Trinity Treasure

COVID-19 Testing Center

Testing center
Photo by Helder Mira

Someday, Trinity College students will tell future generations about living through the COVID-19 pandemic, and their stories will include being on Trinity’s campus. Everyone is wearing masks, and the Memorial Field House in the Ferris Athletic Center has been transformed into a COVID-19 Testing Center, with coaches and staff directing everyone to stop at each station: Blow your nose … disinfect hands … register … wait … swab … cap sample … disinfect hands … drop off sample. Stats from the fall 2020 semester include: approximate time inside the center—five minutes; number of students tested twice weekly—1,920; number of faculty, staff, and affiliates tested weekly—750; and total tests conducted—54,000. More of the same was anticipated for the spring.

Teamwork makes the testing center tick. Athletics staff and coaches join individuals from Student Life, Health Services, and other offices to keep the operation going round-the-clock, much like a continuous relay race. In the fall, assistant coaches shared responsibilities with courier-service drivers in making 11 weekly car runs (twice each weekday and once on Saturdays) to Cambridge, Massachusetts, delivering samples for processing by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (in the spring, couriers were expected to do all the driving). Trinity staff spend hours on the phone—following up on test results, conducting contact tracing, and isolating active cases—to limit the spread of the virus and to keep the community safe.

Trinity Athletic Director Drew Galbraith, who with his team oversees the testing center, says, “Creating a positive environment is essential. We’re there being supportive and friendly and helping everyone have a little bit better day. It’s challenging, but everyone understands—we’re in this together, and everybody has an important role to play.”

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