Thoughts on university testing

Elphena Elsar, Staff Writer

As snow falls, the cases of COVID-19 continue to plummet with which we feel confident to say this semester is off to a good start for us at Mercyhurst and we anticipate that the decreasing rate will be consistent. The COVID testing procedures implemented this semester are far more strategic than last semester.

Last semester we were required to do both pre- and ongoing COVID screening questionnaires which had simple questions like “have you experienced a cough, cold, and/or fever in the last 24 hours?,” along with the no visitor/guests rule and temperature checks.

Those regulations were only a start to tackling the spread of COVID-19. They may have been mandated last semester, but they were not strongly enforced, making it easy for many to break the rules which led to more incidences of COVID-19 on campus and the move to remote learning for the last few weeks of the semester.

But this spring semester we have mandatory pre- campus arrival testing, post-campus testing for on-campus students and ongoing testing required by students, faculty and staff members of Mercyhurst. Some may view the preliminary actions as too drastic or unnecessary but being a public health student here at Mercyhurst, I can say these mandatory actions are stronger preventative measures than what we had last semester when it comes to deterring the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to that, it’s because of those mandated actions we now have the COVID cases under control and more lenient regulations. At the beginning of the semester before all COVID results were completely processed, there were no visitors allowed in dorm rooms even if you were a resident of the building, but now things have changed. Students can now have visitors within dorm rooms but only if the visitors live on campus, which excludes commuters and other guests.

If the ongoing testing and other strict, safe practices continue to be put into place, we will have a smoother semester without the need to drastically transition to remote learning. It’s only fair to say because of the dedication, collective efforts and consciousness of students, staff and most especially the nurses at the Mercyhurst’s Health Center we can now enjoy some sort of freedom on campus.