DSU pioneers nationwide testing program for Black colleges and universities

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The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The United Negro College Fund announced partnerships with the nonprofit Testing for America to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Delaware State University in their Covid-19 testing plans for students, faculty and staff.

UNCF and TMCF institutions account for nearly 300,000 students at more than 80 historically black colleges and universities. Since March, the organizations have been working with their member schools on crisis management, stabilization and reopening campuses.

“All institutions must be able to test when they reopen for in-person instruction — whether this fall or 2021,” said UNCF President and CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “TFA’s ability to link us to high-quality providers, coupled with other safety guidance and financial support, will help bring necessary, continuous and reliable testing to entire campus communities. We are happy to partner with TFA on this critical work to help our campuses and students successfully navigate this pandemic.”

“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is confident our new partnership with Testing for America will bring abundant and accurate COVID-19 testing to our member-schools, helping them to safely reopen and protect our communities,” said CEO Harry Williams, former president of Delaware State University.

The program is being pioneered at Delaware State University, and another half-dozen HBCUs have since become partners, with others in the process of joining.

At DSU, up to 3,000 students, staff and faculty will be tested frequently in combination with other safety protocols such as social distancing, a hybrid of virtual and in-person classes, mandatory masks and contact tracing. Special accommodations have been set up for students who test positive.

“The HBCU brand of excellence, education and care is specifically targeted to talented students who simply need an open door and a welcoming environment. We are home. And safety must be our priority,” said Delaware State UniversityPresident Tony Allen.“Our relationship with Testing for America is the No. 1 driver of our ability to reopen our campus safely.”

TFA is a nonprofit established by leading academics, engineers and entrepreneurs to solve the testing crisis in America. The organization has identified and is supporting a portfolio of high-quality, scale-ready technologies that can complete millions of tests per day at very low cost.

TFA is currently in active discussions with K-12 schools, other higher education institutions and businesses across the country on safe and permanent reopening testing plans, as well as seeking additional philanthropic supporters and major donors to sponsor testing initiatives.

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