Alfred University News

Continued testing of Alfred University students for COVID-19 yields no positive results

Results from Alfred University’s recent testing of 611 students for COVID-19 show no positive results.

ALFRED, NY – Results from Alfred University’s recent testing of 611 students for COVID-19 show no positive results.

Wellness Center staff collected saliva samples from 245 students on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and 366 more on Friday, Sept. 11. The specimens were sent as pooled samples to SUNY Upstate Medical Center labs in Syracuse for analysis, with no positive results returned.

To date, the University has tested 731 on- and off-campus students, with no student’s test result indicating COVID-19 infection. The University expects to complete its initial round of pooled sample testing during the week of Sept. 20, after which it will initiate weekly surveillance testing of 180 randomly selected students through the week of November 15. After surveillance testing is complete, the University will have tested each student twice.

President Mark Zupan called the most recent test results “encouraging,” but cautioned the negative results only indicate no student had the COVID-19 virus up to seven days prior to their individual test. He called on members of the University community to remain mindful of safety protocols aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19. They include following social distancing measures, wearing a mask or face covering, completing daily health screenings, and practicing appropriate personal hygiene.

“We are certainly happy to report that there have been no positive test results. It reflects our students’ willingness to follow the safeguards we have in place,” Zupan commented. “However, I cannot stress enough the need for all members of our community—students, staff, and faculty—to remain vigilant in our efforts to promote a safe campus.”

Del Rey Honeycutt, director of Alfred University’s Wellness Center, said Monday the University plans to test 672 more students this week, with testing scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15, and Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Joyce Walton Center. The University will wrap up its initial round of testing the week of Sept. 21, collecting samples from the remaining students.

Honeycutt added the testing process “is going great” with a significant improvement in efficiency since the University began testing students on Sept. 4. Volunteers initially were able to conduct about 24 students per hour through the saliva-based testing process. Last week, Honeycutt said, volunteers processed about 48 students per hour.

“That’s a significant improvement, and we wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without our volunteers, mostly from our Student Affairs Office and students in our Athletic Training program,” she said. “Our Information Technology Services people also have played a crucial role, and this campus-wide testing program would not have been possible without the can-do spirit of everyone involved.”

Honeycutt noted the current rounds of testing involve “pooled” samples of saliva from students, with each pool consisting of specimens collected from12 students. If a pooled sample comes back negative, it is presumed each student in the pool tested negative. In the event a pooled sample comes back positive, each student in the pool is tested individually and is quarantined until those test results are returned.