By Chong Xin Wei and Shiya Watanabe
Updated: 11:58 PM, Dec 7
NTU is offering free Covid-19 swab testing to all Hall residents during the first two weeks of the upcoming semester, the President’s Office announced in an email to students on Monday (Dec 7).
The tests will be conducted on campus on weekdays from Jan 4 to 15 next year, from 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 4pm.
New and returning Hall residents may book a test on this website, which is open from Dec 7 to 18, as long as they are not exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms or serving a quarantine order, stay-home notice or leave of absence, said the email.
Students who are unable to make it on the pre-booked date may request another time slot depending on availability, or arrange for a swab test at external clinics at their own cost, the school added.
“Hall residents are strongly encouraged to undertake the swab test. This is part of the Government’s efforts to expand the Covid-19 testing regime to selected community groups,” deputy president and provost Ling San and senior vice president of administration Tan Aik Na wrote in the email.
The Covid-19 tests will use Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) — a nasal swab from the lower part of the nose. Residents who test ART-positive will require a separate Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test to confirm if they are infected with Covid-19.
Students who test positive may be required to self-isolate for one to two days and minimise exposure to others while waiting for the results of the second test.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases will be conveyed via ambulance to an appropriate care facility and receive medical treatment under NTU’s insurance scheme for students, said the email.
It added that any full-time student who needs a temporary place to stay while they self-isolate will be allowed to stay at Graduate Hall 1 for free, but will not be provided services, such as catered food or laundry. Students may order meals from food delivery services.
“The testing of all Hall residents would allow us to better monitor the prevalence of Covid-19 and contain any asymptomatic cases in the community quickly,” the President’s Office wrote.
“This is in view of the communal living environment that may pose increased risk of community transmission.”
Some students were eager to receive the swab test and felt it was crucial to protecting the health and safety of Hall residents.
Final-year student Veatrice Lee, 22, said: “It’s important that people get checked, if not, one active case (within Hall) would mean a widespread Covid outbreak because there are so many shared spaces in Hall.”
“I would do the test. It’s free, and it’s a form of self-assurance that you are safe (from Covid),” the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) student added.
First-year medicine student Isaac Chung, 20 said: “I will do the swab test. Although social distancing measures have been put in place, the number of people we come into contact with when commuting is still high.
“It is better to be safe than sorry.”
However, Annabelle Chan, another student from MAE, said she did not feel the need for the test because Covid-19 safe-distancing measures were already in place in NTU.
Similarly, Te Hui Ley from Hall 16 is not signing up for the swab tests.
“I will not do it because I heard it is painful,” the 19-year-old said.
“I also don’t think it is very important for students to do it as there hasn’t been many locally transmitted cases recently,” the School of Humanities and Social Sciences student added.
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