SARAH WUELLNER, Copy Editor — Denison University is testing students as quickly as possible to control the spread of COVID-19. Two types of tests are being used: Oral and nasal. Each week, students are chosen for random signal testing. There are no confirmed cases on campus.
432 tests were administered from August 8 to September 4. Students are placed in quarantine when they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or when they have left campus and returned. Isolation separates students who are contagious from those who are not.
Testing on campus is random to find those who may have it and be asymptomatic. According to Director of Student Health and Wellness Dustin Brentlinger, “the Vice President for Student Affairs office is responsible for generating the random list of students and staff to be tested. There may be cases where after consulting with our partners at OSU Medical Center, we determine we need to test specific groups; however, we refer to this as targeted testing.”
When asked if students can choose to be tested, he said that “no, students cannot self-select testing. Students can seek testing off campus at different locations, but in Ohio, you still need a provider’s order at most locations.”
Some students wait longer than others to receive results which can create uneasiness. Brentlinger said, “Result times vary. This is dependent on the volume of tests sent to the lab. At the beginning of the year as students returned to campuses across Ohio, testing slowed down with some results taking as long as 10 days, but with an average of five days. Currently, we are seeing a two- to three-day turnaround.”
Some students choose to quarantine or isolate in the comfort of their homes instead of staying on campus with symptoms. When asked if they were allowed to travel home Brentlinger said, “Yes, we will work with students to determine if it’s safe for them to travel home and to help them as they return to campus after isolating or quarantining.”
Denison University is receiving tests from nearby Ohio State University, “We have an agreement with OSU labs. The OSU PCR test was developed in connection with Battelle Labs and is considered one of the most accurate tests in the nation.”
These tests are being used throughout the semester to limit the cases on campus. When asked how many tests are used on campus, Brentlinger said that there are not numbers recorded, but testing amounts vary with the highest volume being on Mondays when all signal tests are done.