The University of California's San Diego (UCSD) campus is changing the way students look at conventional vending machines now that COVID tests are available from an automatic dispenser.
Reuters reports the 11 dispensers were set up on Jan. 2 and the university, which is the first to introduce them on a college campus in the US, plans to install nine more over the next few weeks.
Students living on campus are required to a test once a week.
Now they can head to one of the vending machines on campus and grab a free, self-administered test kit after swiping their ID card. After doing a quick swab in their nostril, they leave the kit in a dropbox and can expect their results within about two days.
UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla told Reuters on Tuesday that "they're an amazing innovation – simple, effective and impactful." He said thousands of tests have been distributed since the machines were set up.
The university planned to install the machines as students returned from the holiday break.
Dr. Angela Scioscia, head of student health and well-being at UCSD said the method is "much more user-friendly."
"They can pick up the kit at their convenience – they can drop it off," Scioscia said.
And students seem to have adapted to this new way of living.
"I was uncomfortable at first, but then after doing it a bunch of times, I got used to it," said freshman Andy Goodman. "Here, it's easier because I can just walk 40 feet away."
"The vending machine makes it so accessible," explained sophomore Issa Eddy. "Especially if you have something to do, you have five minutes to go do something, then you can come here and get it."
The machines can be found in common areas of the campus such as lobbies, laundry rooms, and near food outlets.
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