CWU News

Students Applaud CWU’s Pre-Thanksgiving COVID-19 Testing

Student participation in Central Washington University’s recent Pre-Thanksgiving Optional COVID-19 Testing indicates they probably would not have done so had the university not made it convenient.

On November 12-13, CWU provided free COVID-19 testing to 361 students in the Nicholson Pavilion Field House. University medical staff also administered 134 flu shots to students.

“When I talked to students and asked, would they have considered being tested in the CWU clinic or KVH if this event had not happened, they said probably not, and others said they hadn't really thought about it,” noted Dr. Carylin Holsey, CWU’s director of Student Health Services.

“The general consensus of the students is they were glad we did the testing,” Holsey said. “Most said they tested out of concern for their family members and friends when they go home for the holidays.”

As a result of the testing, Central reported that eight students tested positive.

“All eight of the students are doing fine and are being monitored closely,” according to Gregg Heinselman, CWU’s Dean of Student Success.

Dr. Mark Larson, the Kittitas County Public Health Officer, said it was important that everyone in the local community, including CWU students, staff, and faculty, remain vigilant because the virus is highly infectious and has proven challenging to control.

“It’s essential that everyone continue to do the things recommended by health experts, such as wearing a face covering, frequently washing your hands, keeping your social distance from others, and avoiding social gatherings as much as possible,” he said.

“Our goal with this testing was to give our students an opportunity to get a free COVID-19 test before making the decision to head home and potentially spread the virus to those who might be vulnerable,” said Shawnté Elbert, CWU’s associate dean for health and wellness.

Elbert said the university will follow up the testing event with mandatory testing of all students when they return for winter quarter in early January.

Those who chose to be tested at home must provide the Student Health Services with the results upon their return. The test must be equivalent to the PCR tests used on campus and should be no older than 72 hours (from the time it was performed to the time it is provided to campus health officials).

The university will conduct all classes remotely during the first two weeks of the quarter, then will resume instruction utilizing the hybrid model used during the fall quarter, with classes largely taught remotely and some in-person instruction.