Simpson partners with test Iowa to offer on-campus COVID testing

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Taylor Hoffman

Simpson student gets tested at the Simpson COVID-19 TestIowa site.

by Colbee Cunningham, Staff Reporter

In an effort to track the spread of the novel coronavirus, Simpson College has partnered with Test Iowa to open an on-campus COVID-19 testing site. 

Operated by Simpson’s Health Services staff, the site is exclusively available to members of the Simpson College community, and all tests are free of charge.

Located in the Campus Services parking lot, the site is in operation from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every weekday. All Simpson College students, faculty members and staff members are eligible to receive a test, as there are no pre-testing stipulations. The site has the capacity to test anywhere from 30 to 60 individuals per day.

In order to receive a test, individuals must schedule an appointment through Test Iowa’s website, selecting Simpson College as their testing destination. They will then be given a designated appointment time and a QR code. The entire process lasts less than ten minutes, and the test itself is administered within a matter of seconds. 

“Overall, the testing was super quick and painless,” sophomore McKala Downing said. “I was almost shocked at how quick it went.”

After the test is administered, the results are sent to the Iowa Hygienic Lab for further analysis. Individuals should expect to receive their results within 48 hours after the test has been sent to the lab. 

Since its opening on Sept. 8, the Simpson’s Test Iowa site has conducted more than 115 tests. Despite this, Simpson has not seen a substantial increase in its number of COVID cases.

For the most part, the student response to the college’s partnership with Test Iowa has been a positive one. Students view the college’s decision as a proactive step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 within the Simpson community.

“I think Simpson providing the tests was a really smart move and, overall, a smart decision, as having it on campus is super convenient,” Downing added. “That way, more people will be tested.”

Taking advantage of its on-campus testing capabilities, Simpson will begin implementing routine testing of student-athletes starting Sept. 21. In conjunction with NCAA guidelines, Simpson will be randomly selecting and testing 10 percent of active athletes on a weekly basis.

“The reason for the NCAA’s recommendation, and our testing plan, is that in most sports athletic engagement is a higher risk activity than almost anything else, aside from communal singing,” Chair of the Crisis Management Team Heidi Levine said. “People are in close contact, for more than 15 minutes, and likely to not be wearing masks while engaging in physical exertion – times they are breathing heavily and thus more likely to spread the virus.”

As it stands, Simpson’s Test Iowa site plans to remain in operation indefinitely.