Coronavirus testOn-campus events

Information about participation

For approved on-campus events, such as practical classes, that are strictly necessary for continuing or completing a degree course, Heidelberg University is offering an additional measure besides the required hygiene routines and mandatory distancing arrangements. In the context of a study, a corona gargling test is usednow available, that was developed at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH). It aims to support the measures against the spread of the virus and possible new mutants in order to detect asymptomatic carriers of the virus and persons who have not yet developed symptoms, and to interrupt possible infection chains early on. For this purpose, the lecturers can order test kits for participants in on-campus events. The test kits will then be evaluated for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in the experimental test station that the ZMBH has set up with the virology division in its area of virological diagnostics.

With the test, infections can be detected before symptoms arise. Participation in the test is voluntary. Whether a student takes part in the study or not will in no way impact negatively on their academic results.

The samples can be analysed within eight hours with the aid of a robotics platform and isothermal enzymatic evidence. In order to make the tests possible for students participating in-campus classes (e.g. laboratory practicals) they need to sign up for the event and the lecturers or supervisors will make an appropriate number of test kits available. Those wishing to be tested need to register their kit online, thereby indicating their consent to participating in the study, which is pseudonymised. Contact details will be encrypted so that the test takes place anonymously. Participants can carry out the test kit to obtain the gargling sample at home, if possible straight after getting up in the morning before breakfast or cleaning their teeth. The samples will be collected and taken to the test station for evaluation. That very evening or during the following day, the results will be available and can be accessed online with the aid of an individual number (the pseudonym). Positive test results will be reported to the health authority, which will decrypt the contact details for contact tracing.

By decision of the Rectorate, the costs for the coronavirus test in the context of the on-campus lectures/classes and examinations will be covered from the central budget.

Procedure

So that participants and supervisors of on-campus events who wish to be tested can do so, they have to receive test kits. Strictly necessary on-campus events are, in particular, practical classes and gross anatomy courses with differing, but known, numbers of participants.

STEP ONE – approval of the event and procurement of the test kits

When applying for an on-campus lecture/class the organisers will note the number of participants on the form and name a person to fetch the test kits and return any excessive kits. The approval of the on-campus class means a registration for the coronavirus test. The organisers of on-campus lectures/classes that have already been approved will be contacted. Test kits corresponding to the approximate number of students attending the class will be handed out – one test per participant and week. At the same time, the person fetching the test kits will receive a collection box to collect the sample tubes from Monday to Friday, 9–11am, at INF 324, 4th floor, room 409. Non-used test kits should be returned to the same address (between 8am and 5pm).

STEP TWO – distributing the test kits and individual implementation

The organisers of the lecture/class are recommended to distribute the test kits to the students a few days before the class (if possible) or on the first day of in-person attendance and to collect them on the next day they are back on campus. The students can take the gargling sample in the morning of the first day of the lecture/class and put the samples in a collection box at the class, or in one of the two sample letter-boxes (Old Town and Im Neuenheimer Feld, see below).

STEP  THREE – registering and taking the gargling sample

The participants must register their test with the enclosed access code, which must be kept to access the result online. The test is anonymous. Please note the short directions (below) for taking the gargling sample.

STEP FOUR – returning the sample tube for analysis

The participants at on-campus events can return the sample tube as follows:

  1. Put it in the collection box available at the event. The organisers of the examination will take the collected sample tubes back to the test station at INF 324, 4th floor (from 9–5pm, leaving it on the table).
  2. Alternatively, the participants can post their sample tubes themselves in the sample letter boxes, emptied several times a day from Monday to Friday, at two collection points:
    – Old Town: entrance area of the University Library, Plöck 107–109
    – Im Neuenheimer Feld: entrance area of the Theoretikum, INF 305 (near the Unishop)

The test samples submitted will be analysed on three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Samples delivered on Tuesday will be analysed on Wednesday and those delivered on Thursday will be analysed on Friday. 

The test results will be available about eight hours after the sample has reached the test laboratory. If the samples are submitted by 10 am on the morning of one of the three days set aside for analysis the results can be accessed the same day.

STEP FIVE – accessing the results

The test result will be accessible via an access code enclosed in the test kit.

STEP SIX – contact tracing

Positive tests will be validated by a certified PCR test and reported to the health authority, according to the statutory requirement to notify it so that it can begin tracing contacts. To support the health authorities it is recommended that persons who have tested positive turn to the university’s central team for COVID-19 reporting. There they will receive confidential advice and support: meldung.corona@uni-heidelberg.de