“Exit testing” for COVID is not required at WMU

Testing students for COVID before they leave campus and return to their communities is one way of controlling the spread of the virus. WMU is leaving it up to students.

Western Michigan University is encouraging its student population to get tested for COVID-19 before they leave campus for Thanksgiving break – but they are not requiring it.

The practice is called “exit testing” and it’s one method of ensuring infected students don’t spark an outbreak when they return to their home communities for the holidays.

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The university will expand its testing capacity in the days leading up to the end of classes, and officials are hoping students will take advantage of the service.

“We’re strongly urging testing, and that’s why we created this special event [on November 18 and 19] to make it easier on the cusp of the holiday,” said WMU spokesperson Paula Davis in an interview with WMUK.

But the tests will not be mandatory.

“That’s not an approach that is recommended by the CDC, is not recommended by our local health department and so it’s not been Western’s approach,” said Davis.

WMU has had nearly 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since students began returning to campus in August. However, the university has seemed to get its case numbers down to a manageable level over the past few weeks. At one point in September, WMU was averaging more than 30 new cases per day. As of last week that number was down to 18.

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