Purdue to randomly test students for COVID-19 when classes resume Monday in West Lafayette


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WANE) – Purdue University announced Friday an elaborate plan to limit the spread of COVID-19 at its main campus in West Lafayette.

Fall classes begin Monday, August 24 for the nearly 40,000 students enrolled at Purdue. All students were required to have a negative test result prior to arrival on campus. Anyone who tested positive is required to have documentation that they have completed a 10-day isolation and are cleared to come to campus.

Beginning Monday a testing program will get underway and a dashboard of testing results will be available on the Protect Purdue website.

The plans include the following elements:

  • Required random testing throughout the semester of all undergraduate, graduate and professional program students.
  • Required weekly testing of all on-campus employees in categories designated as critical to the continuity of core university operations, such as police, fire, medical, utility operators, and others.
    • Required pre-employment testing of all new on-campus employees or contractors in these designated categories.
  • Required random testing throughout the semester of all other employees who are working 100% of their time on-campus.
  • Continued open testing for faculty, staff and students with or without symptoms at no cost.
  • Utilization of contact tracers and a proximity monitoring system to identify potential outbreaks and hot spots to guide additional testing on an as-needed basis.

“Ongoing surveillance sampling and testing is a critical step in our Protect Purdue Plan to monitor for potential infection both on and off campus,” said Dr. Esteban Ramirez, medical director for the Protect Purdue Health Center. “We have established what we believe to be a comprehensive testing plan to reduce the potential for spread of COVID-19 and help ensure that the university can safely continue in its missions of education, research and engagement.”

All who need to be tested through the ongoing surveillance program will be notified by email, will be given specific instructions for where they can be tested, and will have 48 hours to comply. Sampling will be done via a saliva-based method.

Ramirez said the goal is to test approximately 10% of the campus each week. He also stressed that being identified for random surveillance testing does not mean that an individual has been exposed to the virus or is suspected of being positive. Rather, the individual has been chosen at random for the test, a proven strategy for monitoring the health of the community.

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