SVSU to offer free coronavirus testing to students, homeward-bound ahead of Thanksgiving break

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 10:24 PM EST
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) (11/06/2020)-As COVID cases continue to ramp up statewide, Saginaw Valley State University will offer students free testing before they leave for the holidays in an effort to ensure their families are protected.

“It was very important to be able to be on campus.”

Haley Huggett lost a good chunk of her senior year to coronavirus. Now a freshman at Saginaw Valley State University, she wanted to enjoy it but understood remaining on campus would come with a level of responsibility.

“I get to help people stay on campus,” she related.

She’s putting in the work as an ambassador for the NEST program, Saginaw Valley’s coronavirus response plan.

“We don’t want to contribute to cases that are not related to campus,” Huggett said. “When students are on campus, they’re being safe as well.”

It comes after the University announced it would provide students with coronavirus testing free of charge ahead of the Thanksgiving break to ensure returning students wouldn’t pass the virus on to their families.

“We will have only remote instruction after Thanksgiving. We want to make sure that students are in a position to know.”

SVSU Spokesman J.J. Boehm confirmed students who test positive will be allowed to quarantine on campus prior to heading home for the holidays. As of Friday, more than 300 had already signed up.

“We’ve had relatively few cases on campus but we know that case counts are rising in the community,” Boehm explained. “They’re rising in the state. We want students and families to have the peace of mind.”

There were 37 current confirmed or probable cases campus-wide moving into the weekend, according to Saginaw Valley’s reporting dashboard, 27 of whom were listed as non-residential students.

“A little bit different than your freshman year?”

“Yeah, just a bit!”

Haley Crawford and Gaeb Griese are sophomores who live off campus.

“To know that you’re coming home and you’re not bringing anything with you (is an additional precaution),” Crawford related.

Huggett tells ABC12 involving herself in the strategy has been empowering in the sense that she’s part of the solution.

“Students themselves are the ones that are making the changes or helping to enforce these changes,” she said. “It’s not coming from the administration alone, it’s coming from your peers.”

Testing opens Monday inside the university’s athletic facility and wraps up Thursday. Students have been asked to pre-register.

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