COVID-19 Update

Texas A&M is increasing the deadline for its mandatory testing program.

Following mandatory COVID-19 testing for all Texas A&M students and employees to be completed from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10, A&M reported the total number of positive tests on campus.

During the first week of mandatory testing, 28,967 tests were administered, 774 of which came back positive for a 2.7 percent campus positivity rate. The following week, there were 22,245 tests administered, with 1,116 positive cases and a 5 percent positivity rate. Finally, the third week saw a total of 27,880 tests administered with a 5.4 percent positivity rate. 

A&M Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President Greg Hartman said the university expected positive cases due to the large asymptomatic population. 

“During the course of that three weeks of mandatory testing, we did over 79,000 tests,” Hartman said. “We know that just testing positive doesn't mean that person is seriously ill and in fact many of those positives were asymptomatic people so the positive test is not necessarily equate with severe illness across our community, we expected we would see that many.”

According to a campus-wide email sent on Sept. 20, the average positivity rate was 4.19 percent during the three-week testing period. However, there were students who did not complete the mandatory testing, despite the various notifications sent by the university.

Students who have not yet completed their mandatory testing should get tested as soon as possible to mitigate possible sanctions from the university, according to the email. 

Following the testing period, university President M. Katherine Banks increased the number of on-campus COVID-19 vaccination sites, with three pop-up locations being available during the week of Sept. 20. Banks is offering the testing locations after feedback from a faculty survey, according to the university-wide notification.

According to the email, more than 12,000 innoculations had been performed by Student Health Services as of Sept. 20. 

Additionally, A&M released their vaccine incentives on Sept. 3 in hopes of increasing the number of vaccinated individuals on campus. The generous prizes include funds each totaling $14,500, a year's worth of tuition, for five lucky students. Additionally, five faculty members will receive a choice of a variety of prizes, including cash and football passes. 

As of Sept. 17, 18,000 students and faculty had entered the vaccination incentive program, according to the email. 

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