Free self-testing kits popular in higher education

LYDWINE HUIZINGA

Students and lecturers across the country have ordered nearly 180,000 self-testing kits. It’s unclear how many of them were sent to Groningen.

The self-testing kits have been available for free to students and staff in higher education since May 5, enabling them to easily and quickly find out if they contracted covid-19 without realising it.

No one is forced to use the self-testing kits. Nevertheless, the university hopes all students and staff will use them and that they’ll be able to return to ‘normal’ educational activities as soon as possible.

The self-testing kits are less reliable than those the public health service uses, though. It’s possible, therefore, to test negative even if you have been infected. If you do get a positive result, you still have to go to a public health service location to get checked out, and you must avoid contact with others until you do.

‘Accidentally’

Statistics from the ministry of Education show that 32,995 kits were ordered on May 5. By May 18, that number was up to 178,347, with nearly 80 percent of orders coming from students.  

The self-testing kits can be ordered online through www.zelftestonderwijs.nl. You can order four kits per address. UG spokesperson Anja Hulshof has already ordered them. ‘The kits are neatly packaged. Delivery times do vary. My kits arrived three days after the ones my colleague ordered.’

‘I’ve heard that some people “accidentally” find out they’re infected. They wouldn’t have found out until later if they didn’t have the kit’, says law student Romy Cnossen. She thinks the free tests are a good idea. ‘It’s a great way to prevent a lot of infections. I also like knowing that everyone is negative when I meet up with my friends.’

Ideal

Education sciences student Lucianna Siepel has just ordered the kits. ‘They haven’t arrived yet, so I have to wait. I’m part of a study group, so it’s ideal. Friends of mine ordered the kits too, and I’ve heard only good things.’

PhD candidate Guilherme Lima thinks the tests administered by the professionals at the testing lanes are still the best option. Nevertheless, he will be ordering some kits for when he goes back to the lab. ‘I’ll be in contact with colleagues. I think it’s good to be able to quickly test myself beforehand.’

Political economy professor Jakob de Haan won’t order any kits just yet. ‘My classes will be online for the foreseeable future, so I don’t think it’s necessary. But they might be useful to my colleagues who are going back to campus.’

Speed-testing lane

Anyone who doesn’t want to stick a swab into their own nose or mouth or who doesn’t have time to is welcome at the Zernike and Wiebenga speed-testing lanes. These testing locations are specifically available to UG and Hanze students and staff.

‘The Zernike speed-testing location receives between one hundred and one hundred and fifty students and staff members a day’, says UG spokesperson Riepko Buikema. The Wiebenga complex performs approximately fifty to seventy-five tests a day.

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