On-campus COVID-19 testing limited to students; faculty to test elsewhere

Students are waiting for their test in front of the COVID-19 Test Tent at the Fountain Mall. Chase Li | Photographer

By Meredith Pratt | Staff Writer

In order to actively combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Baylor Health Center updated its services to include a respiratory clinic and provide rapid COVID-19 testing. The services, however, are limited to students, leaving faculty to turn elsewhere for testing.

Baylor faculty and staff may only be tested on campus if they are selected to be a part of the university’s randomized surveillance testing.

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Consulting Michelle Huse said this policy is to ensure that Baylor students get the care they need from the on-campus health clinic.

“We have some limited opportunities for faculty and staff to be tested at the health center, but we are encouraging faculty and staff to utilize their primary care physician to seek out medical advice and any potential recommendations for COVID-19 testing,” Huse said. “The university is reserving as much of the Health Center resources for student care and student symptomatic testing.”

The Baylor HR website does have a list of resources available for faculty and staff, including virtual healthcare for non-emergency medical or behavioral health needs through MDLIVE.

MDLIVE has provided faculty and staff with step-by-step information on what to do if they suspect they have COVID-19. MDLIVE also has an app that can be downloaded for more information on its services.

“If you or your qualified dependents have symptoms of the coronavirus, MDLIVE board-certified doctors are here to help 24/7,” the website said. “Your MDLIVE doctor will go through your symptoms, recommend a treatment, and can even send a prescription to your nearest pharmacy if you need one.”

Like students, Baylor faculty and staff were required to take a COVID-19 test and receive a negative result before returning to campus.

Daniel Ogden, J.D., temporary full-time lecturer in international relations and international business, said that he has only tested for COVID-19 using the preliminary test kits.

“As a Baylor faculty member, I have not been asked to have any additional COVID-19 testing done besides the test that all faculty members had to have performed prior to the fall semester,” Ogden said.

With his background in law, Ogden said he saw no reason why the university would have to provide additional tests on campus for faculty and staff.

“There is no legal reason why Baylor could not require faculty to have additional tests, nor is there any legal basis for any requirement for Baylor to choose to do additional testing for faculty members,” Ogden said.

Ogden said he believes the faculty policy for testing off campus is in place so that the health center can focus their resources on students.

“My understanding is that the Student Health Center is designed for students to use and that to prevent it from being overwhelmed, Baylor is encouraging faculty members to have testing done by their own primary care physicians,” Ogden said. “I have not had any additional testing done per my choice.”