than 420 students currently living in congregate housing or participating in sports with a higher risk of contact.
Participating eligible students are encouraged to get screened twice weekly during the pilot. The screening involves a quick and painless nasal swab with results available in about 15 minutes. Evidence indicates that people who have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine may still carry the virus and therefore can benefit from screenings.
"While cases are on the decrease and vaccinations are rolling out, we need to remain cautions while our larger community continues to get vaccinated," says Mroz.
“This pilot project is another way for us to keep our community safe, and takeaways from the project will help ensure that SFU is even better prepared for a return to on-campus learning, teaching, research and work.”
For more information visit the COVID-19 Rapid Screening pilot website.