Gonzaga announced that starting March 2, walk-in COVID-19 testing will be made available again to students, in a tweet from the official @GonzagaU Twitter account.
Walk-in testing will be returning to the 729 E. Boone House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through March 31 on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The change comes after an exchange between GU sophomore Natalie Marssdorf and President Thayne McCulloh on Twitter on Feb. 23.
“Can we please get voluntary COVID testing back onto the GU campus? Cases have gone up heavily and many friends I know are not able to access tests to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them,” Marssdorf said.
At the start of the 2021 spring semester, students living on and off-campus were able to receive COVID-19 testing from Jan. 17-19.
After the initial screening, randomized surveillance testing for both on- and off-campus students began Jan. 20. Students were notified by email each week if selected for testing.
Beyond surveillance testing, to request a COVID-19 test, students must show symptoms or have had a potential exposure, requiring an appointment.
Marssdorf goes on to ask to bring back safe, voluntary testing.
“I’m sure that most GU students, both on and off-campus, share this belief,” Marssdorf said.
During the Fall 2020 semester, 12,000 tests were administered to the GU community, according to the Spring arrival and return to Gonzaga undergraduate guide.
In response, McCulloh stated that GU will re-examine walk-in testing but the university is focusing its efforts on signs, symptoms and exposures (SSE) and random surveillance.
Dear Natalie: thank you for your message. I will ask that we re-examine but — In focusing our efforts on signs, symptoms and exposures (SSE) testing, as well as random surveillance, we are following the guidance of the local health district. I promise we will review.— Thayne M. McCulloh (@Gonzaga_Prez) February 24, 2021
“We are following the guidance of the local health district. I promise we will review,” McCulloh said.
Members of the GU community questioned McCulloh’s response.
“Wow. As a parent, I wasn’t aware GU had stopped. I’ve so admired how they’ve handled their covid response to this point,” Twitter user Heather Valdez said.
Wow. As a parent, I wasn’t aware GU had stopped. I’ve so admired how they’ve handled their covid response to this point, but it’s still too early to give up testing. It makes sense to continue!— Heather Valdez (@heatvaldez) February 24, 2021
According to the GU community COVID-19 dashboard, since the beginning of the Spring semester, 14 GU employees, 56 on-campus students and 76 off-campus students tested positive for COVID-19.
In just the last two weeks, 30 on-campus students and 20 off-campus students tested positive.
On Feb. 25, McCulloh announced that GU would act as a vaccination site for Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) patients in an email.
The vaccinations will take place in the Field House in the Martin Centre will begin today and go until March 2.