Board of Trustees approves contract extensions for student and employee COVID-19 testing

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This semester, the University of Connecticut has utilized pooled testing for COVID-19 to more efficiently utilize resources while working with UConn’s low positivity rate. The Board of Trustees decided on Wednesday morning to extend UConn’s contracts with medical services in order to continue COVID-19 testing for the spring semester. Photo by Ashley Anglisano/The Daily Campus.

The Board of Trustees decided on Wednesday morning to extend the University of Connecticut’s contracts with The Broad Institute, Vault Medical Services and The Jackson Laboratory for spring COVID-19 testing. 

Prior to the extension, the values of each contract were $750,000 for The Broad Institute, $2 million for Vault Medical Services and $950,000 for The Jackson Laboratory. The Broad Institute and Vault Medical Services provided much of the fall semester’s COVID-19 testing, and The Jackson Laboratory provided additional backup when needed. 

Future contracts build upon the value of the fall semester’s contracts, adding to the total. The new contract’s maximum values are as follows: a maximum of $3 million for The Broad Institute, a maximum of $5 million for Vault Medical Services and a maximum of $2 million for The Jackson Laboratory. The university can spend up to these amounts, but it is not clear if it will reach that spending with any or all of these contracts. 

These contracts will allow for an additional 65,000 tests to be administered in the spring semester. These tests will be available for residential students reentering the Storrs and Stamford campuses, non-residential students of every campus who have at least one in-person class, increased weekly surveillance testing, exit testing for residential students and greater surveillance testing if an outbreak were to occur. 

Scott Jordan, executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer, said The Broad Institute has been providing test results within 24 hours and has been used primarily for on-campus student testing. Vault Medical Services and The Jackson Lab provide the mail-order tests that are primarily used by commuter students in which a person self-administers and returns the test to the company to be examined for results. 

Several colleges and universities either currently use these organizations or would like to use them in the future, so Jordan said they wanted to proactively secure their spring contracts. He said the University has found the organizations have been successful in their work. 

“We want to make sure we get those tests lined up,” Jordan said. “We’ve had such success in the fall that we want to make sure they’re available to us in the spring.” 

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