Nick Wendell

UVM needs to bring back required testing

October 15, 2021

During the 2020-21 school year, UVM required COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff, according to UVM’s Green and Gold Promise. They do not now.

UVM needs to bring back weekly testing.

The only people required to test weekly are students with an approved COVID-19 vaccine exemption, according to an Aug. 5 email from Provost Patricia Prelock and Gary Derr, vice president for operations and public safety. 

Although students can schedule an appointment for a test, the option is not enough to keep UVM and the greater Burlington community safe. 

COVID-19 cases this semester are high. During the week of Sept. 13, 45 students tested positive for COVID-19, according to UVM Forward’s weekly testing report. 

UVM put precautions into place in February and March, when positive COVID-19 rose. From March 1 onwards, all students had to test twice a week, with three days between tests, according to a Feb. 25 email from Derr.

Derr’s Feb. 25 email stated all violations of the Green and Gold Promise — with the exception of a missed test — allotted for reviewed suspension. 

UVM students have a nearly 100% vaccination rate, according to a Sept. 9 email from Derr. 

However, the vaccine is slightly less effective against the Delta variant, according to an Aug. 12 New England Journal of Medicine study.  

As the world returns to “normal,” our chances of spreading COVID-19 rapidly increases as students attend off-campus parties, go to large events and interact with people in class.

Regular testing, mask mandates and social distancing policies have the ability to prevent COVID-19 infections, according to a May 4 CDC article.

Weekly testing could cause a decrease in spread of COVID-19.

Senior Katie Doyle tested positive for COVID-19 in September. She said the only reason she got tested this semester was because she wanted to ensure a negative test before returning home. 

Doyle said the nurse she spoke with said many students have COVID-19 and don’t know it because they have mild symptoms or think it’s another sickness. Because of this, Doyle said she believes making testing more accessible is beneficial. 

I understand the desire to return to normal; all I want is a semester without fear, guilt and mask mandates, but I also crave the security of a negative COVID-19 test every week.

If you feel sick or have been in a high risk situation, get tested since it’s not required. Do the right thing and keep our community safe until UVM realizes they need to too.

UVM administration needs to bring back testing.

UVM has a responsibility to their students, their faculty and the people of Burlington. Be part of the solution, not the problem. 

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