Universities In Southern Utah Prepare For Weekly COVID-19 Testing For Students

Nov 16, 2020

Dixie State University and Southern Utah University are planning how to incorporate weekly COVID-19 testing on campus for students. Testing will be highly encouraged at DSU rather than mandatory.
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Gov. Gary Herbert announced last week that as part of the state’s newest plans for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and reducing hospital capacity, all college and university students in the state attending in-person classes will need to be tested for COVID-19 each week.

“We’re not going to drag anybody out of their dorm rooms and say, ‘Come get tested,'" said Richard Williams, President of Dixie State University. "What we’re trying to do as an institution, and all of the institutions in the state of Utah, is to balance that mandate — that requirement — so that students don’t push back on it. But this is something that will help us keep you in school. This will be something that decreases the spread.”

Williams said his school will recieve 2,000 testing kits from the federal governmen and does not yet know when they will begin testing.

“I’m thinking probably the earliest will be after Thanksgiving break. Maybe if all the stars align, we can do that sooner,” Williams said.

In Cedar City, Southern Utah University officials are still working on all of the logistics for their weekly COVID-19 testing plan. While the order only applies to students going to school in person, officials will be recommending faculty, staff, and students who are completing all of their classes online still get tested. 

SUU has not yet received any COVID-19 test kits from the federal government and does not have a start date of when testing on campus will begin.

At DSU, Williams said students will be offered incentives for weekly participation. Officials will also work to communicate that getting tested is a way to not only keep yourself safe, but contribute to the greater good. 

“I mean, that is what your generation is about— serving people, about being kind, being sympathetic, and I think that’s what we need to create on our campus,” Williams said.