AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas (UT) has extended the deadline to Friday for students to get a mandatory COVID-19 test in order to attend in-person classes this year.
UT originally required results of a negative COVID-19 test within three days before the first day of school, which is this Wednesday.
Time slots through the university's Proactive Community Testing (PCT) filled quickly for the original deadline, leaving students scrambling to find a test site so they could attend in-person classes.
Junior Grace Clark explained to KVUE that she signed up a week ago and barely got a spot.
"I think I picked the earliest time they had available, which was like 3 p.m. for Tuesday, and then classes start on Wednesday," she said.
Clark has signed up for multiple tests through the university before and is familiar with the process. She worries freshman students or those who have never used PCT before will have more trouble.
Other students, like Junior Emily Anaya, were not so lucky. She also tried to sign up a week ago but said there were no appointments available by Wednesday.
"I ended up getting a little testing kit at H-E-B, which you can do at home, but it was like $20 for two tests. So definitely not accessible to everyone," Anaya said.
Many students told KVUE they had to find rides to off-site testing or paid out-of-pocket to get a test from an outside provider, racing the Austin community as a whole to these spots.
According to a UT spokesperson, 503 students got tested for COVID-19 on-site during the main three days of check-in for "Mooov-In," zero of whom tested positive. There were 51 students who did pre-arrival testing who delayed their move-in to complete their isolation period, the university said.
With more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the university, Anaya and Clark wish leaders more clearly communicated to students about the testing requirements and had enough spaces available for students before the deadline.
If a student does not have a test by the start of class Monday, the university has not clearly stated what will happen.
"They are just going to show up to class and hope it is fine or they are submitting older tests from like a week ago or more," Clark said.
The University has two testing options available: PCR tests and an antigen test.
Officials said PCT appointment availability is low at the SSB-Glenn Maloney testing site through this Friday and recommend students schedule an antigen test at the Jester West Fireplace Lounge (this site is being managed by a non-campus vendor, but testing remains free of charge).
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