American University is leading a new initiative to open a mobile COVID-19 testing laboratory in partnership with the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Gallaudet University, Catholic University, and Marymount University.
The mobile lab, which will be based at Gallaudet University, will conduct more than 50,000 tests every week, starting the first week of March for students. Faculty and staff will be tested a week later.
The saliva-based test was developed in cooperation with the University of Illinois’ innovative and affordable COVID testing system, according to a statement from American University.
The move is part of DC universities’ efforts to provide a full and safe return to campuses.
“Robust COVID-19 testing is essential to the health and safety of the American University community and the entire DC region. Bringing together universities, K-12 schools, and community organizations to provide testing will increase knowledge about the virus, help prevent further community spread, and advance in-person activity,” Sylvia Burwell, President of American University, said in the statement.
“By utilizing the diverse expertise of the collaborating institutions, we can address critical public health needs and support the communities where we live, work, and learn.”
Burwell served as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2014–2017.
As we prepare to welcome our students back and ramp up in-person activities on campus, we’re proud that @AmericanU is spearheading a partnership with other local universities and schools to expand COVID-19 testing across the DMV: https://t.co/sUehLuRsm5
— Sylvia M. Burwell (@SylviaBurwell) February 25, 2021
Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life at American University, was also quoted in the statement as saying “I miss the heartbeat of the campus where I have the opportunity to run into students and see how they’re doing and to engage them because I’m first and foremost an educator. I miss the opportunities to interact with my colleagues to learn from them and for us to learn together. And I miss this notion of what it means to be in the community and have community in this way.”
The Baltimore City School System is also expected to join the initiative and the consortium hopes to include more partners.