CSUN offers free at-home COVID-19 testing for employees working on campus


L.A. County website

CSUN faculty, staff and student employees who are working on campus during the spring semester will soon have access to free COVID-19 self-testing kits.

Shannon Carter, Assistant News Editor

CSUN will soon offer COVID-19 at-home tests to faculty, staff and student employees who are approved to work on campus during the spring semester.

The announcement was sent in an email Thursday morning by Kristina de la Vega, associate vice president of Human Resources. The new COVID-19 screening program is designed to increase testing capacity in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the email, testing is voluntary. However, employees are encouraged to participate as a “collective responsibility to help reduce the spread of the virus.”

Employees interested in the program should complete the voluntary registration form by Wednesday to be considered for the first round of scheduling.

This move comes after the Chancellor’s Office issued a statement regarding plans to return to in-person instruction starting fall 2021, and President Erika D. Beck’s announcement that some CSUN classes will be held in-person beginning Feb. 15.

Despite the ongoing testing program, employees who anticipate coming to campus are expected to follow a list of safety protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, wearing a face covering at all times, and adhering to hand washing and other hygiene practices.

CSUN has contracted with Picture, an independent company from Fulgent Genetics, a certified and accredited clinical diagnostic lab, to provide the kits. Picture’s COVID-19 at-home testing kit checks for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease. According to Fulgent’s website, the test and home collection kit have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration under an Emergency Use Authorization.

Employees who wish to participate in testing can redeem a coupon code to have a free nasal swab kit mailed directly to their home. Once the sample is collected, participants can send their kit directly to the Fulgent lab with a prepaid shipping label. Test results will be available on the employee’s personal account on Fulgent’s portal.

Fulgent is required to report any positive cases to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, who will directly contact the employee and begin contact tracing. Test results are confidential and will not be shared with CSUN. CSUN will only receive total campus test data.

Under the new program, employees will be able to get tested every four weeks. Employees can choose to withdraw from participation at any time.

It’s voluntary, of course, but most students and faculty I think would do it. I wish we could all get vaccinated before we do this, to be honest.””

— Rachel Pearl, a lecturer from CSUN's cinema and television arts department

Pearl said she has a few classes that meet on campus right now. She said she supports the testing as a way to make students and faculty safer.

Some staff and faculty of the CSU system are apprehensive about returning to campus in the fall. Students are concerned as well.

David Blumenkrantz, a professor from CSUN’s journalism department, said that his students were surveyed about coming to campus to use lab spaces for his magazine journalism class. He said that most students prefer to work virtually throughout the semester and only a few are willing to come to campus if needed.

Blumenkrantz said that he prefers not to teach on campus this semester.

“Safety precautions notwithstanding, it appears from most reputable media accounts, and from the scientific community, that the virus is far from being contained, and it’s not possible to know what others are doing when they are off-campus,” Blumenkrantz said. “With a family, and young children at home, I can’t take that risk yet.”

For more information, please visit CSUN’s Human Resources page regarding employee testing.