by University Marketing and Communications
A large tent set up on the Michigan Tech Campus certainly is not unusual. Tents are used several times a year for events such as Industry Days and Alumni Reunions. But the 40 x 40-foot tent that went up Wednesday (July 29) between Chem Sci and EERC is serious business and will play a major role in the University’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brian Cadwell, director and chief of the Department of Public Safety and Police Services, said the tent will be the site of student COVID-19 testing during, and prior to, the University’s Move in Weekend. For the past few days, crews have been converting the big tent into a testing clinic by installing electricity, lighting, WIFI, furniture and more.
Testing in the tent will begin on a smaller scale later this month leading up to mass testing during Move-In Weekend. “We’ll start by testing RAs (resident assistants) on Aug. 12 and then on Aug 18, they’ll test student-athletes. We anticipate upwards of 2,200 tests to be administered during Move-In, Aug. 21 to 23.” Cadwell added that voluntary testing will be free to students.
He said the goal is to test the students who will be living in the University’s residence halls. “We’re focusing on highly congregated living areas, such as residence halls and places where the virus could be easily passed from one person to another.” Administering the tests will be personnel from the Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center, assisted by Michigan Tech’s Emergency Medical Services.
Cadwell said the testing tent will be one of the stops new students make during the move-in process. About 80 tests an hour can be performed in the tent. The swabs will be taken to the Michigan Tech testing lab for processing. “Anyone testing positive will be temporarily relocated to apartments designated for isolation in Daniell Heights,” Cadwell said.
Cadwell said executing a task as large and as important as this requires a team effort. “We’ve got a great team — the Flex Task Force and numerous University departments have worked tirelessly, in conjunction with Upper Great Lakes Health, to formulate a great plan and put it into action.”