Master Serg. Jordan Killebrew, a Air Force medic, swabs a community member at the Monongalia County Health Department's free testing on Oct. 7, 2020 in the Student Rec Center.

Due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and WVU students heading home for the end of the semester, WVU is offering free, voluntary testing for students.

Time slots to complete testing will be available Nov. 16 through Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Student Rec Center.

Approaching the final weeks of the fall 2020 semester, WVU is encouraging students to take part in free voluntary COVID-19 testing prior to leaving campus for Thanksgiving break.

Freshman Jillian Blackburn wanted to take the opportunity to get tested for free before leaving for the remainder of the semester. 

“I chose to get tested because I live with my grandma and want to be cautious of possibly exposing her to the virus, but I’m not worried about possibly testing positive,” Blackburn said.

Other students don’t see the need to be tested before going home, considering they have already made it through the semester without being ill.

Senior social work student Emily Ahmuty is one of the many students who are choosing not to get tested before returning home. 

Ahmuty already had COVID-19 at the beginning of the semester, and her parents haven’t asked for her to be tested. She doesn’t have any major holiday plans that would expose elderly family members, and she plans to just spend time with a small group of friends while in town.

“I myself don’t feel the need to get a test when I’ve already had it and the antibodies should at least last a month or two more, although I don’t believe I can really get it again anytime soon,” Ahmuty said.

Bryce Vontsolos, a freshman graphic design student, said that he is not concerned about being tested. 

“I don’t get COVID,” Vontsolos said. “I’m just built different.”

Students should receive their test results within three to five days. WVU urges students to continue to follow the University’s safety protocols while awaiting their results.

“I think the school did a good job of providing opportunities for students to get tested, but I think they should have made periodic testing mandatory throughout the semester to keep students safe,” Blackburn said.

Students, both residential and those living off-campus, who test positive for COVID-19 may choose to stay in Morgantown to complete the isolation process. 

Students also may choose to return home to isolate, but those who remain on-campus will be provided accommodations and meals at no charge.

Similarly, residential students who are identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 may choose to stay in Morgantown or return home to quarantine.