RIT testing sewage from residence halls for COVID


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Like with many other colleges in our area, the clock is ticking on a return to school for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

And when school is back in session at RIT, they’ll look beneath their residence halls to try stopping COVID in its tracks.

“Essentially, wastewater provides us somewhat of an early indicator of viral prevalence,” said Enid Cardinal, an RIT administrator.

“This way, we can look at those samples and those locations very specifically, and then go to those locations to target our testing,” said Cardinal.

They’ll collect samples from wastewater for 24 hours, then ship the samples to a lab in Syracuse. An idea to which, Cardinal says, Monroe County is also privy.

“[The county is] exploring this right now and have done some sampling, and they have started using the Syracuse lab as well,” Cardinal says, “So we’re kind of all learning together right now, and we will continue those conversations because it helps us get a picture, not only of what’s happening on campus, but what’s happening in the broader community.”

Wastewater testing is part of RIT’s larger reopening plan, according to Cardinal.

“This is one of many pieces to the puzzle as we’re working with this pandemic, and bringing people back together and keeping them safe. And so we think it’s a really important tool to help us act quickly and act early,” said Cardinal.

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