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Black College Funds Partner for HBCU COVID-19 Testing to Help Safely Reopen Campuses

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) announced partnerships with the nonprofit Testing for America to support historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in their COVID-19 testing plans for students, faculty and staff to help safely reopen campuses.

"All institutions must be able to test when they reopen for in-person instruction — whether this fall or 2021," said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF President and CEO. "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 program is being pioneered at Delaware State University, and another half-dozen HBCUs have since become partners, with others in the process of joining.

At Delaware State, up to 3,000 students, staff and faculty will be tested frequently in combination with other safety protocols such as social distancing, a hybrid of virtual and in-person classes, mandatory masks and contact tracing. Special accommodations have been set up for students who test positive.

"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."

Combined, UNCF and TMCF enroll almost 300,000 students at more than 80 historically black colleges and universities. Since March, the organizations have been working with their member schools on crisis management, stabilization and now reopening campuses.

"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.

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