Many entered the new year geared with a cautionary mindset against coronavirus. Neumann University is making sure its students are ready.
The university partnered with FlowMetric Life Sciences, a Doylestown-based research company, to utilize one of the country’s first mobile coronavirus testing labs. It was available on campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 15-16.
This mobile testing lab, which had originally been designed for military operations, was initially built for pandemics; however, prior to COVID, there had been no investment engagement for it, so the lab was put on hold. Following the surge in coronavirus cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Health approved its use for COVID-19 testing in October. Since then, FlowMetric has developed the ability to also provide antibody testing as well as measuring the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
“This is a concept we had back in 2015,” said FlowMetric founder and CEO Renold J. Caposcale, who is also on the Neumann University board. “The idea was to bring rapid testing into the field and getting diagnostics to people where they are.”
Neumann is asking students to show documentation of a negative COVID test (taken within 72 hours) before they move into residence facilities upon returning from Christmas break. Students who have not gotten tested on their own will be able to take the FlowMetric test free of charge. Test results are available within 60 minutes, as more than 500 students are expected to be tested.
After completing the test, students are given a number to place on the dashboard of their car and directed to a parking area to await results; all processed on site in the FlowMetric Mobile Lab. Those whose tests are negative are given a clearance pass to grant them access to the residence halls.
Those who tested positive were given a list of sites where they can get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and asked to quarantine at home. A PCR test is performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus. Students are then instructed to email negative test results to the university in order to be cleared to live on campus.
“It definitely gives me some peace of mind knowing that anyone entering campus will be confirmed as negative” said Neumann University student Alexa Mastrangelo.
The precautionary measures do not end there. The University will randomly be testing students throughout the spring semester. Students will also be required to complete a daily health check in order to be granted admittance into every on-campus building.
“Safeguarding our Neumann University campus community and creating a safe and healthy learning environment is of utmost importance,” said Chris Domes, president of Neumann University. “FlowMetric’s mobile lab and high-quality testing capabilities are allowing us to do that by facilitating the testing of hundreds of students.”
Neumann University has also volunteered to be a future vaccination site and is working with local health officials to coordinate plans.