Quinnipiac professors are not being tested for COVID-19

Faculty members share their concerns

Kalleen Rose Ozanic, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University’s COVID-19 protocols are not requiring professors to be tested for the virus for the fall 2020 semester, according to Dr. David Hill, professor of medical sciences, COVID-19 task force member and director of the Global Public Health program.

Hill outlined testing requirements stated in an Aug. 6 email sent to students that on-ground students were required to have negative COVID-19 test results administered both before and after move-in, with “weekly testing of approximately 15% of all undergraduate residential and non-residential students.”

However, there are no testing requirements for professors.

“If a faculty or staff member has symptoms, we’d ask them to contact their primary care provider and they can be tested not through our system, but tested through their primary care provider,” Hill said.

The summer educational experience at Quinnipiac “had 300 or 400 people on campus every day all summer long” as well as students in the occupational therapy, physical therapy and medical programs interacting with professors in July and no cases were reported during that time, according to Hill.

While Quinnipiac has not yet experienced an outbreak, there are COVID-19 cases within New Haven county.

“The cases of COVID-19 in Hamden remain high even though they are much lower than in other cities and other states,” said Marcos Scauso, assistant professor of political science. “I am also concerned with the amount of work that faculty have been asked to do with the increase of classes and students per class.”

Scauso is teaching classes this semester on campus and virtually, both synchronously and asynchronously. He said he is concerned for everyone’s health at this time.

“I feel like we should all be tested in order to have a more healthy community,” Scauso said.

Although not all those affected were considered in planning the semester, Scauso said that he believes the university is putting forth its best effort given the situation.

“As a professor, I do think, however, that more faculty input could have helped in some of the decisions,” Scauso said.

Hill explained the university’s decision regarding testing requirements.

“We feel that it’s really the students who are living and congregating together (that) present the biggest risk because faculty have been coming in for several hours to a few hours,” Hill said. “They’ll be socially and physically distanced and be wearing face coverings so the transmission in that is really low.”

Rich Hanley, associate professor of journalism, said he believes that testing should be universal.

“Everyone who is on campus should be tested and that includes faculty, staff and administrators,” he said. “The point is to break the chain of transmission wherever it occurs, and testing of everyone would help that effort.”

Hanley said due to his age, 64, and existing heart conditions, he is remotely teaching all of his classes.

“I’m not teaching on campus, but I do hope that all the measures taken by the university and individuals will keep everyone safe and healthy,” Hanley said.

Dennis Richardson, professor of biology, also acknowledged the university’s role in planning and testing.

“I know Quinnipiac has put a phenomenal amount of planning and thought into it,” he said. “Every effort is being done to base it on science. I know there’s some schools in other parts of the country that have not done the pretesting like we did that has resulted in a lot of problems.”

Though Richardson said he appreciates the university’s role in taking precautions, he still prefers further preventative measures.

“Personally, I feel like it would be a good idea for all members of the community to be tested,” Richardson said. “Simply in order to provide a complete picture of potential transmission. There’s no reason to think faculty are any less vulnerable or any less likely to be infected than anyone else.