WATCH: UAB provides details regarding ‘GuideSafe’, statewide college student COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Many colleges and universities around the state are expected to have many students on campus for the fall season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic despite the rising number of cases.

Friday afternoon, UAB will provide details regarding the GuideSafeTM (formerly Stay Safe Together) Student Entry Pilot Testing that will begin July 26, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Alabama (UA).

As previously announced, all returning and first-time college students in Alabama will receive FREE coronavirus testing through the statewide GuideSafeTM program. The testing initiative is funded by the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and is intended to provide testing and guidance for students to return to housing, classes, and campus activities. An attached FAQ document will help answer some baseline questions you may have.

Speakers will include: 

  • Michael Saag, M.D.: Professor of Medicine, UAB Division of Infectious Diseases
  • Gene Hallman: President and CEO, Bruno Event Team

This testing is open only to college students by appointment only and not to the general public.

Concerning questions about student self-testing include:

Q: Why Are Students Being Tested?

A: Each university’s ability to test every student entering campuses this fall will go a long way in helping to maintain a safe environment. Testing will supplement other strategies to maintain a safe environment. Additional strategies include face coverings, physical distancing, and daily symptom and exposure reporting. Faculty and staff are also being tested to ensure safety.

Q: When Should a Student be Tested?

A: Students should be tested within 2 weeks (14 days) prior to their return. All students MUST receive a negative result before returning to campus and prior to their first campus activities – i.e. before rush, before move-in, before classes. Each university MUST receive a student’s results prior to his/her return.

Q: How Do Students Get Tested?

A: Students have two testing options:

  • GuideSafeTM Testing (formerly Stay Safe Together™ Testing). Free test for every student. Students will receive an email with sign-up instructions that will provide details on how they can get coronavirus tests. Students are encouraged to act promptly so that the results can be processed in time for arrival.
  • A. In-Person. There will be 13 locations throughout Alabama to test in person. Pilots will begin July 26 in limited locations, with additional locations coming online the following week.
  • B. At-Home Kit. GuideSafe Testing (formerly Stay Safe Together™Testing) has contracted with providers for UPS Health to send self-administered at-home test kits. This is likely how many out-of-state students and early arrivals will be tested. This test will require swabbing just inside the nostril – not the more invasive process you may have heard about — and sending the sample back in the prepaid packaging. Kits are to be returned immediately.
  • Private Option. If a student wants his/her doctor to test, he/she can do so, but at the student’s own expense. Students can simply have the test done within 14 days of return and send the results to each campus’ Student Health Center (SHC). A form will be available on the SHC website.

Q: What if a Student Tests Positive?

A: A positive COVID-19 test will happen for some – even with no symptoms. Students who test positive must follow the isolation and quarantine protocols of each student’s home state or location. A student must receive clearance from a health care provider before his/her return. Affected students are asked to contact his/her local health department or physician for more instructions, and are encouraged to notify their university for information and assistance.

At UA, students can call (205) 348-CV19 for additional assistance. UAB student assistance is available at 205-934-3580.

Q: What If a Student Already Had COVID-19?

A: Students should NOT retest through GuideSafeTM (formerly Stay Safe TogetherTM) if they had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 12 weeks. These students are asked to provide those results and clearance from their current health care provider to each university’s SHC. Forms will be available on each university’s SHC website.

Q: Where Do Students Send Results?

A: If a student uses the GuideSafeTM (formerly Stay Safe TogetherTM) at-home test kit or test in person, they will take care of submitting results. If a student tests privately — or needs to share a prior positive — he/she should send the results to the university SHC. A form will be available on SHC websites. These records will be treated with the same care and privacy as other medical records at Student Health.

Q: What Should Students Do Next?

A: All students will receive emails with additional details and instructions, and students are encouraged to follow those instructions promptly to ensure they are allowed on campus in time.

Q: Where Can Students Go for More Information?

A: As testing locations begin operating and as universities across Alabama develop outreach to their own students for testing procedures, each campus will be responsible for a steady flow of information to students and their parents/ caregivers.

For UAB, additional information is available at https://www.uab.edu/coronavirus/reentry/covid-19-testing or by calling 205-934-3580.

At UA, more information is available at healthinfo.ua.edu or by calling 205.348.CV19.

After the initial July 26 tests, more tests will commence on Aug. 4 at 11 additional sites
statewide. Test locations — as well as participating colleges and universities — can be accessed, here.

GuideSafeTM Testing will leverage Verily’s Healthy at Work screening and testing protocols designed to help students and employees return to work and campus safely by using a combination of online symptom and exposure tracking and COVID-19 testing services.

For more information visit UABmedicine.org.


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