Wesley College looks to become a virus testing site, acquire kits

DOVER — Wesley College has set its sights on becoming a testing site for the coronavirus, as well as getting test kits on campus, said President Bob Clark Tuesday.

Wesley brought its students back to campus in August, with a mixture of in-person and remote classes beginning the last week of the month. During Dover’s City Council meeting Tuesday night, President Clark discussed the college’s COVID-19 response, noting that a total of 11 students and one staff member have tested positive for the virus. There are currently four active cases, with two individuals in quarantine..

But since Wesley has brought its students back, it has lacked on-campus testing, asking students and staff to utilize one of the community sites to find their COVID-19 status. If a student lacks transportation, the college devised a way to take them, he said.

The small college in downtown Dover had hoped Delaware State University’s partnership with Testing for America, a nonprofit that helped determine DSU’s testing plan, would mean testing kits for them as well. Those kits have not yet come to campus.

The possibility of closing that gap is on the horizon, President Clark hopes.

Delaware State University — which looks to acquire Wesley by June — received 5,000 White House test kits which the university is “going to allow us to take advantage of,” President Clark said.

“I’ve also been in weekly discussions with the governor, as has Tony [Allen, president of DSU] and Dennis Assanis at [the University of Delaware], and we’ve asked the state for some assistance in testing,” he said.

He added that the college has asked the state to make Wesley a testing site for its students, employees and surrounding community.

“It may be difficult to get to a Walgreens or get somewhere else but they can sure walk a couple blocks and come to their campus. So hopefully that’ll happen,” he said.

President Clark emphasized the need for a “culture of compliance” in getting students and employees to practice mask wearing and social distancing. He added that if athletes are found to have been at parties, they’ll be pulled from their team.

“Our young men and women have taken that to heart and again are looking beyond themselves,” he said.

The increase in positive tests tied to UD has caused an uptick COVID-19 numbers in Newark. A similar concern was there for some of the council members.

“You truly did alleviate some of the concerns that we have, knowing that we have a compromised community downtown and I believe you guys are doing an excellent job,” said councilman Ralph Taylor.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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