DSU to add COVID-19 testing stations on campus

Starting in January, DSU students who live on campus or have classes on campus must be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks. The testing is enforced by Gov. Gary Herbert’s latest mandate announced Nov. 23. Photo courtesy of unsplash.

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To follow Gov. Gary Herbert’s updated Nov. 23 order requiring higher education students to be tested every two weeks, Dixie State University will begin COVID-19 testing this week.

Josh Thayn, executive director of event services and risk management, said DSU students with at least one in-person class or students who live on campus should participate in the free, non-invasive testing.

Stacy Schmidt, public relations and publications coordinator, said DSU understands the governor’s order requiring that all students need to be tested, and the higher education age group is responding well to positive measures.

Schmidt said, “We are planning to approach [COVID-19 testing] from a positive perspective, helping students see the value in getting these free, non-invasive tests to protect their immediate circles as well as the broader community.”

There will be a testing station in the Kenneth N. Gardner Student Center ballroom, which will be available from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, 3, 7 and 8. Students will need to register in advance, and the Booth Wellness Center is finalizing the registration system and will add more information to its website as soon as possible.

Garyn Gulbranson, director of the Booth Wellness Center, said DSU staff members were provided training by the Utah Department of Health to work at the testing stations.

Gulbranson said DSU can conduct 3,920 COVID-19 tests starting this week, and in order to test all eligible students in accordance with the new order of every two weeks for the spring semester, the university needs approximately 17,600 tests per month.

Schmidt said students haven’t demonstrated any resistance to being tested, and the Booth Wellness Center wants to work with every student who has not been tested to address their concerns to best protect their health, as well as the health of their fellow students, faculty and families.

“Our students are very service-oriented, and we are optimistic that they will cooperate with the governor’s mandate given that this is a service to the community,” Schmidt said.

If students do show resistance and are unwilling to get tested, DSU will look to the state for clear-cut guidelines on next steps.

Thayn said DSU is working hard to prepare for next semester, and it will continue to prioritize students and their health while offering them a quality educational experience.