COVID-19 testing site closures impact some students involved in athletics, performing arts
Temporary closures pose challenges for some students who rely on regular testing
The Office of Campus Life announced temporary closures of the coronavirus testing site for on-campus events, creating inconveniences and hiccups for students needing to get tested. This decision comes after American University announced changes to the COVID-19 testing schedule Feb. 28.
The first email on March 28 announced that the testing site on East Campus – which opens at 8 a.m. every weekday – would close at 11:30 a.m. on March 28 and remain closed through March 30 for an unspecified on-campus event. COVID-19 testing would still be available at the Washington College of Law Monday through Thursday, the email said.
The March 31 email announced the testing site will close at 11:30 a.m. April 7 and remain closed April 8 for New Eagle Day, an event to welcome new first-year AU students and their families.
“Programs will occur in multiple event spaces on campus, including Constitution Hall on East Campus,” the email said.
“As we’ve communicated to a variety of stakeholders, the space is being used for a special event during those dates/times,” University spokesperson Elizabeth Deal told The Eagle.
Veronica Marcone, a sophomore in the School of International Service who works at the COVID-19 testing site, said she received some emails about a schedule change from her supervisors. She said she typically works about 15 hours a week – a base schedule of 11 to 12 hours per week with an additional three or four hours depending on her availability – but only worked 11 to 12 hours each of the past two weeks due to the closures.
Marcone said these changes have not significantly affected her because she was not scheduled to work the dates of the closures, but the type of shifts she works look different.
“I would usually go to the clinic shifts which are at the testing site,” Marcone said. “Instead, [my supervisors] put me on the walking shift, which is when you go around the building and check to make sure people have masks or give them masks.”
Even when the University went mask-optional from March 21 through April 12, Marcone said she still was tasked with walking around the buildings on the quad, providing masks for students who needed one.
Bryn Underwood, a sophomore in the Kogod School of Business, has to test for COVID-19 regularly because she is on AU’s field hockey team. Originally, student-athletes were required to test twice a week, but now the requirement is once per week, she said.
“As someone who’s involved in a lot, I try to schedule out my day, so I try to get tested Mondays and Wednesdays because those are my freest days, but the testing site has been closed throughout the day whenever I need to test,” Underwood said. “It’s been pretty much an inconvenience.”
Underwood said she is also involved in theater for her minor. The need to get tested this week was especially timely as the Department of Performing Arts just finished technical week and is preparing for opening night for AU’s production of “Into the Woods.”
“We have this resource at school for us to use,” Underwood said, referring to the COVID-19 testing site. “So when it’s not given to us on the days that they promised us, it’s just a bit of a bummer.”