Princeton University to open COVID-19 testing lab on campus

For the first few weeks of the semester, COVID-19 testing for Princeton University students and employees took place outdoors at the Princeton University Stadium. Photo by Denise Applewhite, Princeton University Office of Communications.

As part of Princeton University’s efforts to make the campus as safe as possible during the pandemic, a COVID-19 testing laboratory is being established and is slated to open next month.

Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber said in an email to staff members and students that the new on-campus testing laboratory will provide test results within 24 hours. 

About 250 undergraduates are in living on the university campus this semester, although undergraduate teaching programs for this semester are almost entirely remote. Some on-campus graduate instruction and research programs have resumed. Students, staff members, and faculty members who are on campus for more than eight hours per week are required to participate in the university’s asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program.

The university has administered more than 30,000 COVID-19 tests since the fall semester began. A total of 23 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of those tests.

“Our population is staying healthy, and on-campus spread has thus far been non-existent,” Eisgruber wrote in his email to the campus community. “Notably, we have had only one positive case in our on-campus undergraduate population over a period that now spans more than six weeks.”

Eisgruber said the results are consistent with reports from many other American campuses with extensive asymptomatic testing protocols. “On campuses that have instituted and followed responsible public health guidance accompanied by extensive testing, there is as yet no evidence that the virus is spreading in instructional settings or in dormitory housing,” he wrote. “Infection rates for undergraduates at most of these institutions have been remarkably low, with the vast majority of cases that arise being traceable to off-campus social events.”