The university offers SARS-CoV-2 PCR saliva testing (for the active virus that leads to COVID-19) to employees and students who are working and learning on campus. So far, nearly 25,000 people have been tested, many of them multiple times. In order to supply the university’s testing locations with enough testing materials to meet the ongoing need, the test kits are being assembled en masse by volunteers during shifts at Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety (REHS) on Livingston Campus in Piscataway, New Jersey. Then, Rutgers officials distribute the ready-to-use kits to designated testing sites throughout the entire university.
More than 100 students already have volunteered to help assemble the test kits through the Rutgers Global Health Institute Student Council’s outreach efforts. Interested volunteers can sign up online.
Watch student volunteers assembling the test kits in this time-lapse video:
Each test kit is a sealed plastic bag that includes the supplies needed to conduct a single saliva test, including a QR code that the person being tested would scan with a smartphone to securely register. The university’s Testing Protocol Action Group manages the Rutgers COVID-19 testing strategy, informed by guidance put forth by the New Jersey Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit Rutgers’ official COVID-19 information center to learn more about the university’s COVID-19 testing strategy.
Through last December, the volunteer effort to assemble test kits was being led Jack Hemphill, co-president of the Rutgers Global Health Institute Student Council and a staff member in the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, and Alejandro (Alex) Ruiz, university safety officer and associate director of REHS. The operation has grown considerably, and now it is being coordinated by Rutgers Student and Occupational Health and REHS in collaboration with TPAG, the student council, and university partners.
Volunteer to Support Rutgers’ COVID-19 Testing Efforts
More volunteers are needed to assemble testing kits on an ongoing basis at the REHS building in Piscataway.