By: Hayden C. Cordova | Managing Editor
With summer coming to an end and fall semester starting soon, South Alabama’s plan regarding testing for COVID-19 became more clear. All students returning to on-campus locations at South will be required to test for COVID-19. Testing will be free for all students and will be funded under the GuideSafe program.
According to an article from AL.com, Alabama college students will receive an email from their university notifying them to schedule a testing appointment at least three days before returning to campus at one of 13 testing sites, and that the test will consist of taking a non-invasive nasal swab.
Students will receive their test results through email. While the GuideSafe testing will be free of charge, students may opt for external testing at their own expense. Those who have tested positive must consult with their health-care provider and be cleared by them before returning to campus.
Although details have yet to be revealed about South’s implementation of GuideSafe through the semester, the University Committee on Reopening Campus has previously stated their intentions of implementing contact tracing on campus. According to its website, GuideSafe was developed by University of Alabama at Birmingham in partnership with several other Alabama universities, including South.
GuideSafe describes itself as a mobile platform with three primary tools designed to facilitate the reentry of students statewide: Healthcheck, the Exposure Notification App, and Event Passport. Healthcheck allows students to register their health status, the Exposure Notification App updates users with information regarding contact tracing, and Event Passport organizes safe attendance of in-person events after a cleared Healthcheck. While Healthcheck and Event Passport are currently available, the Exposure Notification App has yet to be made available.
As details continue to emerge regarding South’s reopening plan, South’s partnership with GuideSafe presents a clearer picture for students returning to physical locations in the coming semester as to what exactly will be required of them in the forthcoming weeks.