CSUN offers free at-home COVID-19 testing for students returning to campus


L.A. County

Free at-home testing kits will be available to both students and faculty retuning to in-person classes this spring.

Shannon Carter, Assistant News Editor

CSUN will offer free COVID-19 testing for students taking classes, labs or internships on, according to an email from the Klotz Student Health Center.

“As a result of the December and January COVID-19 surge in California, the Chancellor’s Office, the L.A. County Department of Public Health, and our campus pandemic response leaders encouraged the implementation of a COVID-19 testing option to be available for employees and for students who are approved to be on campus for work, exempted classes, or essential activities” said Dr. Linda Reid Chassiakos, the director and medical chief of staff at the Klotz Student Health Center.

As a result, CSUN implemented a new coronavirus screening program for employees on Jan. 28 and extended the option to students who are enrolled in a course section that will have limited in-person meetings for the spring semester.

Students who are approved to come on campus for in-person instruction will be able to get tested once a month and can withdraw from testing at any time. According to the email, some students “in pre-approved field experiences on and off campus” will be able to request weekly testing.

Testing is not required but is encouraged, according to the email.

“Although testing is voluntary, the University administration strongly encourages participation in this surveillance testing program to help our campus reduce the incidence and spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the email stated.

Students who are interested are encouraged to complete a voluntary registration form by Monday to be considered for the first round of testing. After signing up, the student will be issued a redemption code for a self-testing swab kit, which will be mailed directly to the student’s home.

The COVID-19 at-home testing kit from Fulgent Genetics checks for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease. Participants can check their confidential results on Fulgent’s portal within 48 hours after the sample is received by the lab.

CSUN and the Klotz Student Health Center will not have access to these test results unless the student authorizes the university to receive them or the student reports the results directly to the health center.

Students who have in-person classes or internships can sign up for voluntary monthly COVID-19 testing, according to an email from the Klotz Student Health Center. The at-home testing kits are free of charge and results will be confidential. (Chris Torres)

Routine testing isn’t a new occurrence for some CSUN students.

The 300 students living in campus housing are required to undergo mandatory testing that began in January. Prior to moving into housing, students signed a Spring 2021 Resident Community Living Agreement COVID-19 Addendum, which mandates random testing of 50% of residents every two weeks to identify any infections, exposures and trends for possible asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19.

Chassiakos said that students participating in university athletics are required to be tested once a week, which follows the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines for athletes in high risk competitive sports.

Now, the testing practice has extended to students living off-campus who may be required to engage in on-campus activities and wish to be tested. While the email from the student health center didn’t explain why testing is optional for students coming to campus for limited in-person classes, according to Vice President for Student Affairs William Watkins, the CSU policy on immunizations would need to be revised in order to require all students on a campus to be either screened or vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus.

As of Feb.1, there have been 91 reported cases among students and six reported cases from students that resulted from on-campus exposure. These cases are reported to CSUN by students or public health officials. However, most of this data is dependent on students actually reporting their health status to the university, and could be higher than reported.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in L.A. County begin to decline and vaccine shortages are starting to become an issue, CSUN is committed to returning some students back to campus soon. CSUN President Erika D. Beck notified the campus community that limited in-person classes would resume for some class sections beginning Feb. 15.

Jeff Noblitt, the associate vice president of marketing and communications, said that as of Feb. 12, CSUN has conditionally approved 241 class sections to offer some on-campus meetings this semester. Noblitt said that most of the classes are hybrids and include “significant virtual components.” In addition, he said that on-campus classes are being approved by Academic Affairs on an ongoing basis and that 91 course sections will start to meet on campus next week.

“We anticipate that many sections will be approved to begin on-campus meetings in mid-February and that others may be approved later in the month or semester,” Noblitt said.

Students are requested to check with their instructor if they are enrolled in any class that has scheduled on-campus meetings and should confirm when their specific section will meet.

These are the classes that are tentatively scheduled to conduct limited in-person meetings. The list has been updated as of Jan. 29:

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To learn more about COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, please visit the CSUN as One Health and Safety page.