Some unis to dispense ART kits to make testing easier

At least three have installed ART kit vending machines as campus activities resume

Universities are making Covid-19 testing easier for their students, and at least three institutions have installed vending machines that dispense antigen rapid test (ART) kits on campus.

All National University of Singapore (NUS) students and staff can now redeem the kits for free at 13 vending machines in University Town and the Kent Ridge, Bukit Timah and Outram Park campuses.

This comes as co-curricular activities have resumed in group sizes of two at all institutes of higher learning, according to an update on the Ministry of Education's website.

While not all institutes of higher learning require their students to take an ART before they can enter the campus, The Straits Times understands that some are doing so for the protection of the campus community, especially students who live on-site.

To collect the free kits, NUS students must submit ART results weekly through the uNivUS mobile application. Those who are vaccinated can collect the kits after submitting two results, while unvaccinated students must upload four weeks' worth of results.

If students have done so, a QR code will appear within the app, which they can scan at the vending machine's reader.

The vending machines, which are powered by fintech start-up Beep Technologies' Internet of Things platform, will then dispense two ART kits.

Beep chief executive Kristoffer Jacek Soh said: "As a start-up incubated in both NUS and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), we've seen first hand how our institutes of higher learning face administrative and manpower challenges in ensuring their staff's and students' safety while minimising disruptions to school activities.

"We hope these initiatives with our various vending and pharmaceutical partners can provide them with better peace of mind as campus activities resume progressively."

SUTD told ST it has installed two ART kit vending machines on campus that will be operational next Friday. All its staff and students will be receiving eight free ART kits.

Since Oct 20, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) has installed two ART kit vending machines on its campus in Clementi and will be installing another machine in the middle of next month.

The Singapore Management University said it is considering the distribution of ART kits as an added precaution to safeguard the health of its students and employees.

Details will be announced at a later date.

The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) said all its staff will be given eight ART kits, which will be distributed once work-from-home requirements are eased.

SUSS said: "For students, only those who are unvaccinated are required to do an ART once every two weeks when they come back for lessons or co-curricular activities."

A Nanyang Technological University (NTU) spokesman said students who require more ART kits in addition to those distributed by the Government can buy them from the co-op shop on campus.

Ms Yeo Think-E, 19, a first-year NTU student, said: "I think distributing ART kits is a great move, because some of my friends had to leave the school premises to collect free ART kits, which was not very convenient."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2021, with the headline 'Some unis to dispense ART kits to make testing easier'. Subscribe