Fix JSU's COVID-19 Testing Situation!

Fix JSU's COVID-19 Testing Situation!

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Ryan Hayes started this petition to JSU administration

JSU's COVID-19 testing situation is ineffective and is putting students at risk. It is located in our campus's student health center, which is a small and underprepared medical facility. A requirement of receiving a free COVID test is that you must be symptomatic, even if you have been directly exposed to someone who has tested for the virus. This is ineffective because studies have shown that the incubation period of the virus can range between 2-10 days, and the carrier of the virus poses a risk of infecting anyone during this period even without symptoms. While the student could lie or exaggerate their symptoms in order to receive the test, many are unwilling to do this and are either swayed entirely out of receiving a test or see temporary isolation as their only option. 

Even if you are symptomatic and receive a test, the testing facility is incredibly overwhelmed and overcrowded whenever cases and exposures are high. This is not the fault of the health center's staff, however it is very disconcerting to students and may result in symptomatic students deciding against getting tested and continuing to put other students at risk. The waiting room and triage is also very small and completely insufficient for social distancing. Therefore, many students who are symptomatic with something else (allergies, strep/flu, etc.) are somewhat likely to contract the virus within the facility. This is yet another reason why students are likely to opt out of getting tested even if they need to. 

Our original testing process, hosted by an independent organization, was much more effective for tackling the tough job of COVID testing. This is because it was in the Pete Matthews Coliseum on campus, which is extremely large, spacious, and conducive for social distancing. It was also self-administered, which made the process much more palatable for students who may be apprehensive of medical procedures. We need to replicate this testing process in the Pete Matthews Coliseum, or at least create a system of preparedness and an overflow option in that facility for when cases are rising en masse. The student health center is very effective for testing whenever case numbers are low, however it is completely disastrous when they are particularly high. The medical staff at the health center does not deserve to be so overloaded.

If we cannot use the Pete Matthews Coliseum for testing, we should look into a different option such as limiting use of the health center waiting room whenever cases are high, or by implementing a drive-through test administration process. The health center has an awning at its front entrance which would be sufficient for conducting drive-thru tests for students who request one. 

We must also administer tests freely to anyone who requests one, or at the very least, to any students who have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. We are not a large university and directing funding into enough tests is absolutely reasonable and necessary. Please consider signing and sharing this petition in order to get appropriate and sufficient COVID-19 testing.

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