As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, the federal government has taken measures to make testing more accessible. The Biden administration recently implemented a new program that provides free COVID-19 test kits via mail. This program is an excellent resource for students who want to stay healthy this semester - here’s what you need to know.
What are at-home COVID-19 test kits?
These test kits come with everything you need to test yourself for COVID-19 at home. These rapid antigen tests use samples collected from your nose and deliver results in about 15 minutes. To get the most accurate results, users will need to follow the instructions exactly. When purchased from a drugstore, these kits can cost as little as $20 for a pack of 2, although pricing varies by manufacturer.
How can US students get free COVID-19 tests?
The Biden administration is currently offering 4 free COVID-19 tests to each household in the United States. These tests are delivered via USPS and you can request them online. This new program also requires insurers to reimburse their customers for up to 8 at-home COVID-19 tests per month.
To request your at-home test kits, you can visit COVIDtests.gov or the USPS website. The government started shipping these tests in late January with an estimated delivery time of 7 to 12 days. Residents of areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission will receive priority shipping. It’s important to note that the program offers four tests per household, not four tests per person. This is particularly important to keep in mind if you are a college student who lives with several roommates.
How does this new program affect students?
This program is an excellent resource for all students, although it does have some flaws. It can be difficult to protect yourself from COVID-19 while getting your education, especially if you are living on a crowded campus. Regularly testing for COVID-19 can help you make smarter health decisions.
Many college students are living on a tight budget, so this program makes COVID-19 testing much more accessible from a financial perspective. However, there are some limitations to what this program can do. Students living in larger households may not receive enough tests for everyone they live with. While individuals can get more free tests with reimbursement through insurance, this can take time to do and can be confusing. There are also still many students that do not have health insurance. Finally, these tests take time to come in the mail, so they aren’t a viable option for students who need testing urgently.
Students can use these free test kits as a supplement to other COVID-19 mitigation procedures. Many universities already provide free testing to their students on-campus and use contact tracing to identify students who have been exposed. Additionally, the American College Health Association recommends that all eligible students, faculty, and staff receive COVID-19 booster vaccine doses if they have not already.
Regular COVID-19 testing is one of the best tools we have to mitigate the spread of the virus, and this new government initiative is a step forward in making these tests more accessible. Students should also take advantage of any health initiatives their school offers, which may include regular testing, free masks, and much more.
What are the guidelines for getting tests with a student Address?
According to guidelines by ACHA, College students residing on or off campus may request free testing kits. Students with shared housing addresses (residence halls, apartment buildings, group housing) should each enter their unique room or apartment number, and/or letter A, B, C, D, etc. along with their street address on the ordering form (or via phone).
Students with unreliable or no internet access may call 1-800-232-0233 to request free at-homeCOVID-19 testing kits.
Students should call USPS Customer Service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to resolve issues with shared housing addresses. Source www.acha.org