COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan


August 28, 2020

Dear students, faculty, staff, and parents,

We write with an important update on Reed’s testing strategy to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. We are pleased to announce a significant expansion of our testing program—particularly for students living in residence halls. We have also increased the number of providers we are working with in order to expedite the turnaround time for results.

Our testing strategy has the following goals: to conduct surveillance testing to identify asymptomatic cases, to determine whether the virus is spreading on campus, and to quickly identify whether symptomatic individuals or those who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive have contracted the virus.

Surveillance Testing

Surveillance testing for students and staff living on campus

All students and staff living on campus will now be required to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. The test conducted will be a PCR saliva test. Later today, an email about testing time slots will be sent to all students and staff living on campus. To allow the college sufficient time to initiate the new testing strategy and to account for the Labor Day holiday, students and staff living on campus will be tested only once during the weeks of August 31 and September 7. They will be tested twice a week starting September 14. Please note: because this testing strategy involves conducting ~1,400 tests per week, only those who test positive will be notified of their test results.

Surveillance testing for faculty, staff, and students living off campus

Once the surveillance testing program is in place for students and staff living on campus, the college will begin surveillance testing for students, faculty, and staff who live off campus and who will access campus this fall. Testing for off-campus students, faculty, and staff will begin the week of September 14.

As part of this strategy, we will conduct 150–250 surveillance tests per week. Community members identified to be tested through this strategy will part of the following populations:

  • Custodial, maintenance, and residence life staff working in residence halls
  • Health & Counseling Center staff
  • Bon Appétit staff
  • Faculty and staff teaching in-person classes
  • Any community members working with large groups
  • Students living off campus and taking in-person classes
  • Faculty and staff working on campus who self-identify as having an increased risk of contracting COVID-19

Not all of these populations will be tested weekly. Also, it is important to note that it is possible that a student, faculty member, or staff member living off campus who accesses campus in the fall may not be asked to participate in a surveillance test.

Those who are selected for surveillance testing will receive detailed instructions that will include information about scheduling and location.

Surveillance testing for employees who worked on campus to support August arrival on campus

All employees who worked on campus and interacted with students in support of students’ arrival on campus should be retested on September 1, between 9 a.m. and noon, on the Gray Campus Center (GCC) patio. Employees are not required to sign up for this surveillance test. The test will be a PCR saliva test. Important: do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes before your saliva test, and remember to bring your Reed ID.

Symptomatic and Close-Contact Testing

Symptomatic and close-contact testing for students

Because Reed’s Health & Counseling Center (HCC) serves as the main medical provider for most students, testing for students with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and students who have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 is currently being administered by the HCC. For symptomatic and close-contact testing, PCR swab tests are being used. These tests are provided by LabCorp, a laboratory with whom Reed has a long relationship and where test kits have just become available to us. It is likely that we will supplement these tests with rapid tests performed using on-site machines from Abbott Labs when they arrive (promised in September).

Symptomatic and close-contact testing for faculty and staff

Because symptomatic and close-contact testing is considered to be diagnostic testing, faculty and staff who are symptomatic or have been identified as having had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 will be directed to their medical providers for testing.

If you have questions, please send an email to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group at


COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group


COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group

Kathy Oleson, Dean of the Faculty & Professor of Psychology
Hugh Porter, Vice President for College Relations & Planning

Cindy Anderson, Interim Dean of Students
Lorraine Arvin, Vice President and Treasurer
Gary Granger, Director of Community Safety
Mandy Heaton, Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Karnell McConnell-Black, Vice President for Student Life
Suzy Renn, Professor of Biology
Timmie Rochon, Medical Services Director
April Sams, Director of Risk Management & Environmental Health and Safety