Julia Bean, a junior nursing major from Mapleton, volunteered at the Gardner Ballroom Testing Center on Tuesday January 12th. Writer Madisyn Dwiggins urges DSU to have available testing on weekends. Photo by Bailey Chamberlain.
If students got tested weekly and/or were required to be vaccinated, we could have seen a lower number of COVID-19 cases than we currently have at Dixie State University.
DSU provides free COVID-19 testing only during the weekdays. Students who request testing over the weekend have to go off-campus and pay.
If DSU students are not going to wear masks on campus, they should get tested weekly to keep everyone healthy. In order to test a mass amount of students DSU should open testing on the weekends. This can be beneficial to everyone on campus as we can assure everyone is healthy.
As the end of the first week of my second year at DSU was rolling around, I received a Canvas notification stating I may have been exposed to COVID-19. Being responsible, I wore a mask and wanted to get tested just in case. I filled out the COVID-19 self-reporting form and I received a call from the Booth Wellness Center on a Friday to order a test. They informed me I could get a test that day but I would not get my results until about three to four days after the test.
Why should I have to miss one or two more days of school because the school does not test over the weekend? If testing was done over the weekend, students would be able to act quickly if they test positive for COVID-19. This could potentially reduce the cases and exposures at DSU.
DSU provides options for students to get tested off-campus, but students may not have the money or resources to get tested at facilities that charge. This is the best way to keep students, faculty and staff at DSU safe since the university by law is not allowed to mandate masks.
According to the Associated Press, Gov. Spencer Cox told reporters: “Masks are not as effective as most of the pro-mask crowd are arguing. We just know they are not.”
Cox does not want to reinstate a mask mandate in Utah. If Cox is not going to take action to protect our students, DSU should by providing COVID-19 testing on the weekends.
The AP News article stated: “Since June 1, hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients has increased by 342% and the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs has increased by 330%, according to state data.”
This is an even bigger reason why DSU should take action and start COVID-19 testing on the weekends. The cases are surging in Utah yet the state has still chosen not to reinstate a mask mandate. If we are not requiring students to wear masks we should be taking some other form of precaution against COVID-19.
Since June of 2021 Utah testing sites have reduced their hours and days for testing because of low demand.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah labs are now processing about 6,000 tests per day, down from about 26,000 from the peaking in early January.”
With COVID-19 cases surging, all testing sites should be opening back up while including testing on the weekends.
Even though DSU holds free vaccination clinics for students and faculty it still isn’t enough. Simply just recommending students to wear a mask and be vaccinated is ineffective. Hardly any students, faculty or staff wear a mask in the classroom setting.
DSU needs to make testing available every day of the week so we can minimize COVID-19 cases.