UM ends mandatory COVID-19 testing protocol

Two years since it was first implemented, the mandatory UScreen COVID-19 testing protocol has ended.

According to a memo posted by the university on Thursday, March 31, the testing has been discontinued as a result of “the dramatic decline in cases and high rate of vaccination across our campuses.”

The end of the mandatory requirement became effective on Friday, April 1 at the Coral Gables and Marine campuses.

“I do feel safe and I do feel like the pandemic is pretty much over,” said Monica Gupta, a sophomore studying biochemistry on the pre-med track. “Especially when they stopped the mask mandate here and pretty much everywhere in Miami. I don’t even hear about COVID in the news as often.”

Testing will be required for students and employees who experience COVID-19 symptoms. However, it will take place at new testing locations and appointments are encouraged.

Anyone showcasing symptoms, according to the memo sent out by UM, should self-isolate and call the COVID-19 hotline at 305-243-ONE-U to make an appointment. Students can also make appointments through their MyUHealthChart portal.

For students, testing appointments and walk-ins will take place at Student Health Service.

For employees, they can test at the McKnight Healthy ‘Canes Clinic on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses, the PAC Healthy ‘Canes Clinic at the Medical campus, or any local pharmacy or UHealthClinic. Employees can upload these test results to an online portal.

“I got my last vaccination in January, so I feel pretty comfortable with it,” said Morgan Champey, a second-year student studying broadcast journalism. “I think it might be a good idea to still do COVID testing coming to and back from semesters, but I think it is also a good idea for the testing to stop at least for now.”

According to the UM COVID-19 Dashboard, the percentage of student vaccinations across all campuses stands at 86.8% and the percentage of employee vaccinations is at 94.7%.

However, according to the university’s memo, surveillance testing may resume should there be another spike in infection rates.

“We will continue to communicate any changes to guidance or campus protocols and we appreciate your understanding, flexibility and commitment to the wellbeing of all ’Canes,” the university stated in its announcement.

The memo concluded with a message of gratitude to the UScreen employees for their efforts over the last two years.

“On behalf of the entire University community, we offer our sincere thanks to all members of the UScreen team for their important work and dedication over the past nearly two years to help safeguard the health and wellness of our University of Miami community.”