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Markedly heterogeneous COVID-19 testing plans among US colleges and universities

Booeshaghi, A. Sina and Tan, Fayth and Renton, Benjamin and Berger, Zackary and Pachter, Lior (2020) Markedly heterogeneous COVID-19 testing plans among US colleges and universities. . (Unpublished)

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As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in the United States, colleges that have invited students back for the fall are finalizing mitigation plans to lessen the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Even though students have largely been away from campuses over the summer, several outbreaks associated with colleges have already occurred, foreshadowing the scale of infection that could result from hundreds of thousands of students returning to college towns and cities. While many institutions have released return-to-campus plans designed to reduce viral spread and to rapidly identify outbreaks should they occur, in many cases communications by college administrators have been opaque. To contribute to an evaluation of university preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic, we assessed a crucial element: COVID-19 on-campus testing. We examined testing plans at more than 500 colleges and universities throughout the US, and collated statistics, as well as narratives from publicly facing websites. We discovered a highly variable and muddled state of COVID-19 testing plans among US institutions of higher education that has been shaped by discrepancies between scientific studies and federal guidelines. We highlight cases of divergence between university testing plans and public health best practices, as well as potential bioethical issues.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemData/Code ItemData/Code
Booeshaghi, A. Sina0000-0002-6442-4502
Tan, Fayth0000-0002-2160-5311
Berger, Zackary0000-0002-5871-0342
Pachter, Lior0000-0002-9164-6231
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license. Posted August 11, 2020. The authors have declared no competing interest. No external funding was received in support of this project. Author Declarations: I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained. Yes. The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below: This project did not require IRB approval. All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived. Yes. I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance). Yes. I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable. Yes. Data Availability: The database of college and university testing plans is available as a Google Sheet. The code to generate all of the figures and results in the manuscript can be found on Github.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200824-142429940
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Official Citation:Markedly heterogeneous COVID-19 testing plans among US colleges and universities. A. Sina Booeshaghi, Fayth Hui Tan, Benjamin Renton, Zackary Berger, Lior Pachter. medRxiv 2020.08.09.20171223; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105083
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Aug 2020 22:36
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:39

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