Spring semester is underway at Montclair State, and the University’s approach to the pandemic has changed in response.
In the fall, the University announced it would increase in-person classes in the spring by 50 percent. Montclair State is now ramping up its testing by testing more people on campus, and more frequently.
“We are adding rapid testing in addition to the PCR nasal swab tests we administered in the fall,” says Andrew Mees, MSU Media Relations director.
According to Mees, the addition of rapid tests will allow for a a significant increase in testing per week — from 500-600 tests in the fall to as many as 5000 tests per week in the spring.
“Throughout the fall semester, we routinely tested the students, faculty and staff in high-contact programs like athletics, the arts, and in residence halls. We are expanding this program to add more people and to test them more often,” says Mees.
In addition to athletics, performing arts and people living in the residence halls, MSU will offer more frequent testing to students and staff in clinical settings.
“For example, a resident student will receive a PCR test one week, and two rapid tests the following week,” explains Mees. “This will allow us to locate infections faster, and help slow the spread of the virus.”
Also new this spring, any current student or employee can get an on-campus test if they want one.
Students who receive a positive test result and have to quarantine will have the added support of the University’s COVID Concierge.
Holly Gera, who retired as director of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2018, returned to campus this semester in a new role — COVID Housing and Health Concierge.
Gera will reach out to students who are either in isolation or quarantine to check in, make sure students have what they need and offer support, so students don’t feel alone, even though they are isolating.
During the fall, the average number of students in quarantine or isolation could range from 30-40 individuals, according to Residence Life.
Montclair State’s COVID-19 dashboard updates weekly reported cases and offers updates on how many staff and students have received a COVID-19 vaccine.