Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, we at Keene State have been expected to test once a week or more in order to help keep our community safe. I think testing is a really great tool we have and the college has been using it in a meaningful and impactful way. However, with the increased rates of students and staff who have been vaccinated, I think we could reevaluate how often the community gets tested. While the way the college conducts testing right now is not the best, it could also be much worse. I think it is flawed but considering how uncertain most people are I think we are doing well with taking things one day at a time. I guess what I mean is that I think the college is trying its best, which is great and appreciated, but sometimes we fall short as a result of our worries and anxieties.
For numerous reasons, I think reworking our testing model would be good for the school. My main reasoning is cost, it is incredibly expensive to test everyone at least once a week, and that by reworking the way we are doing things we could lessen the costs meaning more money could go to other things. And the other big issue to me is that it is really time-consuming. From the student side at least we can sometimes spend upwards of an hour in line, skipping meals or being late to classes as a result, and while I do think that had more to do with the location of the testing sights being in the Student Center it is still an issue that must be dealt with. I understand that, to an extent, health and our safety are budgetless and timeless, as I think to the college our safety is probably the biggest priority right now however I think my solutions could help us still be safe while also limiting costs and lessening the amount of time we have to be getting tested.
I think to start anyone who is not vaccinated should be strongly encouraged to get the vaccine and secondly those who are not vaccinated will be subjected to the same schedule of testing once a week on your respective day, as they will be the most at risk for the virus and by not being vaccinated they are putting others at risk. So they will continue to be testing once a week like they are currently. However, I think vaccinated students and staff should only need to be tested once every other week. For instance, my testing day is on Wednesday, and in this model, I would go, say, this week, then not go, and then go the following week. We would not need to change anyone’s times though, so my testing day would still be Wednesday. Even with this model, we could continue to offer open testing any time to those who want it and testing for those who were in contact with others or have symptoms over at Monadnock Hall. I know this idea would not solve the world’s problems but I think it could at least help out the community more.
Regardless of what is stated above though, I think it would be extremely unsafe and dire to eliminate testing at all. I could see in the future switching to the vaccinated people not getting tested and those who are unvaccinated would be required to test every other week, but I think that it is a bit further away than I would like it to be. I think we still have a lot of work to do as a community and it will not stop anytime soon. But as always, please get vaccinated if you can as it will do you a world of good.
Lydia Mardin can be contacted at