Clemson University leaders breakdown new COVID-19 weekly testing requirement

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CLEMSON, SC (WSPA)–This week, we’re learning more on why Clemson University on-campus students are now being tested for COVID-19 on a weekly bases.

It’s a requirement that’s in place until further notice.

Clemson University officials said the weekly testing is not because of an outbreak or major concerns. School administration said it’s simply a new aggressive approach to keep everyone safe at all times.

“We came up with the idea of testing every on-campus student each week, would allow us to have a consistency that would allow for their scheduling as well as give us the data we’re looking for as we look to identify positive cases and move those to isolation,” said Joe Galbraith, Associate Vice-President of Communications at Clemson University.

Everyday between 7 a.m. to noon, the University is giving approximately 2,500 tests to students and faculty at the Littlejohn Coliseum.’

“They’re testing upwards of 2,500 test a day to students and faculty. So we’ve identified a pool of students to come each day,” Galbraith said.

Students who spoke with 7-News crews said they aren’t upset about the requirement.

“It’s not that much of a hassle honestly, because we just got tested and we were in two minutes in and two minutes out. Like it was no big deal,” said Gray Bayne, Sophomore at Clemson University.

In addition, those living off-campus can be tested at random.

“Honestly, I think it’s the smartest thing that they can do right now. I mean it’s a big school and kids are living in close quarters and I think it’s a smart decision to keep it closely monitored,” said Emma Sutherland, a Senior at Clemson University.

According to the school’s online dashboard, since June–4,263 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and that’s about a six percent positivity rate. However, with intense testing, numbers have gone down to 4.3 % as of last week.

“We have been aggressive in our testing, probably more so than a lot of universities around the country in testing asymptomatic, in testing the population in sample testing and in targeted testing,” Galbraith said.

Galbraith said students have been cooperating during the process.

“They’ve been wonderful and our numbers have trended in a great direction and we appreciate their efforts to keep the community safe and their classmates, and themselves,” he added.

The University has 800 beds for people to isolate and quarantine. If someone tests positive, they begin working with the Redfern Student Health Center and other staff, to ensure they have food and other items.

“I think Clemson has done a good job keeping us safe even with going to get food, everything is distances to-go food. So there’s not that much to worry about here verses other schools,” said Bryce Willis, Sophomore at Clemson University.

The University said overall these are the aggressive steps needed, to stop the spread of those who are asymptomatic or sick in general.

“Overall, it’s definitely a good thing. I haven’t heard of many schools, at least in South Carolina, doing something like this, and more beneficial for us in the long run,” Bayne said.

We also spoke with a legal expert who said universities can establish necessary requirements like this to ensure the student body is safe.

Click here to learn more.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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