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UC San Diego outfits campus vending machines with COVID testing kits

The University of California San Diego has added another COVID testing option for its campus community in the form of new on-campus vending machines stocked with COVID-19 test kits. The initiative will see UC San Diego students use their campus card to access the self-administered COVID tests.

According to a report from Reuters, the university has already deployed 11 of the vending machines with a further nine machines to be added in the coming weeks. The vending machines are thought to be the first of their kind introduced on a US college campus.

The COVID test kits are offered free of charge with a swipe of a university ID card. Students swab their own nostrils and deposit the sample for collection and analysis by one of the university’s on-campus laboratories for results within 24 hours.

The vending machine initiative is designed to help underpin the regular screening that the UC San Diego campus community and student body is expected to comply with.

The university’s 10,000 on-campus residential students are required to be tested at least once each week. Prior to the start of this spring semester, testing was only required once every two weeks.

In addition to the vending machines, the university is still providing COVID testing on campus at a number of both walk-up and drive-through sites. A rough estimate by UC San Diego officials is that the machines have dispensed thousands of tests each day since launch.

UC San Diego is offering fewer than 10% of its winter undergraduate courses in person, and is using outdoor classrooms that follow COVID safety restrictions in effect for educational programs in San Diego County. All other undergraduate courses are being conducted remotely.

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