The War on Covid Sinks into the Campus Sewers
As the Covid Task Force disbanded this summer, they needed to forge a path from campuswide mandatory testing to a process that tested symptomatic community members while keeping a handle on the overall health of the college.
This fall, Dean of the College Mark Schneider and Director of Facilities Steve Gehringer implemented a long-discussed project: testing wastewater from the residence halls for concentration of Covid spike proteins.
“We chose to do the PCR route and the antigen test first,” said Gehringer. “But this is one of the items that we originally discussed.” While the vast majority of campus was tested for Covid on a weekly basis, this process involving wastewater would not have yielded meaningful results, but now the testing provides a useful measurement of Covid on campus.
“We’re the only small college that I’ve actually heard of, anywhere, doing this,” said Schneider. There are no plans to cease the testing, which will continue while Covid is still a threat, or “as long as Steve continues to put up with me,” says Schneider.