Students say Covid-19 testing at DePaul is running smoothly


Maddy Maes

Students walk out of the Sullivan Athletic Center, where DePaul Lincoln Park on campus Covid-19 testing is taking place.

Students say they’re satisfied with DePaul’s on-campus testing results and waiting times.

As of Jan. 3, 2022, DePaul is offering saliva-based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to DePaul students, faculty and staff on both campuses. PCR tests are a type of diagnostic test which determines if someone is infected by analyzing a sample to see if it contains genetic material from Covid-19.

At the Lincoln Park campus, the testing center is in the McGrath-Phillips Arena inside the Sullivan Athletic Center lobby. The testing center at the Loop campus will be in the DePaul Center concourse area. The Lincoln Park testing center will be open on Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Loop campus testing center will be open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Loop campus testing center will be closed on Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

When testing at a DePaul center, according to DePaul’s Covid-19 testing guidelines, the patient must schedule a test prior to entering the testing facility, and provide their DePaul ID. Though, if a patient does not schedule a Covid-19 test before coming into the testing center, junior Rebecca Relaz said if the testing center is not busy, the staff can just schedule a person’s test for the time that they arrive. 

“When I arrived, they asked if I had scheduled an appointment, I did not but it was not a problem because the staff directed me to use a QR code with my smartphone to schedule one,” Relaz said. “I then had to fill out basic information about myself in order to get tested. After that, they handed me the saliva test and explained what to do, which I was able to do in the bathroom in the same room. After I had completed the test, I went to a second set of staff that placed the test in a carrier ready to be sent to a lab.”

Relaz said the testing center had no line since it was well-staffed and she was helped immediately upon arrival. But Relaz said her concern was when she would receive her results.  

“I was fearful of how long the results would take,” Relaz said. “They told me up to 72 hours, but it was actually less than 24 [hours] when I had actually received them.”

DePaul’s Covid-19 response team did not respond when asked about the DePaul Covid testing process.

DePaul has also updated its isolation protocols for students living in residence halls to follow suit with the CDC guidelines that allow a person to end their quarantine after five days if they are no longer experiencing symptoms. 

The university provides “isolation housing” for students who live on-campus and test positive for Covid-19.

The true isolation period has been 10 days but now CDC says that on the fifth day of isolation students can take a rapid test and if they test negative and if they have no symptoms, then they can return to their regular room,” Director of Housing, Dining and Student Centers Rick Moreci said.

 “However, if a student remains symptomatic or tests positive on day 5, they must then stay in isolation housing for the remaining 5 days for a total of 10 days.”

DePaul is providing rapid tests to students by housing on day five of their isolation period, according to Moreci. 

Relaz said DePaul’s testing centers were her first choice when it came to getting tested, but she still relied on local testing centers too. 

“DePaul was my first choice for getting a Covid-19 test because it was the shortest distance, however when I got there, I found out that it was only PCR tests, so I also walked to a testing center nearby [which was] open to the public to also get a rapid test to take more precautions,” she said.

Freshman Emily Goodwin also said DePaul testing is her first choice for Covid-19 testing. 

“I would trust DePaul to do so and have had no experiences to believe otherwise,” Goodwin said. “I feel pretty safe due to the social distancing and precautions testing centers have taken with past tests.”

Relaz agreed with feeling safe at the testing centers. “I felt very safe going to this testing center,” she said. “There was an adequate amount of staff there given the level of business, it was not busy at all. There [also] weren’t many people and it was easily accessible.”