St. John Fisher students: rapid testing opening doors for on-campus life


PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s been a month since St. John fisher started testing students and staff for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. The process, run by faculty and staff, requires extensive hours of work. Now students say they’re noticing it pay off.

Michael Lilholt, president of Student Government Association, says campus life has come a long way since the Fall semester. Since February, two rapid testing sites on campus have tested over 14,000 people. That’s a little over 3,000 tests per week. The rapid testing efforts involve one drive-through site and a walk-through site recently added.

“That’s a large percentage to get through, so it’s good to see the testing center able to operate on this capacity,” said Lilholt.

Ian Klenk is a senator with the SGA. He says the process takes no more than five minutes – it’s fast, and smooth. And it takes a village to pull it off – a combination of faculty, staff, work-study students and nursing students all volunteer at the sites.

With February bringing cold temperatures and snow – the process has had its challenges.

“It’s hard to not appreciate that goal as well as the selflessness that faculty and staff have shown in adjusting their work schedule, doing their best to keep us safe,” he said.

The SGA at Fisher recently issued a proclamation showing their earnest support and gratitude for faculty and staff running the site. It highlights several points, including how the process has compelled other colleges across the country to enhance their protocols, and helped maintain in-person learning for students, safely.

Now with warmer weather approaching, the two say the atmosphere at school comes alive more with each day — it’s been a noticeable difference. More events on the main stage area, clubs becoming more active, food trucks and just recently inter-dorm visitation.

“There’s a lot more engagement and events this semester outdoor activities with weather getting nice,” said Lilholt.

“The sense of hope, we are taking steps to move out of this pandemic, even though they’re slow steps,” said Klenk.

Klenk and Lilholt say many Fisher students have also received both doses of the vaccine – as a lot of them have jobs in the medical field, or jobs that work with children or seniors.

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