Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development
December 16, 2020Missouri colleges and universities utilize BinaxNOW tests to help stop the spread of COVID-19
More than 77,200 antigen tests distributed to college campus
Twenty-eight Missouri public and private colleges and universities are utilizing BinaxNOW antigen COVID-19 tests to help stop the spread of COVID-19 on their campuses. Shipments totaling 77,240 tests were shipped throughout the months of November and early December. Several institutions began using the tests prior to Thanksgiving, helping students keep their families safe for the holiday.
The antigen tests are rapid response – giving students, faculty, and staff an immediate result to kick off their isolation plan. They are also offered at no charge, and are self-administered with a medical professional’s supervision.
“Keeping students and staff healthy is top priority for our institutions,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “We’ve seen that both cost and time can be barriers to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are thankful these antigen tests are free and fast. They are providing students the answers they need to keep their friends, peers, and families safe.”
Some Missouri institutions are using the tests to help students without medical insurance, and to test asymptomatic students. Institutions like the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg were able to help students know quickly that they were positive for COVID-19 just before heading home for Thanksgiving. A student thought he had allergies, but because of the rapid response test, he found out he was positive for COVID-19. This student began isolating instead of traveling home, potentially spreading the virus to loved ones.
The University of Central Missouri began testing students en masse last week before they headed home for the holiday break. The school issued a message to students on Dec. 4 explaining the free tests and the process for receiving one and what would happen depending on the results.
“The test is available to both symptomatic and asymptomatic students, and results are available the same day. Unlike the deep nasal-pharangeal swab, this rapid test uses a minimally invasive swab of the lower nostril,” the message said.
All institutions receiving the tests are required to complete training with the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) before beginning to administer BinaxNOW antigen tests. Institutions are required to submit test results to DHSS within 24 hours of administering the test.
“The BinaxNow test helps to identify positive COVID-19 cases early, thereby allowing earlier mitigation of the spread of the virus. We want our students at Westminster College to be healthy and happy, and this test allows us to intervene early and help them be successful,” said Kim Lorentz, director of health sciences at Westminister College.
MDHEWD’s Assistant Commissioner for Postsecondary Policy, Dr. Mara Woody, and her team have been working closely with the institutions to ensure the procedures and processes of receiving tests and putting them to use is a success.
“We are processing applications to get shipments out the door quickly, and in some cases within the same day,” said Dr. Woody. “We know these tests are critical to the health of students, faculty, and staff, and are committed to helping campuses in any way we can.”
Interested institutions that have not already received a shipment of BinaxNOW tests from the state may still be able to request tests. The antigen tests have about a six-month expiration.
Missouri’s two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Harris-Stowe State University and Lincoln University, received antigen tests directly from the federal government. The tests the State of Missouri received from the federal government that are allocated to higher education are distributed through the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development in partnership with the Office of Administration and the DHSS.
Institutions that have been shipped BinaxNOW tests from the State of Missouri include:
Central Methodist University
College of the Ozarks
Missouri Southern State University
Missouri State University
Missouri State University - West Plains
Missouri University of Science & Technology
Missouri Valley College
Missouri Western State University
Northwest Missouri State University
Ozark Christian College
Saint Louis University
Southeast Missouri State University
Southwest Baptist University
Three Rivers College
Truman State University
University of Central Missouri
University of Missouri - Kansas City
University of Missouri - St. Louis
William Jewell College
William Woods University
About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.