At the beginning of the spring semester, Temple University announced they were prepared to administer up to 20,000 COVID-19 tests a week for students taking in-person classes or using campus facilities, The Temple News reported.
The university is compelling students to be tested by issuing warnings to those who do not get tested enough according to the number of in-person classes they have, proximity to campus and number of times they use campus facilities a week, per the university’s guidelines, The Temple News reported.
Temple is not requiring faculty and staff to get tested, nor will they notify professors if a student in their class tests positive, unless they were close contacts, in order to maintain confidentiality, The Temple News reported.
The Editorial Board believes the university’s decision to not mandate faculty and staff testing and not notify professors of all positive cases in their classes neglects the trust, well-being and ethical stronghold among its employees and students during the pandemic.
It is unfair to ask students taking in-person classes to be tested up to twice a week while faculty teaching in-person classes are not required to get tested. If campus is to remain safe for all while open, the university must promote a physically and mentally healthy environment to learn in during the pandemic by requiring testing at least once a week for everyone using its facilities and easing the minds of students concerned about contracting the virus.
The Editorial Board also urges the university to notify students and faculty if they’ve been in the same room as someone who has tested positive, regardless of whether they were considered “close contacts.”
Students and faculty are entitled to know if their health or the health of those they are in contact with are affected because of an interaction they had with someone else. While we recognize the university is notifying anyone it deems a close contact, we believe that information should be available to everyone affected to allow for transparency about pandemic protocol.
By having this information available, professors will be able to plan for a safe classroom environment for everyone, and students would be able to maneuver how comfortable they would be in an in-person setting.
Like our peers, professors have different choices and habits about COVID-19, which may or may not align with that of their students. To ensure a safe environment, professors should be getting tested as often as students.
We do commend the university for making testing readily available to students, asymptomatic or not, and faculty. We recognize Temple is making a significant financial and logistical effort to maintain the safety of its community through frequent testing.
As students who have in-person classes and who work providing an essential service on campus, the Editorial Board believes it is only fair that if we are expected to be getting tested regularly, our professors should, too.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jack Danz, news editor, reported the accompanying story. He did not play a part in writing this editorial.