ATCHISON -- Last week Benedictine College officials announced that the Catholic liberal arts college in Atchison has established an agreement with a Lenexa lab that will allow for mass testing on their campus without using up the city's testing supplies.


According to the college, their agreement with Clinical Reference Laboratory means that they can provide free, saliva-based tests to all students.


"We are pleased to announce this agreement, which will help Benedictine College develop an understanding of the virus on our camps," said College President Stephen D. Minnis. "This is a major step in combating COVID-19."


The college website states that the tests will be conducted as supervised self-collection tests administered during the first day on campus as students return in a staggered move-in schedule over the next 10 days.


Those who test positive will follow a quarantine protocol and go home to recover, if possible.


The CRL received FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the saliva-based PCR test, which can be self-collected last month. Studies of the test show it to be more sensitive and accurate than the standard COVID-19 anterior nasal swab test, according to CRL information.


Benedictine leadership said the testing plan is one component to combat the disease on campus and does not override other CDC guidance like wearing masks, social distancing and hand-washing.