Students experience difficulties getting a COVID-19 test

Students are struggling to find available COVID-19 tests near campus. Graphic courtesy of montagehealth.org

EMMA CHAMLEY | STAFF REPORTER | echamley@butler.edu

As COVID-19 cases have risen on campus, the need for testing at Health Services has grown. Compounding the problem is the recent resignation of Rhonda Jackson, former interim director of Health Services. 

First-year exploratory business major, Grace Hensley, said she had trouble getting tested last week. Hensley is on Butler’s women’s lacrosse team, so when she started experiencing COVID-like symptoms Monday, Aug. 30, she contacted her athletic trainer, Claire Moorman. 

Hensley said Moorman gave her a phone number to call the Health and Recreation Center, HRC, in order to get a COVID-19 test. She was redirected to another phone number within Health Services. Hensley called on Thursday, Sept. 2, needing a test for Friday, Sept. 3. Hensley said Health Services was not able to give her a test on-campus before Labor Day, but instead told her that she could walk into a clinic off campus.

“It was really frustrating because the HRC didn’t have any [tests], and I was like ‘now what,’” said Hensley. “So I spent the whole day Friday trying to figure out what to do.”

Health Services directed Hensley to a clinic called Dr. Aziz Medical Clinic, which is about 20 minutes off campus. Hensley does not have a car on campus and although she could borrow a car from a suitemate, she was concerned about how far the clinic was from campus. 

“If I didn’t have access to a car, I would have had to wait, and I didn’t want to keep exposing my roommates,” Hensley said. “But then if I was put into [quarantine at] Ross Hall, I don’t know if they would have let me come out.” 

Hensley, who is vaccinated, tested negative but said the whole experience was frustrating.   

In an email to The Butler Collegian, Scott Peden, the executive director of student well-being, said that recently COVID-19 testing has been very difficult not only at Butler, but across the nation. 

“Now that testing is in demand again, healthcare providers, clinics, hospitals, government agencies, schools, universities included, are sort of scrambling to change course again,” Peden said.  

Peden said the COVID-19 surveillance system, which involves testing and contact tracing, has focused testing on unvaccinated students, who are required to be tested weekly in the basement of the HRC. Peden stressed that currently, testing is primarily for unvaccinated students and that there are limited tests reserved for vaccinated students. 

“We’ll do our best to fit in students that may feel they’ve been exposed or have other concerns but there is a maximum of tests that we can conduct each day,” Peden said. “If students have symptoms, we want them to schedule an appointment with the Health Services.” 

Other Butler students have expressed concerns about rising COVID-19 cases and difficulty getting tested. Anastasia Reinholt, first year exploratory business major, said she was worried about people with COVID-like symptoms on campus. 

“I know people who have had bad colds who have been coughing and stuff, and it’s kind of scary because we don’t really know who could have COVID, or who just has a cold,” Reinholt said. “It’s also hard because most people are vaccinated, and people have been getting it even when they’re vaccinated.”

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