News, On Campus, Featured Story, Coronavirus Updates

BC to Increase Surveillance Testing This Week

In response to the spike in COVID-19 cases reported during the second week of classes, Boston College will add an additional day of testing next week, bringing the number of days of surveillance testing to four. The University conducted more than 4,000 tests last week and expects to perform more than 5,000 tests this week, according to Associate Vice President for University Communications Jack Dunn. 

Dunn said the increase in testing will be a combination of increases in testing for high-contact employees and random asymptomatic surveillance testing. The random surveillance testing will now occur Monday through Thursday, and results will be posted Tuesday through Friday. Students who are symptomatic will continue to be able to get a test any day. 

Included in these tests, Dunn said, will be high-contact individuals such as resident assistants and student employees in dining services. These students will now receive weekly testing for the duration of the semester, as BC said it would do during a summer update.

Other outlets have similarly reported that the University was not providing weekly tests to students in high-contact positions. Dunn did not respond by press time when asked why the University did not begin the year testing students in high-contact positions once per week, as it had initially stated.

“It disgusts me that they did not respond to the request of their employees when they were concerned, but waited for public scrutiny to decide that weekly testing is the right thing to do,” said one anonymous student who worked in BC Dining before quitting after being denied testing. 

Last week, the University reported 73 new cases among undergraduates out of 2,067 tests, a positivity rate of 3.53 percent. This week, the positivity rate fell down to .54 percent, with 15 cases out of 2,790 undergraduate tests.

Even as the University ramps up its testing, it won’t be testing each undergraduate weekly, as other universities in the Boston area have been. 

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Editor

September 21, 2020