Behind the Counter: The Work of Awosting Covid-19 Testers

Photo courtesy of SUNY New Paltz.

We are all familiar with the trek to Awosting Hall. We have all felt annoyance in the long line, or the terror of someone exposed to the virus and hoping for a negative test. The basement room full of COVID-19 tests is busy each moment of the day. In Awosting, the stress of the virus unfurls tenfold on the nurses who work there. 

    In preparation for the new semester and in combat of the new Omicron strain, the nurses taking COVID-19 tests were told to prepare for 800 tests daily. Many of these nurses are New Paltz students themselves.

   “In a five hour period, we test around 150-200 people,” said one nurse, who is also a full-time student. They have chosen to remain anonymous, but were willing to give us insight into their point of view for COVID-19 testing. 

The test-takers expose themselves to COVID-19 day after day in order to take samples. While most people try to avoid contact with the virus, they bravely face it head first five days a week. They suit up in protective gear and go to work.

“We have so much personal protection equipment to protect ourselves that I feel safe even though I’m potentially dealing with a virus that caused a pandemic,” said the student worker. 

It is no secret that the lines can get incredibly long in Awosting. 

“It can occasionally be stressful with long lines, but we work as a team here to make sure that we are efficiently moving people through so it isn’t a burden on us,” the worker described.

 “We are trying our best to get everyone through efficiently and safely, but there are times when things are out of control such as long lines, tech issues, and whether or not a person is registered in our system,” the nurse said regarding wait times.

This is why it’s so important to show up on time for your appointment, follow protocol and make sure you’re registered to make it easier on the people testing you, and yourself. Navigating the “new normal” will be a challenge for all of us. The new testing policies only increase the effort it takes to combat and control the virus.

“We all are trying our best at this testing site to help the campus community stay safe during these times; however it’s a team effort between the campus community and us at the testing site to run efficiently,” a student nurse told us as their final statement. 

When you go to get tested, remember it is a community effort to keep this campus safe. The “We, Not Me” motto is upheld by the Awosting nurses, and we urge students to uphold this as well. Please do your part and be respectful as you go for your tests!

About Lily Seemann 31 Articles
Lily Seemann is a first year psychology major, with a minor in sociology. She is from Rockland County, NY, but grew up in Georgia! As well as being in the newspaper, she is also a New Paltz cheerleader. You can reach her by emailing seemannl1@newpaltz.edu.