BYU’s plan to tackle the spread of COVID-19 on campus is taking a foul-smelling turn: wastewater testing.
BYU is currently in the process of implementing sampling in on-campus housing buildings, but spokeswoman Carri Jenkins did not specify a timeline for when testing will start.
“This testing allows us to identify hot spots. This would allow us to take certain actions, which may include focused, risk-based testing,” Jenkins said.
Is BYU’s plan unique?
Wastewater testing is a cost-effective, proactive approach to tracking the spread of the coronavirus, and universities across the country are quickly adopting it as campuses reopen.
Success stories include the University of Arizona, which says it prevented a large outbreak after two asymptomatic individuals were identified during targeted testing of 311 people after a wastewater sample of a dorm came back positive. Utah State University also quarantined 287 students in their dorms last week after elevated COVID-19 levels were found in wastewater.