COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing at AUM varies from students and AUM employees. There are three different variations of testing, including Student Campus Entry Testing, Employee Campus Entry Testing, and Employee Sentinel Testing.

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Sentinel Testing FAQs

What is Sentinel testing?

Sentinel testing is a system that collects information useful for monitoring trends in diseases and pathogens. For the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are to test between 2.5% to 5% of the on-campus population weekly to identify potential COVID-19 virus circulation within the AUM community.


Why is AUM doing Sentinel testing? How will the results be used?

SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, is transmitted through respiratory secretions as people come in contact with each other. AUM will perform ongoing testing to evaluate the amount of the virus in our community. Many people may carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms (asymptomatic) and can infect others.


This testing will help us identify areas of concern and hot spots on campus to prevent a severe outbreak, particularly among our campus members who might be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.


Please note that submitting to testing is voluntary. Your choice to participate will not impact on your employment. Nevertheless, we hope that you will help us in the fight against this virus so that we can continue to put measures in place to keep you safe.


How will employees and students be selected for Sentinel testing?

Plans are to test between 2.5% to 5% of the on-campus population each week. Those randomly selected for testing will be notified via email by Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources.


I have been selected for Sentinel testing. What do I do?

You will receive a specific appointment time to go to Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources for testing. Once you arrive, present your email to confirm your test appointment. The test consists of an observed nasal self-swab that will be processed in an on-campus lab. A representative of Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources will observe each self-test to ensure accuracy and provide coaching if needed.


Those being tested will be contacted with 36 hours with results. If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive results via email within 36 hours of testing. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from one of the physicians working with Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources to give you next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.


If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks, please opt-out of Sentinel testing. If you have not received a positive diagnosis, we ask that you participate in Sentinel testing. 


Where do I go for testing?

Further information will be provided by email for testing if you are randomly selected.


If I have been chosen for Sentinel testing, can I continue to be on campus while waiting for results?

Yes. You can continue to be on campus, both academic and medical, as long as you are without COVID-19 symptoms or significant exposure to a COVID-19 positive person. AUM requires everyone on campus, to wear a mask to protect yourself in public spaces to minimize potential spread of COVID-19.


Am I required to participate in Sentinel testing?

No. Participation in Sentinel testing is not required; however, it is strongly encouraged that you participate to help keep our campus community safe and healthy. Many people may carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms. People who are asymptomatic are still carriers of the virus and can infect others.


If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 weeks, please opt-out of Sentinel testing. If you have not received a positive diagnosis, we ask that you participate in Sentinel testing. 


Can I come on campus before I am selected for Sentinel testing?

Yes. You can return to campus prior to Sentinel testing. All students, faculty and staff are expected to comply fully with the re-entry policies, protocols and guidelines outlined here, as well as specialized and more stringent guidance from their particular departments/units/schools. Each department/unit/school will develop and communicate its operational plan for return to campus.


Will the test hurt?

No. The test consists of a self-swab just inside the nose that is painless.


What test is the laboratory using?

The tests will be processed using the Aptima Bio Fire Fusion platform by University of Alabama-Birmingham epidemiologists and its Infectious Diseases Lab. 


How will I get my results?

If you test negative for COVID-19, you will receive results via email within 36 hours of testing.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive a call from one of the physicians working with Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources to give you the next steps on how to protect yourself and others around you.


What do I do if I test positive, but do not show symptoms?

Self isolate for 10 days if you test positive, but are not showing symptoms to help protect others in the community. 


What do I do if I get sick?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected you have the virus because you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case, follow these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. You should quarantine or self-isolate for 10 days or until you are symptom-free for 72 hours, whichever comes last.

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

What should I do if one of my direct reports receives a positive diagnosis for COVID-19?

If someone on your team has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19 and exposed other members of the AUM community, please follow these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.


Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources will contact you for further testing and cleaning protocols. If the person who tested positive came in contact with others, they will report this to Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources, who will then contact those who may have been exposed to the virus for further testing.


All employees and students should update their Healthcheck to reflect an exposure, new symptoms or a positive test, which would then trigger a response from either Warhawk Health Services or Human Resources. Students and employees who meet these conditions should immediately leave campus to quarantine or isolate until further instructed by either Warhawk Health Services or Human Resources.

Those with a positive test are encouraged to:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

When should I seek emergency medical care?

If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs, seek medical care and immediately call 911:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

What is the treatment available for COVID-19?

Currently, only hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are receiving the approved medication. Further instructions on over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms will be discussed when a physician from working with AUM’s Warhawk Health Services and Human Resources calls to discuss positive test results.


UAB and UAB Medicine are participating in numerous studies to identify treatments for individuals who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. These studies are looking for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to participate in these clinical drug trials. The goal of these studies is to prevent disease progression, hospitalization and severe complications. 


If you are interested in participating, please call 205-934-6777.

How can I help decrease the spread of COVID-19?

  • Keep yourself healthy.
  • Wear a mask when you go out in public.
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from people and not gathering in large groups.
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water or use hand gel.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, fever, and body aches are common symptoms.
  • Be kind to others and take care of your mental health.

What do I tell my family and friends if I test positive?

Those who receive a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 should alert family and friends who have been in contact. Identify someone who can care for you through monitoring for provision of nourishment, while keeping their distance. Those with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis will need to isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus. Care partners should monitor themselves for symptoms and seek testing from general practitioners or local testing sites. Best practices in isolation include:

  • Use a separate bathroom and bedroom.
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

Click here to learn more.


All AUM students coming to campus for the fall semester will receive a free COVID-19 test as part of the GuideSafe™ entry to campus program, supported by CARES Act funding through the State of Alabama. More than 50 2- and 4-year colleges in Alabama are participating in the program. Here a few key things to know about AUM's Campus Entry Testing:


• Any student who plans to physically come to AUM for classes, meetings, jobs, extracurricular activities, events or any other reason to be on campus will have to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test.


• Testing will begin the first week of August, but students should not test more than 14 days before returning to campus. We suggest setting up your test 7-14 days prior to arrival.


• Students must have a negative test within the 14-day window of coming on AUM's campus, along with completing the appropriate safety training and enrolling in AUM Healthcheck


• Free testing will be provided for all students coming to campus.


• You can go to your primary care provider or another testing site. Provide Warhawk Health Services a copy of your negative results. Warhawk Health Services is located on the first floor of Moore Hall.


• Out-of-state students will receive information about COVID-19 testing in the initial email from GuideSafe™ Entry Testing.


• Campus Entry Testing will supplement other strategies to keep our campus safe, such as AUM Healthcheck.


Our ability to test every student coming to campus will go a long way in helping us maintain a safe environment. If your results are positive you will need to contact Warhawk Health Services for follow-up care and clearance prior before entering campus. Warhawk Health Services will provide guidance on self-isolating and caring for yourself during this time.

Student Campus Entry Testing

Student Campus Entry Testing: What is the process?

• Each student will receive an email from GuideSafe™ Entry Testing (sent from testing@guidesafe.org) with a link to register online for testing. Please look for and promptly complete the instructions in the email. 


• After registration and system verification, you will schedule an appointment at an approved testing site on the day and time of your choosing. Testing sites will be located throughout Alabama. Montgomery locations include the Baptist Campus Ministry building near the AUM campus, as well as Alabama State University. These locations will open August 3.


• A confirmation email with the testing appointment and instructions of what to bring and information about what to expect with sample collection will be sent to you. Please be sure to check your email for the confirmation.


• You will receive an appointment reminder via email.


• When you arrive at the testing site, you will present the confirmation email and identification. The confirmation email can be shown via phone.


• After identity verification, you will complete your sample collection under observation at the testing site.


• The sample is transported by the testing site to the testing lab and run within 24 hours.


• The testing lab reports the test result to the student, the student's state department of public health, GuideSafe™ Testing and AUM.


• If your results are positive, self-isolate for 10 days, symptoms improving and fever free for 72 hrs, and seek medical clearance from a medical provider or Warhawk Health Services.  


• If your results are negative, you are clear to enter campus.


• If you have tested positive in the last 12 weeks, then no retest, but will need a letter for clearance back to school from either their primary care physician or Warhawk Health Services.


For more information, email Warhawk Health Services here.


Student Campus Entry Testing: What should I expect during the test?

The test will be a self-administered swab in the nostril — though not the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab. 


• You will be handed a swab. 


• Hold the swab placing your thumb and forefinger in the middle of the swab shaft covering the scoreline or black line. 


• Do not touch, lay down or drop the swab.

 

• Insert the swab into your nostril until you meet resistance. 


• Gently rotate the swab for 5 seconds while pushing against the center of your nose. 


• Remove the swab from the first side of nose and insert into the other side of your nose. 


• Rotate the swab for 5 seconds pushing against the center of your nose on the second side. 


• Remove the swab from your nose and hold it out so your observer can take the swab from you without touching you.

The reason you are being asked to share a lot of information about yourself during the entry testing registration process is because of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and mandates by the Alabama Department of Public Health. To protect your privacy, data will be de-identified when shared with the CDC. Your de-identified data will help us understand COVID-19’s impact, rate of positivity, testing coverage, and will help identify supply chain issues for reagents and other materials

Protecting Your Privacy

Testing for International Students

International students arriving in the U.S. from outside the country


International students will receive a COVID-19 test at Warhawk Health Services (Moore Hall) within 2 days of arrival to AUM. If the test results are negative, students will quarantine for 7 days. After the 7-day quarantine, students will return to the Warhawk Health Services for a second test. If the second test is negative, the student will be cleared from quarantine. If you test positive, you must quarantine for 10 days, and you will need a clearance letter from Warhawk Health Services to return to campus.

International students arriving from outside the United States should email global@aum.edu with their expected arrival date into Montgomery. Once we know your arrival date, we can enroll you in health insurance with United Healthcare and make your appointment for your testing.


International students who are already in the United States

If you are in the country, it is a requirement for you to get your COVID-19 test done within 14 days of arriving on campus. If your test is negative, you will be cleared to return to campus. If you test positive, you must quarantine for 10 days and receive clearance from a medical professional to return to campus. AUM will conduct free tests through GuideSafe™.


AUM students ages 19 and minors under the age of 19 will need parental consent before scheduling their testing date. Please have your parents complete and virtually sign the three consent forms located here.

Employee Campus Entry Testing

COVID-19 campus entry testing will be offered to faculty and university staff returning to campus in August, but it is not required. Campus entry testing is a self-administered nostril swab, not the nasopharyngeal swab. Please read the following guidance:


• Any faculty or staff with or without COVID-19 symptoms are asked to complete AUM Healthcheck and follow instructions for next steps, including for testing (access AUM Healthcheck on the re-entry website, aum.edu or the AUM app).


• University faculty and staff without COVID-19 symptoms who are returning to campus in August and would like to be tested (not required) will receive instructions at a later time on how to access this testing.


• University faculty and staff who are working remotely will not participate in this campus entry testing and are not included in the randomized list for COVID-19 testing.


• University faculty and staff who are already on campus (prior to August) and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms are included in the testing process and will not participate in campus entry testing.

AUM Employees Entry Testing

Please review the following testing guidelines for AUM employees: 


• AUM employees with or without COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to complete AUM Healthcheck and follow instructions for next steps, including for testing (access Healthcheck on the re-entry website).


• AUM employees who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must notify Human Resources and immediate supervisor.


• AUM employees who are already working on campus and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms are included in the sentinel testing process and will not participate in campus entry testing.


• AUM employees who are working remotely may be included in the randomized selection for sentinel testing. Participation is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged.


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