UNT COVID testing

Nurse Nicole Hilton, right, demonstrates a check-in for a COVID-19 test with Leigh Anne Gullett, a spokesperson for UNT, at the Student Health and Wellness Center in September 2020.

Mandatory coronavirus testing requirements are in full effect at Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas — but much isn’t yet known about their efficacy.

Representatives for each university Wednesday confirmed there were things yet unknown about compliance with the mandates.

Matt Flores, a TWU spokesperson, said that university’s third-party testing program administered 770 tests this past week, and six of those tests came back positive.

Flores said data wasn’t available Wednesday to show how many of the 770 people tested were students, staffers or faculty members.

TWU requires students and employees to be tested regularly with several ways to become exempt from the program. For example, a student who takes all classes online wouldn’t have to participate in the program, and all those who demonstrate they are fully vaccinated would be exempt.

“We’re still trying to reconcile the number of individuals who are exempt from being tested,” Flores said.

Heather Noel, a UNT spokesperson, wrote via email Wednesday that more information about compliance rates with the university’s testing program, as well as its scope, would be available next week.

TWU’s first mandatory testing window ended Friday. UNT extended its first round of testing by 10 days to this past Monday.

Flores said there have been problems confirming how many people had showed proof of full vaccination, among other issues, “so we’re giving everybody a grace period of another week.”

TWU officials Wednesday were still trying to sort through all the issues with the program before any disciplinary measures would be taken.

“We’re not trying to do anything punitive,” Flores said.

Despite that, both TWU and UNT have previously been clear employees and students alike could expect punishment if they don’t comply with testing requirements.

Officials have been vague about precisely what punishments students could face. Each university previously indicated a wide range of possible punishments, and Flores previously said discipline would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

UNT employees who repeatedly don’t comply can expect verbal reprimands, formal write-ups and/or loss of merit-based pay increases.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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