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New testing site for Grinnell College students, staff and faculty opens

Students, faculty and staff previously unable to get tested for COVID-19 at the on-campus testing site are now eligible for testing at a new site opened in partnership with the TestIowa Higher Education initiative at Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Photo by Andrew Tucker.

College-affiliated Grinnell residents have a new option for COVID-19 testing: a TestIowa Higher Education site, formed in partnership with the College, UnityPoint and Poweshiek County Public Health that opened on Oct. 8 at the Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

The site will provide free tests only to those with a direct connection to Grinnell College, including faculty, staff, students and members of their immediate households. College President Anne Harris wrote in an email to The S&B that the site was established when the State of Iowa put out a call to colleges and university inquiring as to whether or not they would want to be a TestIowa Higher Education site. “We answered that we would,” she wrote.

TestIowa is an initiative to bring more COVID-19 testing sites to towns throughout Iowa. As described on its website, “Our goal is to dramatically increase the rate of COVID-19 testing so Iowans can have better access to testing and help stem the spread of COVID-19 to get us back to normal as quickly as possible.”

Grinnell students currently enrolled in the Grinnell College testing program should remain in the program and continue getting regularly tested in the Natatorium, Harris said. However, there are some students who fall into a special category: unenrolled for the semester, but still living in Grinnell. Members of this group who were being tested by the College have been asked to switch to the new TestIowa site.

“I think this past week was my last [Natatorium] testing appointment, because I’m not enrolled for the semester,” said Kaylin Kuhn ’21, one such student.

Though Kuhn is not taking any classes at the College this semester, she is living off campus in a house with other students who are enrolled in classes. Although their house is unapproved for off-campus living by the College, Kuhn and her housemates were all able to access testing through the Grinnell College program in early September when the program was opened to include unapproved off-campus students.

Erin Ritter ’22 is in a similar situation. “I’m not enrolled in classes right now … so, I was emailed that I will have to start getting tested at the TestIowa site,” she said. “Which is fine, because it’s not like they kicked me off Grinnell testing right away – they are letting me get tested with the College until the TestIowa site is, like, finally established.”

On the subject of why enrolled unapproved off-campus students would continue to have access to the Natatorium testing site while unenrolled students would not, Harris wrote that “enrolled students are paying tuition and fees that contribute to those benefits, and students who are not enrolled are not.”

Everyone intending to get tested at the new site is asked to fill out an online TestIowa assessment and schedule an appointment during the site’s open hours: Monday and Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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Nadia Langley, Editor in Chief
Nadia Langley is a fourth year majoring in history and French. Her favorite historical French quote is: "Literally I didn't say that, that's so cray," -- Marie Antoinette, 1793.
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