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College opens COVID-19 Rapid Testing Center

Seeking a suitable space close to SHAC to conveniently test students, faculty, and staff, the room that once belonged to the Carletonian has been repurposed. In response to a high demand for COVID-19 tests, rapid testing has been moved from SHAC to its own location in Burton 003.

Jesse Cashman, Director of Auxiliary Services, spoke to the decision to separate COVID-19 testing from SHAC: “The separate testing site allows for SHAC staff to focus on providing care for the general health needs of Carleton students.” 

SHAC staff will be relieved of the burden of testing. In the absence of dealing with the administering of tests, they can return to focusing solely on student health outside of COVID-19, and provide better and more focused care in that realm. 

The testing site is open from 11-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. on weekdays and 4-6 p.m. on weekends. Anyone with symptoms of the novel coronavirus who have been identified as a close contact to a case or possess extenuating circumstances that require a test, may walk in for a rapid COVID test. The COVID rapid testing site administers BinaxNow rapid tests to students. After checking in, students requesting a test swab their own nose, place the swab into an agent and then hand it off to the staff at the testing site. In approximately 30 minutes, the person tested will be notified via email if they have tested negative or will receive a phone call if they have tested positive. 

Cashman pointed out that the opening of this new facility was a “collaborative, involved and rewarding process.” He continued, “the campus operations team (COT) worked with the Core Team, SHAC, HR, CICT, Facilities, and  many others to create and launch the testing site. The role of COT was to gather requirements for the testing site, organize the logistics for its operation, and finally execute the launch and continued operation of the testing site.”

Cashman commented on the new COVID-19 testing site at Carleton and the safety benefits it provides. “Our hope is that the Carleton community will benefit from having daily access to a convenient rapid COVID-19 testing site creating a comfortable space/process for Carleton community members to be tested for mild symptoms or other related concerns.” 

Cashman further noted that the opening of the rapid COVID-19 testing site will “likely result in identifying positive cases earlier and more frequently,” according to Cashman. This will be highly advantageous in curbing the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Removing barriers and requirements for who can get tested and under what circumstances will allow more students, faculty and staff to get tested when they feel in need. Positive cases will be identified and isolated earlier, deterring the proliferation of COVID-19 cases on campus. 

Anyone who has meandered around the basement of Burton recently can certainly attest to the utility of a separate testing site. The lines have been of considerable length, and without a distinct testing area, would be plaguing the SHAC waiting room.  According to Elise Lehman ‘23, “being able to get tested easily when I’m worried about potentially having COVID has been exceptional. It puts my mind at ease. And if I test positive, I’ll be able to protect my peers sooner.”

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