Luther College expands asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program

The expanded asymptomatic surveillance testing (EAST) program begins on Feb. 10

DECORAH, Iowa – Luther College is launching its expanded asymptomatic surveillance testing (EAST) program on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Available to Luther students, faculty and staff, the program is designed to elevate protection protocols on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is not available to members of the public.

“Through Luther’s EAST program, we will soon have the ability to test up to 20-25% of campus per month,” said Brad Chamberlain, vice president for mission and communication and member of Luther’s Covid Response Team. “Routine testing provides an additional layer of mitigation that will complement Luther’s current protection protocols, which include the use of face coverings and physical distancing that have been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses. This increase in asymptomatic testing means we will be generating data on a daily basis that will improve our understanding of the effectiveness of our protection protocols and the presence of COVID on the Luther College campus and in Winneshiek County.”

The scale of Luther’s asymptomatic testing program to date has been limited by the availability of testing supplies. Luther began working with vendors in August 2020 to obtain additional testing supplies to expand its asymptomatic testing program. In January 2021, Luther was able to place and receive an order of additional testing supplies and has been working since to hire and train staff and equip the testing center.

Testing through the program is voluntary. The goal is to work up to testing 100 people a day utilizing a self-administered nasal swab.

All testing results will be reflected in county data available through the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and will influence Luther’s COVID-19 Indicators and Alert Level. The current alert level is indicated at luther.edu/being-community.

More information including the type of test, location of the testing center and eligibility requirements can be found at luther.edu/being-community/protection-protocols/east/.

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.