The importance of education is at the forefront of conversations these days with schools preparing to reopen this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To help HBCU campuses to ensure that students feel safe, The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) have announced partnerships with Testing for America to support historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in their COVID-19 testing plans for students, faculty, and staff.
Since March, UNCF and TMCF have been working with their member schools on crisis management, stabilization, and now reopening campuses.
“All institutions must be able to test when they reopen for in-person instruction — whether this fall or 2021,” said UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “TFA’s ability to link us to high-quality providers, coupled with other safety guidance and financial support, will help bring necessary, continuous and reliable testing to entire campus communities. We are happy to partner with TFA on this critical work to help our campuses and students successfully navigate this pandemic.”
“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is confident our new partnership with Testing for America will bring abundant and accurate COVID-19 testing to our member-schools, helping them to safely reopen and protect our communities,” said TMCF President and CEO Harry Williams.
The program has been initiated at Delaware State University, and several more have become partners, with others waiting to join.
“The HBCU brand of excellence, education and care is specifically targeted to talented students who simply need an open door and a welcoming environment. We are home. And safety must be our priority,” said Delaware State University President Tony Allen. “Our relationship with Testing for America is the No. 1 driver of our ability to reopen our campus safely.”
Currently, TFA is having discussions with K-12 schools, other higher education institutions, and businesses that have plans on reopening. They are also seeking additional philanthropic supporters and major donors to sponsor testing initiatives.
“We don’t need to wait for new innovations. We have the technology now to dramatically increase access to meaningful, affordable, repeat testing to help us safely and permanently reopen schools, businesses and ultimately the US economy,” said TFA Founder Jason Yeung.
Current TFA partners include Cerner, a global healthcare technology company, and Illumina, the world leader in genomic sequencing, as well as other philanthropic donors.
“This is solvable, and this is scalable,” said Francis deSouza, chief executive officer of Illumina. “What Testing for America has launched is demonstrating this can be done successfully, and we are proud to be part of the solution that can enable testing at scale. We encourage others to reach out and join in.”