Last week thousands of Clemson’s off campus students began testing for COVID-19 in preparation for the return to on-campus instruction. Despite my high praise for the convenience and effectiveness of the Rymedi QR code, I left the testing site feeling a little uneasy about the testing procedures.
After waiting in the quick-moving line, I found myself inside one of the med tents with about 4 other students. We were all seated in plastic chairs which left only about one to two feet of distance between us. Once seated and given our own individual test vials, we proceeded to take our masks off and begin hocking loogies, all while sitting in close proximity to one another. It seemed so… backwards. We were in that tent for the sole purpose of testing for a highly contagious virus, but we were also all quite literally swapping spit within a couple feet of one another. On top of that, my test administrator’s mask was definitely hanging out underneath her nose, almost eliminating the purpose of even wearing one. I understand that the pressure of having to test thousands of students within a short time period is a lot, but I don’t think the place for cutting corners should be the safe distance between students, especially not when we’re exchanging bodily fluids within a crammed med tent. I’d prefer longer wait times over possibly contracting the virus in the very location that I’m getting tested for it.
Additionally, I’m slightly off put in the discontinuity of the testing itself. I only partook in the saliva test, but I know many people that had the nasal swab, or a combination of both. I don’t doubt that the tests are similar enough in accuracy to the point where they can be interchanged, but shouldn’t that be explained to the student body, most of which are depending on these test results to ensure that they can finally return onto their beloved campus? A lack of information from the university seems to be the largest complaint of the student body and I have to agree. Why were some people subject to sticking a swab into their brains and others only had to spit into a vial?
Just like the rest of 2020, I’m left with more questions than answers. Stay safe out there, Tigers.