Increase in testing a positive according to university administrator

By Shaun Chornobroff

In the first four updates of Rider’s fall 2021 COVID-19 dashboard, only once has the university recorded more than 200 tests being administered in a single week. From Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, however, the dashboard recorded a new high of 249 tests administered, a 54-test increase from the week before.

However, Rider’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla ensures that there is nothing to worry about.

“There are two reasons for the increase that you saw. One is that we have begun testing in advance for Westminster College of the Arts productions and concerts, … so we wound up testing last week some additional students from the cast and crew of [the play] ‘Pippen’,” Stasolla said.

Stasolla explained that the university’s protocol is to test cast and crew, as well as their work choristers and conductors well before the performance to ensure that vaccinated performers can do their craft without a mask on.

The second reason Stasolla cited for the increase in administered tests was that students who were previously skipping out on testing who were required to receive weekly tests were finally doing so.

“We’ve been holding [people] accountable, particular students who have not been attending testing who are required to do so. So that’s a positive thing,” Stasolla said.

From Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, Rider recorded eight students in quarantine, a new high for fall 2021, as well as two positive COVID-19 cases and two members of the Rider community in isolation.

“My takeaway is that we are holding steady as a campus community in terms of our relatively low COVID-positive rate. That’s a good thing,” Stassola said. “I can’t say that without also stressing how important it is that we all have to remain vigilant. We can’t let our guard down just because we’ve got a low positivity rate.”

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