COD Almost Ready to Begin Weekly COVID-19 Testing

COD faces staff issue in regards to hiring staff for weekly COVID-19 testing.


Bee Bishop, Staff Writer

Weekly COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated students, staff and faculty will start the first week in November. This delay from the previous projection of middle-to-late October is because of a lack of testing staff. 

In an interview Vice President Jim Bente confirmed difficulty in hiring enough testing staff delayed the administration’s plans

“IT has the capability of receiving the reports from the labs, and we have the testing equipment on site,” he said. “The only thing holding us back right now is the staffing.”

Bente said COD hired a few individuals to facilitate testing but is still looking for quite a few more individuals to help facilitate testing and deliver testing samples to the labs. Bente said, “We have about 10 individuals identified and hired. We probably need to hire another 20.”

A large number of testers are needed because Bente estimates about 7,000 weekly tests need to be done. Bente said that estimate is functioning on the assumption about 80% of the faculty/staff submit their vaccination proof and about 50% of students submit their vaccination proof. But during COD’s monthly board of trustees meeting on Oct 21, he stated 75% of staff has submitted vaccination cards while only 25% of students have submitted vaccination cards. That translates to just under 2,000 faculty and staff members and just over 3,000 students. 

Despite the lower-than-expected number, Bente believes more students are vaccinated than the administration can currently verify.

“We have a bunch of students that have sent in the form saying they’re vaccinated, but they have not followed up with their card yet,” he said. 

Bente’s estimate of weekly tests also do not account for individuals who get vaccinated after testing begins. 

“I’m looking at it on-goingly as we’re getting into winter and into the spring,” he said. “During the beginning of it, there might be more just because people are still getting cards in, and we’re approving them.”

Bente warns that if vaccinated students who have not submitted their vaccination cards don’t do it soon, the weekly test number will go up.

“If the total number of vaccinated students stays in the 3,000 range, we’ll be testing a lot more,” he said. 

Bente detailed how the testing process will work. 

“What our tentative plans are right now is to have the center open three days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday, from the early morning into the evening hours. Given the number we’re anticipating, there’s likely to be waits. And the best way to avoid waiting to be tested is to be vaccinated.”

Bente wanted to encourage any faculty, staff or students who aren’t vaccinated to do so and encouraged any already vaccinated individuals who qualify for the COVID-19 booster shot to get it. COD is offering a $150 cash incentive for students who get vaccinated between Sept. 9 and Nov. 29. Additionally, Bente wanted to remind students who have yet to turn in their vaccination cards to do so as soon as possible before testing starts. Any individual who is not fully vaccinated and refuses to comply with weekly testing will not be permitted on COD campus. Any student looking for more information about vaccination submission or about the vaccination incentive may go to Any student in need of accommodations due to isolation or quarantine may contact the Center for Access and Accommodations.