Temple to open campus COVID-19 testing center in former apparel store

The university will test students, faculty and staff who are symptomatic and those who are asymptomatic but at high risk of infection.

The space that formerly housed the Under Armour Sideline Shop on Cecil B. Moore near Park will be converted into a COVID-19 testing center in the fall. | COLIN EVANS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University will open and operate a COVID-19 testing center at the former Under Armour Sideline Shop in Morgan Hall on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near Park as the university prepares to bring students back on campus for the fall semester, said Mark Denys, the director of Student Health Services. 

All students, faculty and staff displaying symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, shortness of breath and body aches, are encouraged to be tested and will be given priority testing. The university will also priority test asymptomatic students and employees who are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, including Campus Safety Services workers, student-athletes and employees working in clinical settings.

Expected to open in August, the center will aim to test 300 students a week with tests that provide results in 15 minutes, Denys said. The university also can conduct an additional 1,000 tests a week to be sent to Temple University Health System or other testing centers and can provide results in 24 hours. 

As soon as a student tests positive, they will be monitored by the university’s own contact tracing system, a system to track interactions of potential infections, which Denys estimates will be staffed by 15 to 20 employees. Students will be required to self-isolate for at least 10 days after their symptoms begin and three days after their fever subsides, Denys said. 

“We’re really going to be able to isolate people very quickly and quarantine those who are close contacts of any positive case in a very quick and rapid manner,” Denys said.

The university’s capacity to test asymptomatic students will depend on how many tests they give symptomatic students, Denys added.

At the University of Pennsylvania, all students will be tested for COVID-19 when they return to campus in the fall, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

Temple enrolled 39,088 students last academic year and 6,924 full-time employees in Fall 2019, according to the Temple University Fact Book 2019-2020

The testing center news comes as Temple continues to develop and release plans for how the university will operate in the fall semester amid a global pandemic. The university has already released guidance on how residence halls and dining halls will operate and is expected to release more detailed information on academics in the weeks to come.

As of Thursday, Pennsylvania reported 83,770 confirmed cases and 6,557 deaths due to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Philadelphia has reported approximately 100 new cases a day in the past week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In April, Nike replaced Under Armour as the university’s official athletic sponsor.

Temple decided to open the center to have a dedicated testing site that is isolated from the normal operations of Student Health Services on Broad Street near Carlisle, Denys said. 

While he did not rule out the center potentially being open to members of the public during the evenings, Denys said the center will “always be primarily for students.”

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