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Princeton inadvertently publishes, then retracts, shift in COVID-19 testing protocol from weekly to monthly

The inadvertent publication and retraction of the policy comes amid a spike in COVID-19 undergraduate cases.

<h6>Abby de Riel / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Abby de Riel / The Daily Princetonian

On Tuesday, March 1, an apparent change to the frequency of mandated COVID-19 testing was published on the University COVID-19 resources webpage, leading many students to believe that protocols had shifted from weekly to monthly testing. But on Tuesday evening, a University spokesperson told The Daily Princetonian that the posting was inadvertent and the policy post was unpublished from the University page at around the same time.

“No decisions have been announced regarding changes to our COVID-19 policies,” the University spokesperson told the ‘Prince’ at around 8 p.m. on Tuesday. “Any changes to our policies will be communicated directly to the community.”

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The update, which was removed sometime between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m., had indicated that, “as of Feb. 28,” community members who are “up to date” on COVID-19 vaccinations — including the booster vaccine — would only need to test once per month. 

Such an adjustment would have marked a major scale-back of campus COVID-19 surveillance, which has required community members to test at least weekly since the University asymptomatic testing protocol was first implemented in the fall of 2020. 

Earlier this semester, students were required to test twice weekly regardless of vaccination status. This requirement was lowered to once weekly for vaccinated students on Feb. 8.

The since-rescinded policy change comes amid an ongoing surge in campus COVID-19 cases. 

Nearly 15 percent of undergraduate students have tested positive since Feb. 14, including 110 positive tests — a record single-day high among undergraduates — on Feb. 28. 

Recent weeks have also marked a general relaxation of COVID-19 policy across the country, including the CDC’s announcement last Friday revising its advice to allow for nearly 70 percent of Americans to be maskless indoors. 

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This article is breaking and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Tess Weinreich is a news staff writer and features contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at tw7353@princeton.edu.

Mark Dodici is a former multimedia editor and reporter who works on Daybreak’s daily briefings. He can be reached at mdodici@princeton.edu, or follow him on Twitter @MarkDodici. 

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