COVID Corner: Testing Moved to Student Union

COVID Response Coordinator Madison Reithman provides updates following Sports Center collapse

In an email correspondence with the Quest, Reed COVID-19 Response Coordinator Madison Reithman answered questions regarding the recent winter storm’s effects on Reed’s COVID policy.

Illustration by Mychal J. Miller

Illustration by Mychal J. Miller

During the Sports Center collapse, were COVID testing supplies lost or damaged? How significant is any material loss due to the collapse? 

All of our COVID-19 surveillance testing supplies were located in Gym II of the Sports Center at the time of the roof collapse. In addition to test kits, this also includes shipping materials, computers and other tech equipment, cleaning supplies, tables, chairs, barriers, and more. Unfortunately, we anticipate at least some of it will not be recoverable, but until a full assessment and remediation of the remaining structure is completed, we don’t know exactly how much.

When we learned the roof may collapse, we prioritized safety and did not risk lives to retrieve the materials. Since the roof collapsed, the essential materials have been replaced and 15 boxes of test kits has been retrieved from the Gym II ruins.

Does moving testing to the Student Union pose any challenges? Why was the Sports Center chosen initially, and does the Student Union have any disadvantages? Are there any benefits to moving testing to the Sports Center? 

There are very few spaces on campus that are 1) not currently used for academic purposes, 2) have the room needed to flow hundreds of people through a space in one day while following public health protocols, and 3) have access to power necessary. 

The Student Union meets the needs and was available quickly.  There are no major challenges to the Student Union location and may actually prove to increase testing participation due the location being more central on campus. The disadvantage is primarily that we regret having to take over a student space. 

How significant is it that we didn’t know people’s COVID statuses for a few days when testing was cancelled? Does that gap in knowledge pose any danger? Is Reed doing anything to respond to it? 

Unavoidable or unpredictable disruptions such as this is one of the reasons we have a multi-faceted approach to our COVID-19 response at Reed. We layer prevention measures like testing with masking, social distancing, and restrictions on campus gatherings and visitors so that if/when a component of our response becomes unavailable for a period of time, we have other measures in place. We know this is certainly not ideal, and for a short period of time it does represent an increase in risk on campus; however, we do have other COVID prevention measures in place to protect our community in the aftermath of this extreme event. Actions such as social distancing and mask wearing have been and continue to be the most effective means of COVID prevention on campus, regardless of testing availability. In response to this event, the college took swift action to get testing up and running again as soon as possible, and alerted our COVID response team members to be prepared for a potential increase in COVID cases or exposures. At this time, we have not seen an increase in COVID activity at Reed as a result of the disruption to testing last week.

Are people getting tested now at the same rates that they were before the move to the SU? 

We have now had four days of testing since the move to the Student Union, and on all four of these days the number of individuals tested has been consistent with the numbers seen per day before the move.

Are there other changes to Reed’s COVID policy? How else was it affected by the storm? 

We haven’t identified any needed changes to our COVID protocols on campus as a result of the storm. Thanks to everyone in the Reed community for rolling with the punches!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Stories


We would love your thoughts, please comment!x
%d bloggers like this: