Long queues for PCR tests as face-to-face classes resume

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AUS community members in line for PCR tests at the Sports Complex (NOEL CERIANI PHOTO)

By Malika Kaloo

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – As the American University of Sharjah returned to face-to-face classes on Jan. 31, the PCR testing facility at the University Health Services witnessed long queues of students waiting for their COVID-19 tests. 

To access campus, students need to fill health declaration forms, provide a PCR test within 96 hours before first entry and have a green status on the Al-Hosn application.

“As this semester is fully face to face, the number of students coming for PCR tests on campus is double than the last semester. Students need to take PCR tests every 14 days to maintain green status on Al-Hosn,” said Dr. Lubna Al Saraj, the director of the UHS.

“There are some students who have exemptions, or they have taken vaccines outside the country and require ICP approval. They need weekly PCR to access campus,” she added.

To manage the crowd at the PCR testing center, the UHS has started a booking system that allows students to book slots according to their convenience. 

“I booked my slot but had to wait in a long queue to get tested because everyone is on campus this semester. Last semester, I received my PCR results within six hours but this time it took a little while and I received the results within 24 hours,” said Asma Dildar, a senior year student at AUS. 

Another student, Mehak Tamakuwala, said that she could not schedule an appointment for the PCR test on campus because all the slots were full in the first week. 

If a student tests positive during the semester, they must inform the UHS and quarantine for at least 10 days before taking a test again. They can take online classes during their quarantine period after getting an official exemption. 

The UHS offers free PCR testing to students and faculty on campus.