Editorial: COVID-19 testing should not be random

Staff Editorial

Eastern President David Glassman sent out an email Thursday detailing the implementation of saliva testing as a part of the university’s COVID-19 testing efforts.

The testing, which is in partnership with University of Illinois’s SHIELD Program, would begin on Jan. 19 and occur weekly from Monday to Wednesday in the rec center. Results would be sent within 24 hours of the test.

While this is encouraging news, there are aspects of the new testing procedures that seem unplanned.

The recipients of the test will be determined by a random selection of 500 students and employees each week. This feels wrong, as those who are immunocompromised should be prioritized to receive the tests rather than the possibility that multiple students who hold no regard for others’ health receive the option and then never show up.

It is also disappointing that the university is in a position where they need to raffle off a $25 gift card to students who complete their assigned testing.

Student apathy is at such a level that the university needs to provide an incentive for students to consider taking a COVID-19 test for the safety of those and others.

We at The Daily Eastern News continue to implore that people get tested for the safety of others and hope that the frequency and convenience of the new testing system encourages students to take the test when selected. If that doesn’t work, hopefully the promise, er, chance, of receiving a gift card does the trick.