This weekend marked a change in testing protocol at Fairfield. March 14 was the first day the new protocol was in place in response to complaints from students and faculty who participate in the weekly testing.
The changes were announced on March 12 in an email students received from the Fairfield University Dean of Students, William Johnson, with regards to the new testing protocol that has been instituted.
As of the Spring 2021 semester students and administration have been getting tested once a week, every week. There were weekly emails sent out to members of the Fairfield University community to sign up for various times to be tested on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
This change to testing has come after Johnson received complaints from students about the long lines outside of the testing center.
“Last Tuesday I saw the line for testing stretching behind the Rec Plex all the way to the rear of Alumni Hall,” he said. “This in addition to emails I received from students about the line for testing affecting their ability to get to class on time led me to believe the issue needed to be addressed.”
The new protocol hopes to limit the busyness and make testing more efficient through the modifications.
Associate Director of Public Safety Frank Ficko commented on the issue and stated the need for change was because “ we’ve noted that there are times when the lines back up into the parking lot behind the Gym and Rec Ctr, hindering traffic flow and creating an unsafe condition. Though we want to keep the lines moving as quickly as possible, doing so safely takes precedent. As we are increasing the number of people for Covid testing , contract security has been hired to help control pedestrian and vehicle traffic.”
The changes include priority being given to students who arrive to be tested within 30 minutes of their scheduled test time, proof of an appointment before entering the testing site, and two lines for testing separating “those who arrive on time and as scheduled” and those who without an appointment will have to “go into the other potentially longer line.”
Additionally, there will be a new presence of Public Safety and other security measures to help direct and oversee the new processes as well as ensure social distancing.
Proof of appointment can be accessed through confirmation and reminder emails as well as reminder text messages sent ahead of the scheduled appointments.
Sophomore Tess Morissey had a positive response to the changes that have been made.
“I feel like the testing process has definitely become more hectic this past week so I am glad that they are putting in place new changes,” she said “At the end of the day it is an amazing opportunity to get tested every week and it is extremely comforting to know that the testing site is there if students need it,” said Morissey.
Another student, Jacalyn Pugliese ‘23, felt similar.
Pugliese said,“I think the new changes are good because sometimes I will plan my testing on the way to class so knowing I won’t be late is very reassuring,” Pugliese said. “I’m glad the school is continuing to weekly test all of us because it is very reassuring.”
Students should continue to comply with CDC guidelines about COVID-19 safety measures and mask wearing. If students show any symptoms of COVID-19 they should immediately contact the Student Health Center for evaluation.
Currently there are 22 active cases on campus. Weekly testing is set to continue for the remainder of the semester to ensure the health and safety of members of the University are the utmost importance.
If there are any questions about the new testing modifications students should contact the Office of the Dean of Students.