To the Case Western Reserve Community:
We are pleased to announce that the university will significantly expand its COVID-19 testing program through a partnership with a new vendor, Vault Health.
The New York company’s saliva-based tests have been used by several dozen universities, including Vanderbilt, Purdue and Penn State—as well as entities such as JetBlue, the National Hockey League and the state of Wyoming.
Given the recent surge of cases in Ohio and around the country—along with the need for student exit tests before Thanksgiving—our teams have been evaluating options to increase testing for several weeks.
After discussions with campuses that have used Vault’s testing program, we determined it was our best screening option for the coming weeks. University Health Services will continue to use nasal tests from local hospitals for symptomatic or exposed individuals.
Vault Health will give us the ability to test students more frequently, and to provide the option to faculty and staff to participate in this screening program.
As we expand testing with this new partner, we also must acknowledge the important role Cleveland Clinic continues to play in our testing protocol. The hospital’s ability to provide and quickly process nearly 2,700 tests as students arrived in August allowed the university to open as planned; similarly, the university also has used the hospital for all asymptomatic tests since classes began.
Based on lessons learned since testing began in August, we will use next week (Oct. 26-30) as a pilot for our new vendor and process. We will start with a smaller number of students, and then make testing available to faculty and staff after addressing any initial operational issues.
In that context, we ask for students’ patience with new systems for scheduling tests and receiving results. In addition, we hope faculty and staff will be flexible should test administration delays make students arrive late for classes or other obligations. Their participation in this pilot week not only helps keep the campus healthier, but also may improve your own testing experiences.
The first group of students to be tested will receive emails this weekend. We appreciate that they and many of you will have questions about the new process, and we ask for your understanding as we take the time to make sure the answers we provide are as accurate as possible based on this week’s experience. We will continue to provide additional information to the campus community as we implement our new, expanded testing protocol.
Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President