Texas A&M University students, faculty, and staff are expanding access to coronavirus testing with the addition of convenient home kits that they can pick up for free.
PCR testing persists cared for at multiple locations on campus, but the self-administered tests offered in the kits provide the Aggie community with another convenient and easy option. Testing at home can provide peace of mind and help with decision making during the pandemic, said Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, director of Student Health Services.
By granting access to the test kits, Aggies can test themselves and get quick results before attending in-person classes, going to the office, or attending events. The antigen tests are increasingly difficult to detect at pharmacies and other retailers, Dannenbaum said, and Texas A&M is fortunate to have access to a large number of tests through the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which recognized the need to provide access to tests in locations with a high risk of virus exposure.
“When these are available, you’ll get information on how you currently stand with regard to COVID-19,” she said. “The value is when the result of that test makes a difference in how you manage your day, whether you leave your house and go to class or a religious ceremony or basketball game, or stay indoors.”
At A&M, students, teachers and staff can pick up a box each week, with two tests in each box. They just need to fill out a form on the application site and show a receipt upon kit collection outside Kyle Field, the Zachry Engineering Education Complex, the Wehner Building, or AP Beutel Student Health Center.
The tests – BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card – provide fast results and are easy to manage from anywhere, Dannenbaum said. You will find more information about the test itself. The home tests provide results within about 15 minutes.
Dannenbaum recommends not testing every day. She previously said the tests are best suited for situations where a person has been in a high-risk environment, recently traveled or plans to attend an event. A negative test result is helpful for people deciding whether to collect, she said, which is a good time to check if they can shed the virus.
“Even if you don’t think you need these, it’s a tool to have in your toolbox to help us prevent over-spreading and serious disease across our campus and community, so pick them up,” Dannenbaum said. “Keep them handy because you never know when you might need one.”
Visit Texas A&M’s COVID-19 guidance page for more information updates.