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Otterbein implements asymptomatic testing for both on-campus and commuter students

Students may be tested in clusters based on where they live

Asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 has been implemented on Otterbein’s campus in hopes to keep the case numbers down.

Governor Mike DeWine has recommended that universities test at least 3% of their at-risk populations. By doing so, universities will gain a better understanding of case numbers and how COVID-19 is spreading throughout campus.

Matthew D’Oyly, Otterbein’s director of events and conferences, is in charge of Otterbein’s asymptomatic testing. He said that in order to test 3% of Otterbein’s population, roughly 30 students living on campus and roughly 30 commuter students need to be tested each week. In order to get a response rate from students that is high enough to test 3% of the population, D’Oyly asks about 70 randomly selected students to get tested for COVID-19.

All Otterbein students have been put into a large data file that organizes them by different data points. These data points could be dorm halls or zip codes. Once these students are organized into different data points, they are then randomly selected based off of their respective data point. This means that one week, D’Oyly could decide to randomly select students who live in Garst Hall to get a COVID-19 test.

“There is a lot of research that says it is good to test in clusters,” said D’Oyly.

According to an article from the Center for Disease Control or Prevention (CDC), by testing in clusters, there would be more knowledge about how COVID-19 is spreading, and contact tracing would become much easier. If the students living in Garst Hall come back COVID-19 positive, Otterbein would be able to contact trace and get the students into a quarantine quickly.

D’Oyly said that by testing asymptomatic students, his team is able to control the process because they are choosing who gets tested and are getting the test results back. Asymptomatic testing has allowed for the Otterbein COVID-19 dashboard to be updated weekly with the test results. Before this kind of testing was implemented, it was difficult to keep the dashboard accurate because cases were not getting reported correctly.

“Even reporting a negative test result is important,” said D’Oyly. In order for the dash to remain accurate, D’Oyly said that all test results should get reported back to Otterbein. Reporting all test results back to Otterbein will make contact tracing easier, which in turn keeps everybody’s friends and family safe.

“The nice thing with asymptomatic testing is that it has also given folks the opportunity to have a peace of mind,” said D’Oyly. “Anyone can request to be a part of the asymptomatic testing.”

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