COVID-19 Tests Available As Students Leave Campus

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Free testing is available at Putnam County Hospital by appointments, and the university is also providing additional testing options at cost for students through appointments as well, according to Mariel Wilderson, a member of the COVID-19 Task Force, and Stevie Baker-Watson, associate vice president for campus wellness and athletic director. 

COVID-19 testing through DePauw will cost $195 for the CRLClear saliva PCR test, saliva testing, and $125 for the Helix COVID-19 RT-PCR test, which is a lower nasal swab. The university will charge the students’ accounts if they decide to do testing through the Health Center. 

With the fall semester on campus ending and on-campus students traveling home, DePauw informed students of these opportunities after they received many requests for COVID-19 testing.

Despite these options for testing, Wilderson believes that getting tested might not be the best idea. 

“A single test can give a false sense of security to those who are being tested, and we wouldn’t recommend an ‘exit’ test that is standalone,” Wilderson said. “Non-pharmaceutical interventions – masking, distancing, washing hands and surfaces frequently, and staying away from others when you don’t feel well – are far more effective to reduce viral transmission.”

Alison Tallen, a senior on campus, will be traveling through Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin to get home to Minnesota. Her route takes her through Chicago, which is on lockdown right now. 

“I am nervous about driving home. My dad is an at-risk individual, and I can’t even imagine what it would be like if he got COVID-19,” Tallen said. “Often when police officers see the out of state plates they pull me over. That is just an added COVID risk that I am forced to take.”

Another student, Nathaniel Swanson, a sophomore, is also nervous about flying back home to New York. 

“It’s a bit stressful to think about having to travel, but once I’m home, I won’t have much to worry about,” Swanson said, “My dad will take the necessary precautions that will need to be taken to keep me and my family safe.” 

Swanson also believes that he will feel less at risk at home rather than at DePauw. “People at DePauw tend to do whatever they want. I will have more control over my own situation and my family when I am back home,” Swanson said.

With the upcoming move out date, many family members will be traveling to help students pack up. Additional procedures have been implemented to move out to reduce the risk of a potential outbreak of COVID-19.

Students are allowed to have two people help while moving out of university-owned housing. Helpers are not permitted inside the buildings and must be wearing masks at all times. Students will have to get help from other students on campus and commuter students for physical help inside residence halls. More information regarding move-out protocols and procedures can be found on the Housing and Residence Life website

The main guidelines are the same as in previous years. Students will need to vacate, clean rooms, and empty all trash completely. Keys should be put in envelopes and given back to the housing office or given to DePauw Police.