All MU students living on campus must submit negative COVID-19 results

Arrival testing is optional for students living off campus.

MU announced in an email on Dec. 22 that all students living on campus must present a negative COVID-19 test upon their return from winter break. For students already living on campus when the announcement was made, the email raised some alarm bells.

Students who arrived on campus early or stayed during break started getting tested Jan. 11 at Parking Structure 7. Arriving students have the option to get a test at the Hearnes Center from Jan. 17-21 or receive a test at another location and report their results to MU. Arrival testing information can be found on MU’s Show Me Renewal website.

Some students already returned to campus before the announcement for work or personal reasons. These students will need to report their results to continue living on-campus.

Freshman Andrew Ogden returned to his residential hall before MU released further information on arrival testing.

“I had to come back for work, before I had gotten the opportunity to test at home,” Ogden said. “[MU] only started testing the 11th, so there was at least a 12-day period where testing wasn’t an option for me in the Columbia area.”

MU released their strategy in another email on Dec. 28, where students could begin to choose which testing option worked best for them.

“After I was here a few days, [MU] said — starting from the 11th — they would start testing on campus, but that was just for anyone who lacked those opportunities at home,” Ogden said.

Despite initial confusion for students already living on campus, MU is clear that for any student who wishes to live in a residential hall for the spring semester, they must get tested.

Sophomore Lauren Hines arrived at campus early for the spring semester on Jan. 12. Hines decided to get tested before arriving in Columbia.

“I got mine back home last Friday. It was within the five days before I came [to campus],” Hines said.

Students living off campus have the option to get tested. Sophomore nursing student Miranda Thein, who is living off-campus, said she will get a test soon.

“At least now they’re giving us the option [to get tested],” Thein said. “I think it would be beneficial for students if they did more regular testing than just on arrival because in Columbia, it can be hard to get a test if you don’t have a doctor’s referral or a lot of money.”

According to the Show Me Renewal website, the test for any undergraduate living on or off campus will be free.

With the influx of students returning to campus comes the concern of increasing the spread of COVID-19.

“A lot of the freshmen still hang out at the frats and go down to bars. That makes me worried for the community,” Thein said.

Hines agreed, noting the increase in cases around Halloween and Thanksgiving as a concern.

“Last semester, we definitely had some spikes,” Hines said. “I know we have the capability to keep it down, but nevertheless I’m nervous because that’s a lot of people in general.”

One objective of testing undergraduates is to isolate students who are COVID-19 positive before they move into their residential hall, interact with other students or begin in-person classes Dr. Kevin Middleton said during a MU press conference on Jan. 13.

“Just by virtue of the fact that we have increased the size of the population in Columbia, we will see more positive cases,” Middleton said. “We have the ability to get those people into isolation, which should further mitigate the spread from those people that are positive when they arrive in Columbia.”

Edited by Sophie Chappell | schappell@themaneater.com

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