Nationwide, few companies are finding themselves actively testing students for COVID-19. When it comes to Arkansas, AFMC is on the front lines. We serve as a contractor to the Arkansas Department of Health. We provide trained staff for COVID-19 testing in K-12 and at colleges and universities. Thousands of students have participated in this contactless event.
When a student arrives for testing, they are greeted by friendly staff and nurses who are reassuring this test is nothing to fear. “We’ve had a lot of tears,” says AnnaMarie Sullivan, one of the onsite administrators. “A lot of these students are freshmen. It is their first time away from their parents, they are nervous and anxious. It is scary for a lot of them as they aren’t sure what to expect.” AnnaMarie encourages staff, who are mostly parents themselves, to help calm fears and comfort students who feel the uncertainty of the situation.
COVID-19 testing began in early September. Most events on college campuses are single-day events. Students typically receive their results within 24-48 hours. In some cases, results are back in less time. Testing is not mandatory by state schools. However, several fraternities and sororities with houses on or off-campus are requiring members to get tested.
The tests are self-administered. When a student arrives, demographic information is collected. A nurse then explains to the student how to use the swab to collect a sample from inside the nose. The student then performs the test. The swab is placed in a specific, individualized specimen tube and they tighten the lid. It is then given to the nurse who confirms the personal information on the test tube matches the form in the portal. AFMC is prepared to offer testing at local k-12 schools, as well.
“This is a scary time for not only our country but our world. Most of us will never live through a pandemic like this again. We are so proud to be able to support the Arkansas Department of Health and their efforts to stop the spread of COVID, and to assist them with these testing events across the state,” said Sullivan.
COVID-19 testing is led by Eldrina Easterly. Onsite leads are AnnaMarie Sullivan, Nathan Ray, Dr. Kristy Bondurant and Rhelinda McFadden. Thousands of students have participated at the time of this writing.