In the analytical model used by the researchers, they determined that screening every two days using a rapid test, coupled with strict behavioral measures like mandatory indoor masks and frequent hand washing is the best bet to “maintain a controllable number of COVID-19 infections and permit the safe return of students to campus.”
The model was based on a hypothetical group of 5,000 students in which 10 test positive for COVID-19 and looked at ways to best minimize the infections while putting as low a financial strain as possible on the institutions, which is how they arrived at the frequent testing recommendation.
Of course, this plan also poses some potential challenges for campuses across the country. And it does require that students comply with the plans and practices.
“There are many uncertainties, including the logistics of deployment; the ease and comfort of sample collection; and the accuracy, scalability, turnaround time, and cost of test kits,” the study notes.
The good news is that the researchers say that they do “believe that there is a safe way for students to return to college in fall 2020.”