Campus Urged to Stay Vigilant; COVID-19 Testing Site Moved Indoors

Olivia DrakeNovember 17, 20206min
covid testing
Wesleyan’s COVID-19 testing site moved to Beckham Hall for the winter season. (Photos by Simon Duan ’23)

With the holiday season approaching, Wesleyan’s Pandemic Planning Committee (PPC) reminds students, faculty, and staff to remain vigilant and safe.

“We have made it past the election and the Thanksgiving holiday is in sight,” wrote Wesleyan’s Medical Director and PCC member Dr. Tom McLarney in an email to the campus community on November 16. “As you are undoubtedly aware, the coronavirus pandemic has entered an alarming new phase, with cases rising sharply in most parts of the country and moderate increases in Connecticut. Despite the rigorous testing and safety protocols the University put in place, we are not immune from these trends, as we have also seen an increase in cases recently, though our positivity rate remains quite low.”

Earlier this month, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont rolled the state back to “phase 2.1,” reinstating many restrictions on both indoor and outdoor gatherings. Wesleyan continues to follow state and federal guidance closely. Wesleyan’s own campus alert level is currently YELLOW, and students are advised against any unnecessary travel off campus. In addition, the Freeman Athletic Center remains closed.

To keep campus as safe as possible, Dr. McLarney urges everyone to continue to follow COVID safety guidelines, including wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and practicing careful hand washing. “The current evidence supports that face coverings—whether surgical masks or multilayered cloth masks—protect both the person wearing them along with those around them,” he wrote.

Students who are experiencing symptoms or who believe they may have been exposed should contact the Health Services team.

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Guests enter the new COVID-19 testing site through Fayerweather’s east-facing door.

“I remind you to please stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness or believe you may have been exposed to COVID,” said Rick Culliton, dean of students and chair of Wesleyan’s Pandemic Planning Committee. “If this occurs, employees should contact their personal healthcare providers or get tested at a local drugstore or urgent care center. Do not come to the Wesleyan test tent to be tested if you are ill, believe you have been exposed, or are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. Please continue to follow COVID safety protocols at all times.”

As the weather turns colder, Wesleyan on Nov. 9 relocated its COVID-19 testing site from the tent on Andrus Field to an indoor location in Fayerweather.

After booking an appointment online, Wesleyan students, staff, and faculty enter the testing site through Fayerweather’s east-side door. They sanitize, receive a temperature check, blow their nose, and then proceed upstairs to Beckham Hall, where they check in, re-sanitize, and receive the anterior nasal swab Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Once inside the building, test-takers need to stay 12 feet apart. They exit through Fayerweather’s west-facing door.

Test results are emailed within 36 hours.

Testing will continue through Thanksgiving recess, with all students testing twice per week, and faculty and staff working on campus testing at least once per week. The testing site will be closed Nov. 25–30 for Thanksgiving, and will reopen with a reduced schedule (Wednesdays, 7 a.m.–4 p.m.) on December 3.

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Test-takers are asked to stay 12 feet apart inside; distances are marked by floor stickers.

As everyone looks forward to the holidays, McLarney also suggests reviewing this holiday gathering preparation guide from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which offers sound advice to reduce risk associated with holiday celebrations.

“I’d like to say how thankful I am to our entire community for your tremendous efforts in keeping our campus safe this semester,” McLarney said. “Be well and enjoy the upcoming break.”

For additional information and resources, visit Wesleyan’s Keep Wes Safe website.