West Virginia University's plan to test all students for the coronavirus prior to the fall semester is becoming a bit more transparent.
An email sent Monday addressed to Immunology and Medical Microbiology students seeks student volunteers to assist with the process, calling it "an interesting community service/volunteer activity."
The email also notes that the risk to volunteers is "very low," saying that volunteers will be wearing personal protective equipment and will only be interacting with sealed sample containers after individual students swab themselves.
While some University students expressed positivity about the opportunity on social media, many others shared messages of outrage.
This is an equivalent situation of an unpaid internship so heck no https://t.co/LE6TFaKjhn— 🐱herine Obvious (@prexroad_) July 6, 2020
There is something deeply, incredibly disturbing about this. https://t.co/IBcRJu2Hmg— Corinne Connor (@CorinneConnor2) July 6, 2020
Stuff like this happens far too often. Stop making people work for free, especially when it comes to crap like this. Seriously, it’s just wrong. https://t.co/ljtzAOcXP0— E (@emilybrooke_20) July 6, 2020
A University spokesperson emailed the following statement to the Daily Athenaeum:
"The University has provided WVU’s health professions students with an opportunity to participate in a community service project to work alongside experienced medical personnel to collect anterior nasal swab specimen for COVID-19 testing in exchange for community service hours. This is a voluntary opportunity – not a requirement - for students to gain community experience in the healthcare field. Volunteers will be outfitted in full PPE at N95 mask level, trained on technique and fit tested for mask use prior to duty days."
Last week, "at least" 10 University students were reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus. The WVU athletic department has also had a handful of student-athletes test positive this summer, including nearly half of the men's basketball team.
Classes are currently scheduled to begin for the fall semester on Aug. 19, with classes being presented in a variety of different mediums, such as online or in-person.
This story was updated at 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon following a comment from a West Virginia University spokesperson.