Cal State Fullerton’s Student Wellness Center began offering free COVID-19 testing on Oct. 12 to symptomatic students or students exposed to the virus.
In order for students to receive testing, they must call the center and make an appointment. Once a health provider determines that the testing is necessary, a student can be tested on campus on weekdays from 1-4 p.m.
Kerri Boyd Crooks, the associate director of Health Services, said in an email to the Daily Titan that the university is only offering testing to students and not staff, faculty or local residents.
Boyd said that students have been utilizing the testing offered.
Dr. Richard Boucher, the chief staff physician of Health Services, said that testing is located at two outdoor fenced-off areas on the center’s southwest side.
Boucher said the center uses nasal testing in which a swab with a soft tip is inserted into the nostril. The center sends the test to a lab, and results typically return in three days. Students can access their results online in their health center portal.
If a test comes back positive, the case is reported to the public health department.
Each test costs the university around $35, but Boucher said there is no charge to students, and that testing is not a part of a student's health fee.
Boucher said that the only CSUF staff who receive free testing are athletic trainers, supporting staff and coaches who work with college athletes. He said the NCAA ruled that all athletes must be tested, which required CSUF to offer it in some form.
Boucher said there are a number of benefits to the university offering free testing to students, including alleviating anxiety to those exposed to the virus and allowing students to work when their employer asks them to be tested.
“I think overall it’s really to help the students,” Boucher said. “Is it the flu or is it a strep throat or is it COVID-19?”
Boucher said that students should not get tested just because they are curious and that is why a physician or nurse practitioner will determine whether testing is warranted before scheduling an appointment. Boucher said he anticipates calls from students considering testing as more students become aware of the testing offered.
Savannah Perrazas, a fourth-year communications student at CSUF, said it is important for the university to offer free testing because some students cannot easily access testing in their area.
“They have some peace of mind that they have somewhere where they can go to where they can actually receive testing,” she said.
Perrazas said that she will most likely use the testing offered by the university if she needs to. She added that the university should also offer testing to staff and faculty as well as local residents, but Boucher said that he doubts the health center will offer testing to non-CSUF related people in the future.
The official on campus case count since the start of the semester has reached 10 as of Sunday. This includes students, staff and faculty who either live in student housing or attend in-person classes, work or activities on campus.