Miami University announces widespread surveillance testing plan

Miami University announces widespread surveillance testing plan
Miami University announced a new surveillance testing plan that will go into effect Aug. 29. (Source: WXIX)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Miami University will roll out a testing strategy Saturday in partnership with TriHealth that, according to university officials, will result in more than 3,000 tests performed each week on campus.

Vice President for Student Life Jayne Brownell announced the testing plan Friday in a letter to students, calling it a “multi-layered proactive approach.”

Each day, the letter says, a “set of selected students” will get an email inviting them to schedule a COVID-19 test. All students will be invited to take a test at least once.

The letter distinguishes between surveillance testing and wide-net testing, with the former seeming to be random and the latter targeting students with potential exposure, but Brownell did not clarify how potential exposure will be determined.

Brownell also did not say what type of test will be administered, whether an antigen or PCR test.

The tests are not mandatory, but students who repeatedly fail to schedule or take a test when invited won’t be allowed to attend in-person classes, access in-person campus services or enter a residence hall until a test is completed, according to Brownell.

The university will not allow students who refuse a test to participate in in-person classes or live in a residence hall.

Diagnostic and close-contact testing will continue alongside the surveillance/wide-net testing plan.

The letter comes two days after the Butler County General Health District announced 125 positive tests for COVID-19 since Aug. 17, with 100 additional tests pending.

Per a plan announced in late July, undergraduate students are beginning classes remotely until at least Sept. 21. They won’t move into residence halls until Sept. 14.

Earlier in the week, the university placed all student-athletes who have returned to campus under a blanket quarantine after 27 tested positive. Many of them, though not all, attended an off-campus “social gathering” more than a week prior.

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