August 20, 2020
Dear Zag Students and Families,
Testing for COVID-19 is a topic being discussed in the media almost on an hourly basis. The world, the nation, and indeed each state has a daily tally of tests being performed and the resulting negative and positive results.
At Gonzaga, we believe good data is important and the foundation of good decision-making. In any process of discernment, understanding the context and seeking out reliable information are key ingredients of making wise decisions. As we begin the fall semester, we also believe students and families deserve as much information as possible to assist in making decisions about their health. Gonzaga as a community also needs this information to ensure the health and safety of our campus and the larger Spokane community.
Our approach to managing COVID-19 will involve (a) self-monitoring, using a specialized application; (b) PCR testing (both random “surveillance” testing and upon evidence of signs and symptoms); (c) contact tracing; and (d) support for self-quarantine and self-isolation.
One of the challenges many communities have faced is the ability to get quick turnaround on test results. Fortunately, we have identified a laboratory partner with the ability to provide results within 24-48 hours. With our primary partner, Incyte Diagnostics, Gonzaga will be offering all students the opportunity to test for COVID-19 at the beginning of the academic year. These tests are voluntary and provided as a service, at no cost. Students will be given more information in the coming days about when and where they can be tested. Generally speaking, the following schedule will be observed:
- Aug. 26–28: First-year residential students
- Aug. 29–31: Returning residential students
- Sept. 1–4: Off-campus students
- Sept. 8–10: Any student not able to be testing in the other periods
To take part in testing, students will need to follow the directions in the notification they receive for their identified testing period. This will include: (a) completion of a simple testing form which allows the laboratory access to contact information in case of a positive result; and (b) an acknowledgment of notification procedures. In the case of a positive test result, the Gonzaga Student Health Center and the Spokane Regional Health District will be notified. Procedures of quarantine and/or isolation as well as health service response will also be provided in the coming week and posted on our website at www.gonzaga.edu/zagon.
Following the initial student population test, Gonzaga will engage in more targeted “surveillance testing” and “contact-tracing tests.” Both of these strategies have been developed in cooperation with the Spokane Regional Health District, and will be described and communicated in the first several weeks of the new semester.
Be on the lookout for your specific testing information over the coming days. In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe, and... Zag On!
Eric T. Baldwin
Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs
Dean of Student Wellbeing & Healthy Living