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A look back at student COVID-19 testing – Stanford style

After nine months of COVID-19 testing at two pop-up clinics on campus, one for undergraduates and one for graduate students, Stanford has transitioned to a self-swab surveillance program.

During fall, winter and spring quarters of the 2020-21 academic year, undergraduates who made the twice-weekly trek to Tresidder Memorial Union for COVID-19 testing were invited to take a flower after getting tested.

The colorful hand-written sign, which stood in between two buckets of fresh flowers, said: Smile! Treat yourself! Take a flower! U deserve it!

The flower give-away, courtesy of the Stanford Federal Credit Union, was one of the ways the university put a friendly face on its mandatory testing program.

Jeanette Smith-Laws, director of facilities, operations and student unions in Student Affairs, participated in the oversight of the testing site, as well as the pop-up clinic for graduate students in McCaw Hall at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center.

At the Tresidder center, she helped curate the playlist.

“I’m from Michigan, so Motown of course is my thing, ” Smith-Laws said. “There’s something about hearing a Motown song that makes you happy. I wanted the center to be fun and lively. So did Physician Assistant – and Stanford alum – Melette Le Blanc-Cabot and her team from Verily Life Sciences who connected and engaged with students every day. They were the heart and soul of the center.”

The pop-up clinics, which closed at the end of the spring quarter, carried out more than 206,000 COVID-19 tests, said Dr. James Jacobs, associate vice provost for health and well-being and executive director of Vaden Health Center.

“This was a huge and remarkable undertaking that was successful only because of the extraordinary collaboration between facilities professionals, the testing vendors, communications experts and our students,” Jacobs said.

At the start of summer quarter, Stanford transitioned to a self-swab testing program. For more information on the new program, visit the Student Affairs COVID Guidance website.