DSU continues testing while awaiting vaccine

Julia Bean, a junior nursing major from Mapleton, volunteered at the testing center in the Gardner Ballroom on Tuesday Jan. 12. Photo by Bailey Chamberlain.

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As the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines come to the U.S., healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, first responders, and K-12 teachers and school staff are on Utah’s list of priorities.

In Time’s vaccine tracker, Utah has been allotted 227,025 first doses covering 7.1% of Utah’s population.

Judy Scott, interim nursing department chair, said nursing students have had the opportunity to get vaccinated by working at St. George Regional Medical Center since as they qualify as health care workers. She said higher education is not on the list of those who are eligible for vaccinations, but it should be.

Dixie State University’s response is to keep testing its students as more vaccines are distributed to states. Testing will be available to students for free one week each month this semester. Jan. 12-15 was the first of those screening periods.

Future testing dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 16-19
  • Mar. 15-19
  • Apr. 26-29

Faculty, staff and students have volunteered to assist in the testing effort.

One of these volunteers, Dean of Education Brenda Sabey, said she believes DSU has created an effective process that can test many students, but she is concerned that students are not signing up.

Josh Thayn, executive director of event services and risk management, said, “The university does not require its students to be tested at this time, but [it] is highly encouraged.”

However, nine out of 10 DSU students who were interviewed while in line for testing said they believe getting tested is important.

“Approximately 400 students have signed up and have been tested in the first screening period,” Thayn said. “But I would love to see more students take advantage of the opportunity.”

Students can sign up to be tested by going to DSU’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan.

“Students need to take that step and sign up,” Sabey said. “It takes very little time; it is completely safe and it’s free.”