NUS to pilot fast-and-easy Covid-19 testing for students and staff

Students and staff who do not live on campus will need to do a test before their first visit on campus, starting Aug 10.
Students and staff who do not live on campus will need to do a test before their first visit on campus, starting Aug 10.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - All students and staff of the National University of Singapore will be testing themselves regularly for Covid-19 from Aug 10, in a pilot fast-and-easy testing (FET) regime that the university is trying out.

In a circular sent to students on Wednesday (Aug 4) seen by The Straits Times, staff and students will be given antigen rapid test self-test kits, and the frequency of their testing will depend on their vaccination status and whether they are residents on campus.

Fully vaccinated staff and students living on campus will be expected to conduct a self-swab test once a month, and those who are unvaccinated, or have only received one dose of the vaccine, will test themselves once a week.

Hall residents will receive more information from their respective hall masters on the implementation of the tests.

Students and staff who do not live on campus will need to do a test before their first visit on campus, starting on Aug 10.

Subsequently, self-swab tests will be required at every 20th visit to the campus for vaccinated people and every fifth visit to the campus for unvaccinated people. The university's uNivUS app, which tracks their entry in and out of campus, will alert them when it is time to do a test.

The school semester began on Monday.

"The implementation of this pilot is an added precaution to safeguard the health of our students and staff. It will enable quick detection and better containment of community spread of the virus, in the event of any confirmed Covid-19 cases," said the circular, which was signed by Dr Peck Thian Guan, a senior director of NUS' Office of Safety, Health and Environment.

The circular also noted that frequent, convenient and widespread testing is important in allowing for more economic and social activities to continue in a safe manner. Since July 15, The Ministry of Health has announced that workers in high-risk settings will have to undergo regular testing for Covid-19.

These include staff in gyms and fitness studios where clients are unmasked, personal care services such as massage establishments, and dine-in food and beverage outlets.

NUS added in its circular that students and staff serving in the medical sectors, and who are already subject to their respective routine testing regimes can be exempted from the FET pilot.

Staff and students are in the process of updating their Covid-19 vaccination status on the uNivUS app, and should do so by Aug 9, a day before the testing regime starts.

Those who have received the Sinovac vaccinations or have been vaccinated outside of Singapore can also upload their vaccination certificate, provided that their vaccine is under the World Health Organisation's Emergency Use List.