The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is testing more than 300 Temple University students for COVID-19 at the Aramark Student Training and Recreation Complex Monday in response to the university’s recent spike in cases, which surpassed 100 this weekend.
The department will prioritize testing students who are symptomatic or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, said Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university.
“I just feel like I’m doing my part, at least, to keep us safe,” said Angello Soriano, a sophomore psychology major who was tested at the complex today. “I feel like it’s everybody’s responsibility to go out and get tested, not only to keep our school safe but to keep the greater North Philadelphia community safe.”
Temple announced yesterday it will suspend most in-person instruction beginning today through Sept. 11 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, The Temple News reported.
Temple’s active cases among students jumped from 58 to 103 on Sunday, The Temple News reported.
“I think the testing is a good thing,” said Madeline Walsh, a senior criminal justice major. “But at the same time, you shouldn’t have brought a bunch of students back to North Philadelphia, a low-income area, and put other people at risk.”
The department asked students on Aug. 29 to avoid social gatherings outside of their households. Temple directed students to avoid going to any gatherings in a TUAlert that night.
“I stay here throughout the year and over the summer everything was fine,” said Jordan Caldwell, a senior business management major. “Now I see groups, so it’s not really good for the community around here.”
The testing center at the STAR Complex will administer the same nasal swab test as the university’s testing center underneath Morgan Hall, which opened on Aug. 26 for testing by appointment only.
Students tested today will receive their results in 72 hours at the latest and will be expected, but not required, to quarantine during this period, Betzner said.
“I’ve gotten tested before and I don’t like it, I’m just scared,” said Forrest Kelly, a junior architecture major.
“There’s no drones flown over each student watching their behavior,” Betzner said. “We have asked students to take responsibility for their actions.”
The university expects to administer 400 COVID-19 tests Monday between both sites, Betzner said.
Students who moved into on campus housing were required to be tested at the STAR complex upon arrival between Aug. 17 and Aug. 24, The Temple News reported. The complex initially shut down as a testing center on Aug. 25 after testing those students.
The department and Temple will consider extending COVID-19 testing at the STAR Complex if determined necessary, Betzner said.