By Joseph Garcia —

University extends required COVID-19 testing through Sept. 11 and warns community of weekend events.

“We recognize the impact various events and situations have had on our campus community’s ability to meet the COVID-19 testing requirement,” an email cosigned by university officials on Sept. 3 said. It included signatures from Provost Beth Boehm, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Kevin Gardner, Dean of Students Michael Mardis and Director of Campus Health Phillip Bressoud.

“Starting next week, any student, faculty or staff member on campus who has not had a COVID-19 test performed on or since Aug. 24, must do so by Sept. 11,” they said.

It is recommended to schedule an appointment ahead of time, however walk-ins are welcome. Extended testing will be available at these locations from Sept. 8 through Sept. 11:

  • Cardinal Stadium: Purple “A” Lot (drive thru) // 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.
  • University Club: Ballroom // 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.
  • Abell Administration Building (HSC): Rooms 109 and 110 // 7-11 a.m. and 12-4 p.m.

Testing is free, but students, faculty and staff will need to bring their university id and insurance card. Be prepared to provide your social security number to testing officials if you do not have your insurance card or insurance. If your test comes back positive, you will receive a call from Campus Health, otherwise all test results will be texted to the number you provide at registration.

Previously, the university said students and staff who do not follow the mandatory testing would be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct and Redbook respectively.

U of L’s testing dashboard was recently updated on Sept. 2 as well. As of then, U of L reports 32 new positive cases out of almost 1,600 tests administered in one day. This brings the university’s total number of positive COVID-19 tests to 249.

The dashboard, now updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, does not factor in the athletics department’s cases. With those 90 cases added, U of L then has a total of 339 positive cases.

This is still much lower than some Kentucky universities. Take U of L’s biggest rival, the University of Kentucky, which reports 435 active cases as of Aug. 30.

“We are pleased that our students, faculty and staff have taken the COVID-19 situation so seriously,” Phillip Bressoud, executive director of campus health, said in a U of L News press release. “The fears so many had expressed have not materialized. Now it is up to us to continue the good work to ensure our semester can continue without many of the issues other schools are facing.”

Bressoud said that there were many factors that went into U of L’s early success. Including U of L’s contact tracing efforts, limiting of large gatherings on and off campus, and the university community’s adherence to protocols laid out by the university and state.

“Our university community has done a great job with wearing masks and practicing physical distancing on campus,” the Sept. 3 email said. “We see it when walking across campus and we see it in our good testing results.”

However, with Labor Day weekend, the Kentucky Derby and the football season about to begin on Sept. 12, Bressoud, and other university officials on the email letter, warned that student’s faculty and staff should still be cautious of the virus.

“We know from watching other universities that it only takes one or two incidents to set off a COVID-19 outbreak,” Bressoud said. “While we are so appreciative of our students and our community taking precautions so far, we need them to keep up the good work.”

In their email, university officials reminded students the pandemic is far from over.

“Assume other around you have the virus: wear your mask, practice physical distancing of at least six feet and wash your hands frequently,” they said. “These actions truly make a difference and can save lives.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal