For students, faculty and staff at Texas A&M University, access to coronavirus tests is expanding with the addition of convenient, at-home kits that they can request to pick up at no cost.
PCR tests continue to be provided at several locations on campus, but the self-administered tests offered in the kits provide another convenient and easy option for the Aggie community. At-home testing can help provide peace of mind and assist in decision-making during the pandemic, said Dr. Martha Dannenbaum, director of Student Health Services.
Providing access to the test kits gives Aggies the opportunity to 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 track down at pharmacies and other retailers, Dannenbaum said, and Texas A&M is fortunate to have access to a large volume of tests through the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which recognized the need to provide access to tests in locations with high potential for virus exposure.
“Having these available will help give you information about how you stand right at this moment as it relates 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’re going to leave your house and go to class or a religious ceremony or basketball game, or stay in.”
At A&M, students, faculty and staff can pick up a box each week, with two tests included in each box. They must simply fill out a form on the request site and show proof of receipt when picking up the kits outside Kyle Field, the Zachry Engineering Education Complex, the Wehner Building or A.P. Beutel Student Health Center.
The tests – BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card – provide quick results and are easy to administer from anywhere, Dannenbaum said. The Student Health Services website provides more details about the test itself. The home tests deliver results within about 15 minutes.
Dannenbaum doesn’t advise testing every day. Rather, she said the tests are best suited for situations where a person has been in a high-risk setting, recently traveled or plans on attending an event. A negative test result is helpful for people deciding whether to gather, she said, which is a good time to check whether they could be shedding the virus.
“Even if you don’t think you need these, it’s a tool to have in your toolbox to help us prevent excessive spread and serious illness across our campus and community, so pick them up,” Dannenbaum said. “Have them available, because you never know when you might need one.”
Visit Texas A&M’s COVID-19 guidance page for more information updates.