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Some Faculty Members Question Effectiveness of Random Covid Testing

Graphic of COVID-19 Testing Center

COVID-19 Testing Center | Graphic by Grace Merkle | The Wright State Guardian

The Wright State (WSU)  Faculty Senate raised concerns about the sustainability of the on-campus COVID-19 testing center.

COVID testing center

The COVID-19 testing center conducts rapid COVID testing in order to detect asymptomatic COVID cases according to Dean of Students, Chris Taylor. 

“The required testing has allowed us to find asymptomatic COVID cases in [the WSU community] that would have otherwise gone unnoticed,” Taylor said.

The COVID testing center has distributed thousands of at-home tests to students, faculty, and staff according to Taylor. Taylor states that these tests are funded by the state of Ohio. 

“Tests were provided free of charge by the State of Ohio and the testing center is funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and federal government COVID funds,” Taylor said.

Testing effectiveness

The Faculty Senate discussed concerns regarding surveillance testing effectiveness at the Nov. 15 meeting. President Sue Edwards stated at the meeting that the university identified roughly seven asymptomatic cases a week out of about 437 tests administered. 

However, According to Taylor, there were seven positive tests out of 701 total tests administered this semester with a 0.009% positivity rate.

Faculty Opinions

Some professors believe that surveillance testing is helpful in combating COVID cases on campus. Dr. Sara Paton, a professor in the Population and Public Health Sciences (PPHS) and epidemiologist, states that this is a useful tool to monitor COVID levels on campus.

“It provides data for us to help make decisions on COVID mitigation strategies, such as mask-wearing and providing classes online versus in-person,” Paton said. 

Surveillance testing shows whether COVID levels are increasing or decreasing according to Paton.

The Wright State Guardian reached out to Dr. Amanda Hinson-Enslin and she did not provide a response.

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