TTU’s J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts to require COVID-19 testing

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LUBBOCK, Texas — The J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts at Texas Tech University will soon require regular COVID-19 testing for individuals (students, faculty, staff, and/or community members) participating in their groups and programs.

The testing will begin the week of September 13, according to a letter obtained by EverythingLubbock.com.

Participants in the groups or productions are required to complete regular testing, free of charge, for COVID-19 to remain eligible for participation.

Those who do not get tested will not be permitted to participate in the performances and groups.

EverythingLubbock.com reached out the Texas Tech University requesting a comment. We’ll provide their comment if they respond to our request.

The following is a copy of the letter obtained by EverythingLubbock.com:

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty in the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts:

During the last academic year, students, faculty, and staff in our college demonstrated an unwavering commitment to preserving performance as a critical component of our communities and our lives. As we begin a new academic year, a return to live performance is not only possible, but planned.  The privilege of live performance is not something that we can take for granted, particularly having lived without it for most of the last 18 months. And, as I’m sure all of you know, many of the arts practices that constitute performance in our college generate enhanced risk for transmission of the COVID-19 virus. To that point, with the support of President Schovanec and Provost Hendrick, I am implementing required and regular COVID-19 testing protocols for individuals participating in select performance-based activities in the TCVPA. As you read the information below, please note that this decision reflects a prioritization of your health along with the health and safety of those around you. The protocols have been designed to minimize any burden on or inconvenience to those who will be required to participate in testing, and exceptions to the required testing are clearly articulated. Thanks to all of you, in advance, for your commitment to ensuring that our college will be able to sustain our return to live performance this fall and, in so doing, significantly contribute to the mission of this university and to the quality of life in our communities.

1. Regular COVID-19 testing is required for individuals (students, faculty, staff, and/or community members) participating in any or all of the following:

Concert Band
Symphonic Band
Marching Band
Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Lubbock Chorale
Matador Singers
Scarlet Vocé
University Choir
University Singers
Jazz Ensembles
Trombone Choir
Trumpet Ensembles
Percussion Ensembles
Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble
Collegium Musicum
Mariachi Ensemble
Steel Drum Band
Tango Ensemble
Celtic Ensemble
Clarinet Choir
New/Contemporary Music Ensemble
Opera Theatre
Orchestra
Fall Dance Festival
DanceTech
In a Word
Bike America
Spring Awakening

2. Requirements for individual participants in any of the groups/productions listed above:

Participants in the groups or productions above are required to complete regular testing, free of charge, for COVID-19 to remain eligible for participation. All individuals in these groups or productions be contacted by a School, Ensemble, or Production Director with details about all of the following:

a. Period of time that an individual is required to complete testing:  Example: between September 4th and October 31st or until otherwise notified.

b. Frequency and location of required testing:  Example: Individuals in the Arandelle Ensemble will take a COVID-19 test every Wednesday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. in Olafson Hall. 

c. Procedure for continued participation: 

i. Individuals who test negative for COVID-19 may continue to fully participate in their identified performance activities and groups.

ii. Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, who test positive for COVID-19 on an initial test will be required to take a second test to confirm the result.  Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 on an initial test will receive detailed instructions about taking a second test, which will also be offered at no charge to the individual. Individuals who test negative on the second test may continue to fully participate in their identified performance activities and groups.

iii. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 on their second test will temporarily be removed from participating in performance groups and events and will follow the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control, copied here:

If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, take the following steps to protect others regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status: Isolate at home and isolate away from others for at least 10 days from the second positive test date.

d. Participants may be exempt from testing if they:

i. provide proof of full vaccination and are asymptomatic for COVID-19, or;

 ii. provide proof of positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days and are asymptomatic for COVID-19.

Additional details about providing proof of exemption will be provided by School, Ensemble, or Production Directors.

e. Vaccinated participants who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested and, should they test positive, will follow the procedures outlined in 2.iii, above.

3. FAQs:

a. When will this testing requirement begin?

Unless otherwise communicated, the week of September 13th. Any delay to that targeted start date will be communicated with all affected students, faculty, and staff in advance.

b. Will I have to pay to be tested?

No. There will be no cost to any student, faculty, or staff member who is participating in required testing.

c. Can I be exempt from testing if I’ve only had one shot in a two-shot vaccine?

No, an individual must be fully vaccinated to be exempt from testing requirements.

d. What if I want to get vaccinated?

Please refer to TTU’s informational page on vaccines and vaccine availability: https://www.ttu.edu/commitment/covid-19-vaccine/index.php

e. If I have a medical or religious exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, do I have to get tested?

Yes.  Results from required testing will not, in any way, compel any individual to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.

f. Can my roommate come get tested with me?

This testing is only available to students identified as participants in one or more of the ensembles or groups noted in item 1.

g. What if I refuse to be tested?

We hope you will not, as testing is fast, free, and safe. However, if you are not exempt from testing and you refuse to be tested, you will not be permitted to participate in the performances and groups noted in item 1.  Please visit with your School Director if you have questions about testing compliance related to a specific ensemble or production.

h. Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns?

Please send any questions/concerns to: tcvpa.deansoffice@ttu.edu.

Genevieve Durham DeCesaro
Interim Dean and Professor of Dance
J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts
Box 45060
Texas Tech University
806.834.3409
www.vpa.ttu.edu


EverythingLubbock.com continues ongoing coverage of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), its impacts and vaccination efforts.


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