On Mar. 1, Salisbury University began administering weekly COVID-19 tests to students while staff were required to be tested twice a month. With the new protocol comes consequences for those who miss a test.
Salisbury University Campus Health announced that students residing on campus who miss more than three tests may be suspended from housing. What happens to students who live off campus and staff members who miss more than three tests?
Megan Gresham, an SU Campus Health nurse practitioner says that "students, faculty and staff who fall out of compliance with their testing requirements lose access to SU facilities through an automated process. For students, this means they cannot attend in-person classes. Access is restored once the student or employee is tested negative and results are received."
SU is not alone in enforcing strict weekly COVID-19 testing policies. At the University of Hartford, "students who do not show up for testing will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. [Possible] sanctions may include loss of housing."
Other colleges have leaned into harsh and unproductive methods of disciplining those who do not appear for their tests. Baylor University students who miss two tests will not "be able to participate in any co-curricular activities for the rest of the semester. If they miss three tests, [they will] also lose Wi-Fi access on campus," according to The Texas Tribune.
There is no mentioning of circumstantial excuses for students who accidentally miss tests due to an emergency or work. I understand the importance of keeping a university community safe, but life is unpredictable.
I hope SU steers clear of disciplinary policies found at Baylor University.
While a great deal of Salisbury's professors teach online, there are still those who teach in person each week. Staff on campus who teach to students in classrooms should be tested as frequently as we are.
I believe in rapid testing for students, faculty and staff. However, if a student misses more than three COVID-19 tests, they should not automatically lose their housing.
Offering chances to reschedule and communicating with students could keep SU safe without removing people from their place of residence.
By HAYLEE OLLEY
Staff photo courtesy of Ben Lausch.