Administration must test students for COVID-19


Courtesy of Susan Wente

Administration is encouraging masks, but this encouragement falls short.

Editorial Staff

In October 2020, Wake Forest implemented new restrictions on gatherings because of rising COVID-19 cases in an effort to “evaluate the prevalence of the virus and slow the pace of its spread while we determine if further steps will be required to contain it.” Fifteen months later, Wake Forest has yet to utilize one of the most important methods of containing a pandemic: testing for the virus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has entered its third year. 800,000 Americans have died, COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached an all-time high and now the Omicron variant is spreading like wildfire. There cannot be more evidence needed for Wake Forest to take every preventative measure that it can afford.

Universities across the country are using every resource available to them, taking action above and beyond medical recommendations. While both Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are requiring pre-arrival tests, Wake Forest has yet to require university-wide COVID-19 testing for its students. 70 positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed within the first month of the semester. Decisive action is needed. 

In the past, Wake Forest’s utilization of COVID-19 testing was essential to identifying positive COVID-19 cases and consequently allowing these individuals to isolate themselves in order to reduce the chances of infecting others. At this time, we strongly encourage the administration to pursue COVID-19 testing in any capacity, so that the university may better adjust its policies if testing locates an outbreak within the Wake Forest community.

Ultimately, the students, staff, faculty and administration of this university have a responsibility to keep each other and the Winston-Salem community at large safe and healthy. 

As students, we must understand that we have an equal commitment to the professors and administration officials who love us and sacrifice for us every day. Although university policies and requirements can make a significant difference in the issues that we face, we are the ones that must hold each other accountable in order to ensure positive change. 

Our administration must meet us halfway in this effort. Testing will allow our administration to strive after more than recommended guidelines, and towards a more perfect safeguard against any potential harm to Wake Forest.

Whether this is your first COVID-19 semester at Wake Forest or your fifth, there is very little wavering in the desire to remain on campus for these next 17 weeks. But this can only be accomplished if both the administration and students work together. One must create safe, consistent and clear guidelines and practices, while the other must realize that these measures are necessary and be more than willing to accept this. We know it may not be pleasant, we know you would rather not, we know it won’t be easy, but we know that this is possible, and we know that we can do it.