Izzy Pipa

UVM should supply at-home tests to protect staff

January 25, 2022

It’s calendar year three of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. 

COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in the nation, according to the CDC’S COVID-19 Data Tracker

UVM needs to protect its staff from this battle by supplying free at-home tests.

UVM refuses to reimburse its employees for at-home COVID-19 tests under its current insurance plan, according to a Dec. 22 VTDigger article.

Even more despicable, UVM declined to opt-in to the plan to provide free at-home tests to those insured by them, according to the VTDigger article.

Currently, the school’s policy provides free walk-in tests for asymptomatic and symptomatic staff and faculty members covered by UVM’s insurance, according to the UVM Forward webpage. Those not covered under UVM’s insurance aren’t provided the walk-in tests, according to UVM’s policy. 

Additionally, people who are on UVM’s insurance but not employees of the institution, family or spouses of staff, are not provided the walk-in tests, according to the VTDigger article.

Instead of neglecting its staff, UVM should follow the University of Michigan’s lead and provide free at-home tests. Employees at the University of Michigan are able to claim eight at-home tests through their health insurance, according to a Jan. 15 The University Record article.

The University acknowledged its community would experience an increase in COVID-19 cases, yet still remains stagnant in its policy.

I anticipate we will see a larger number of people testing positive on campus in the weeks to come,” stated Erica Caloiero, interim vice provost for Student Affairs, in a Jan. 11 email to UVM students.

Asymptomatic cases contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19, according to a May 11 2021 UChicago Medicine article.

If UVM wants to protect both its students and staff, the University should find out which staff members test positive before they come on campus to test in the Davis Center. 

UVM’s refusal of covering at-home COVID-19 tests displays the value of their pockets over the health and wellbeing of staff and students.

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