Students Informed of Additional Testing and Flu Shot Recommendations

As+of+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+6%2C+Rose+Hill+has+reported+16+cases+of+COVID-19+in+the+last+14+days.+%28Mackenzie+Cranna%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29

As of Tuesday, Oct. 6, Rose Hill has reported 16 cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days. (Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Sarah Huffman, News Editor

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, Marco Valera, vice president for Administration and COVID-19 coordinator, sent an email to the Fordham community stating that there will be two more rounds of mandatory COVID-19 testing. Maureen Keown, director of University Health Services (UHS), provided more details about the university’s testing guidelines for the rest of the semester two days later. 

“Our thanks to everyone for complying with the second round of testing. As the landscape on campus and outside of campus continues to evolve, we have updated our testing plans,” said Keown. 

All members of the community on campus must be tested once a month for the remainder of the semester. The third mandatory test must be completed by Friday, Oct. 23, and the fourth mandatory test must be completed by Friday, Nov. 20, according to the email. 

Bob Howe, assistant vice president for Communications, said the on-campus testing tent cannot guarantee they will be able to accommodate walk ins for the remainder of the semester. He said it is not only a matter of convenience, but of ensuring proper social distancing and community safety.

“We try not to turn anyone away, but sometimes we’re forced to do so if students turn up unannounced and unscheduled and the medical staff is too busy to accommodate them,” said Howe.

Students who choose to get tested off campus are required to upload a copy of their negative results to the Fordham Student Health Portal.

Howe said continued mandatory testing will replace surveillance testing, which had previously been the testing plan.

“We adapt the testing plan—and all elements of the University’s COVID-19 response—as conditions on campus and in the city change,” said Howe. “As you know, cases in New York state, and the city in particular, are on an upward trend right now. We hope to avoid, or greatly minimize, that upward trend in the University community.”

According to the email, on-demand testing can be accommodated for people who are high risk on a case-by-case basis. Students should email University Health Services to request a test. Students who are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should call UHS to schedule a diagnostic test.  

The university will once again require all members of the campus community to be tested prior to arrival on campus for the spring semester, according to Keown’s email. 

Keown also recommended that everyone receive a flu vaccine this year to reduce the burden of respiratory illnesses and protect vulnerable populations, the health care system and other infrastructure. 

“A flu vaccine may also provide several individual health benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu, reducing the severity of your illness if you do get the flu and reducing your risk of a flu-associated hospitalization,” said Keown. Students can call UHS to schedule an appointment to receive the flu vaccine on campus.

Valera sent a Fordham Forward Five Things email on Tuesday, Oct. 6 reiterating Keown’s recommendation that members of the campus community get a flu vaccine this year. 

Valera’s email also said  Fordham strongly recommends that all members of the university community download the “COVID Alert NY” contact tracing app.“COVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. You will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19,” according to New York state’s website

If an employee develops signs of COVID-19 while at work, they may be able to be tested before going home, according to the email. 

As of Tuesday, Oct. 6, there have been 16 cases of COVID-19 reported in the last 14 days on the Rose Hill campus, according to Fordham’s COVID-19 testing data dashboard