On Tuesday, college students across Alabama will begin getting their required coronavirus tests.
The state plans to test more than 200,000 students over the next four weeks.
There will be 13 sites across the state exclusively for college students. Three are in North Alabama. One at the student Wellness Center on the campuses of Alabama A&M, another at Spragins Hall at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and another at the University of North Alabama.
Students tested there will get their results back in 24 hours. It all starts with getting a test on campus for most students. Students should receive an email that gives them the specific location, along with details on how to schedule an appointment.
"They want to keep us safe, they can prevent less people from contracting the virus you know you can save more lives," Zach Foster, a student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said.
Foster said having rapid testing available for college students is crucial.
"You know you have people coming from all over, some are coming from hot spots some aren't. being able to get those results back fast is very beneficial," he said.
Instead of being sent off to a private lab, each test is processed by UAB's pathology department. That lab can process more than 10,000 tests a day.
"The logistics and the infrastructure work has been immense and it's ongoing to make sure we can get everybody returned safely and allow them to stay safely," Dr. Selwyn Vickers, the dean of the College of Medicine at UAB, said.
Out-of-state students will have a testing kit mailed to their home. They will administer the tests on themselves.
Then, those tests are over-nighted back to UAB for rapid results.
Foster said seeing the state allocate so many resources to making sure students are safe before returning to campus gives students some peace of mind.
"Obviously they care, but for some people they probably feel safer at home but they have the option to go to campus, and if you decide to do that they're making it as safe as possible," he said.
UAB said it has been operating two rapid test sites in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa since last week.
The additional locations were set up strategically so no one has to drive more than 60 miles to get tested.
Right now it's not clear what the deadline is for students to get their testing done, but it is mandatory they have a negative result before coming back to school.