Interlochen Arts Academy will test all of its students and staff for COVID-19 this August with help from a Boston lab.
The private arts school attracts about 500 students from around the world to its wooded campus each fall.
To ensure those students don’t accidentally spread the virus, the school has purchased 3,000 tests from the Broad Institute, an MIT and Harvard lab.
The Institute says it has developed its own highly-accurate test, which involves taking a specimen from the front of the nostril. The lab can run 35,000 tests a day and promises results in 12-24 hours.
A member of the school’s board helped Interlochen get a spot among the many Boston colleges that use the lab for COVID-19 tests.
Interlochen Provost Camille Colatosti says it means they can ensure a safe start to the school year.
“Instead of needing to presume everyone is sick and needs to be separated from each other for 14 days we can actually make decisions based on real medical information,” she says.
Students will stay in socially-distanced housing at the start of the semester, Colatosti says. They will be tested twice before in person instruction begins.
“We believe that this approach will help us mitigate the spread and be able to provide us some control over a situation that in many ways feels out of our control,” she says.
Colatosti says the lab tests cost $35 dollars each plus shipping. The school purchased enough to test students and staff later on as needed.