September 29, 2020


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Message from the President

Dear Students,

As we announced already, this week and next the college will conduct another round of COVID-19 testing for all students and employees.  (Students who are currently in quarantine will be contacted separately.)

We are excited and pleased to announce that the Georgia Department of Public Health, the regional health department, and the CDC have asked Berry College to collaborate on a special re搜索 project to ascertain whether quarantine times can be shortened in college and university settings in conjunction with optimal testing and mitigation strategies.

The testing protocol this week and next will be modified in two ways:

  1. Participants will self-swab both nostrils.  One swab will be sent for a PCR test through the public health department.  The other swab will be processed here on campus using a newly developed rapid antigen test (BinaxNow) from Abbott laboratories.  The results from the two swabs will be compared subsequently at the CDC laboratories to determine if antigen test can be used routinely at colleges and universities.
  2. Participants will be asked to complete an important survey pertaining to participation in campus activities, medical history, personal habits, and COVID exposure since August 2020.  The college will also provide general information regarding demographics, 类一年, 主要, place of residence, athletic participation, 等等.  Information provided to the CDC will not be linked to any individual names or identifiers.

The addition of the rapid test and the survey will add time to the testing process (the rapid test will be read on site).  Please allow 20-25 minutes for testing as you plan your day.  As a result, we will also modify the testing schedule slightly.  Please bring an electronic device (smart phone, ipad, or laptop) with you if possible.

Students who test positive will isolate as in previous cases.  Other students or people with close contact as identified through contact-tracing will need to quarantine.  Students who are exposed and who quarantine on campus will be asked to take multiple COVID-19 tests during the quarantine period to help identify the optimal quarantine period.  A goal of the study is to evaluate whether the quarantine period can be shortened.

Another goal is to study whether a more selective index of exposure can be developed to reduce the number of contacts who need to quarantine.  This will be part of the contact-tracing process.  It will be a great help if all students and employees participate fully and straightforwardly in answering questions.  Berry’s involvement now has the potential to change the way testing and quarantine procedures are handled here and at other colleges and universities into the future. 

All information conducted during this process will remain confidential.  The CDC study will be based on anonymous and aggregate data and will not be used to identify individuals.  No information collected will be used in relation to any Viking Code infractions here at Berry.  This project is being reviewed by appropriate re搜索 boards at the CDC, GA DPH, and Berry (IRB).

Steve Briggs

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