Hundreds of WSU students and faculty will be tested for COVID-19 prior to first day

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spring semester is just around the corner for local universities.

It can be nerve-racking returning to campus in the middle of a pandemic. That’s why universities are getting a head start in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s challenging for everybody,” said Michael Asfha, Pharmacy Student at WSU.

Life as we know it has changed.

“There’s a limited amount of people that can be in one room,” said Asfha.

Asfha will have some online classes and some in-person classes this year.

“I did have reservations just in case with people coming back from holidays right now,” said Asfha.

That’s why hundreds of students and faculty heading back to campus will be tested before the first day.

“With the cases rising, we have to continuously check and protect our community,” Asfha said.

While most students are able to learn completely from home, that’s not the case for all of them.

“Our students still need to do skills development where they can come on to our campus in a very regulated way and get their clinical skills development training,” said Daryll Dewald, Vice President of Health Sciences at Washington State University.

This includes students in medicine, nursing, and pharmacy programs.

“We also have Eastern Washington University with their occupational therapy and their physical therapy programs and dentistry program,” said Dewald.

Staff members at Washington State University say it extends far beyond that.

“This is also being done for the public health benefit to the community at large,” Dewald said.

It’ll also prepare pharmacy students like Dewald for what the future has in store.

“Pharmacists are doing the point of care testing in communities,” said Asfha.

A community he’s determined to help keep safe.

“I think we should be able to be fine,” Asfha said.