SPU’s COVID-19 testing procedure

SPU to administer 800 tests in first week of quarter, hopes to limit spread of virus

Kyle Morrison, News Editor

In an email sent to the Seattle Pacific University community on Dec. 18, administration announced their plan to test every student living on SPU during the first week of the winter quarter. There will be around 800 non athlete students who will have to be tested upon returning to campus for winter quarter according to Vice Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement Jeff Jordan. 

SPU has acquired 1400 Binax Now COVID-19 Ag tests from the state of Washington to use throughout the quarter. These tests provide results in around 15 minutes. According to Jordan the University will use 800 of the tests in order to test all on campus students during the first week of classes, while the extra 600 will be used to randomly test 75 students every week after that. Students will have to consent to be a part of the pool of random test subjects. 

Testing will be done from Tuesday January 5 through Friday January 8. Dean of Students for Community Life Chuck Strawn sent out an email with the full schedule. Testing will be done each day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each dorm hall will have its own day with Ashton going first on Tuesday. Apartments have been given their own order.

“We want to assign time periods for students to come through these four stations, and it’s going to be at the Dravus parking lot in the lower tier,” Jordan said. “You’re going to check in, you’ll get tested, you’ll get your results.”

Jordan explained that all students, whether they receive a positive test or not, will be asked to go back to their residence halls after completing the testing process. 

“As you get your results, if you’re positive you will go to the next station, if you’re negative, you just go back to your room, you’re fine,” Jordan said. “If you’re positive, we’ll still ask students to go back to their residence hall room with a mask all safe, but stay there until residence life staff or facilities staff contact a student about moving to isolation.”

Jordan and administration hope that by mandating limited interactions throughout the first week, positive test subjects will not be able to spread the virus through their dorms while isolation spaces are being organized. 

Ashton hall and Hill hall are both communal style dorm halls where residents share bathrooms with their floormates. This means that if a student tests positive and is sent back to their residence, they will still have to use the shared space  if they need to use the restroom or shower.

Jordan is hoping to avoid floor wide quarantines this quarter, and is optimistic that SPU’s current bathroom cleaning policies will mitigate possible floor wide spread of the virus. 

“We’ll ask people to limit interaction, again if someone has to use the restroom, they have to use the restroom, we’ll go in and clean, take all the precautions,” Jordan explained.

Despite the logistical challenge ahead for the university, Jordan believes SPU faculty, staff, students, and facilities are prepared for the challenge.

“We’re testing 800 people,” Jordan said. “I believe we can work through it, I believe in our students to do really well with all this, we’ll do what we can with what we have available to us.”