People lined up in front of an orange building that reads Student Health Center

Noah Scott/Nevada Sagebrush
Students line up in front of the Student Health Center on Jan. 23. UNR terminated its contract with Northshore Clinical Labs, the universities COVID-19 testing partner, due to dissatisfaction.

The University of Nevada, Reno announced they will be terminating their contract, effective Feb. 1, with Northshore Clinical Laboratories in an email sent to the campus community. The organization has been the university’s COVID-19 testing partner since November 2021.

“Today the University terminated its contract with Northshore Clinical Laboratories, due to our institution’s dissatisfaction with Northshore’s service in helping to conduct on-campus COVID-19 testing for our students, faculty and staff,” Sandoval’s email read.

Northshore is a Chicago-based company that has been under investigation by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the Illinois Department of Public Health, due to a series of complaints of patients not receiving test results and flawed results.

Scott Walquist, Director of Communications at UNR, said the university is currently not looking for any vendors to assist with campus COVID-19 testing needs.

“With possible State of Nevada assistance in our testing efforts during this current surge, coupled with us starting to see a decrease in positive cases,” said Walquist in a statement to The Nevada Sagebrush. “…[W]e feel we are appropriately resourced for meeting our campus’s testing needs.”

Despite the terminated partnership, the university’s Student Health Center will continue to provide free daily polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 testing. Additionally, the SHC will no longer be offering antigen tests due to limited access in getting the tests.

The Nevada Sagebrush reached out to the SHC but did not receive immediate comment.

Melissa Burham, a professor of Human Development and Family Science and Early Childhood Education, said the contract termination came as a surprise.

“What’s most interesting to me is that faculty were assured during the last Faculty Senate meeting that the administration was confident in NorthShore labs given the extra protocols that were in place for the university contract … Then, 2 weeks later, the contract is terminated,” Burham said in an email to The Nevada Sagebrush.

Additionally, Burnham said the university needs to find other means of testing for the sake of students.

“We need testing. It needs to be accurate. Testing on campus is our only link to knowing which students are positive unless they self-report,” Burnham said. “So, we either need to work in closer concert with the county or figure it out with another contractor.”

The Nevada Sagebrush reached out to Northshore Clinical Labs but did not receive immediate comment.

Washoe County and Washoe County School District still continue to use Northshore for COVID-19 testing. Both partnered with Northshore in early January to help reduce the high demand for COVID-19 testing for county residents.

Emerson Drewes can be reached via email at edrewes@unr.edu or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.