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COVID Testing at Coliseum

Site open through Saturday only to WVU employees

West Virginia University on Monday began testing 7,200 employees for COVID-19 who are expected to be on the Morgantown campus when fall semester begins in less than a month.

“It’s for 7,200 full and hybrid workers,” said Erin Newmeyer, WVU’s director of Projects for Strategic Initiatives. Student testing starts next Monday.

On Monday, the first day of testing, WVU had set up five drive-thru lanes and one walk-up in the parking lot of the Coliseum. Students will be tested  at the Mountainlair and the Student Rec Center.

Testing for faculty and employees continues through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 27 through Aug. 1, and Aug. 3-8,  all at the Coliseum. 

The university, which will offer classes   in person and online, requires  everyone who will be on campus at Morgantown and at its branch campuses in Beckley and Keyser,  be tested for the virus. Employees who refuse can face unpaid leave or possible job loss. Students, meanwhile, can face fines of $250.

Info placed on windshield for COVID testing
Information is placed on a windshield telling testers this person is ready to be tested.

By 12:15 p.m. Monday, 240 employees and faculty had been tested for the virus, about half what they hope to test daily.

The university, which hired QLabs Inc. of Charleston to conduct and process the COVID-19 tests, is spending $4 million to get everyone tested. Results should be back in three to five days, Newmeyer said.  

On Monday, faculty and staff who stopped to speak with The Dominion Post seemed to be in good spirits about the tests.

“Kind of tickled,” said Travis Stimeling, who teaches music history. “It’s no big deal, but I am not sure it will help with the outbreak.”

“I don’t have a problem with it,” said William Michaels, an HVAC technician. “It needs to be done.”

The typical drive-up takes six minutes to complete. Once date of birth and WVU identification are verified, a QLabs technician will conduct the test. 

When complete, employees are then instructed to drive over to a tent where they are given a Welcome Back kit, which includes two disposable masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and a tool that helps people not touch common surfaces. They then get their choice of a WVU face mask or WVU gaiter.   

“I am fine with it,” said Margaret Leech, a project estimator.

Added Sarah Millam, a psychologist at the Carruth Center, “I am really glad we’re  doing this.”

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