Students employed at COVID-19 testing sites

By: Pari Apostolakos

As one of the Universities in the United States offering partial in-person instruction, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently operating under one of the strictest COVID-19 testing policies in the nation. Students are required to submit a non-invasive saliva test twice per week in order to be granted access to campus buildings, according to the University. 

All students must visit testing sites regularly, however, some are present more often than others; as employees. 

Ben Salzberg, senior at the University, has been working at the Veterinary Medicine Testing Tent in Urbana since the beginning of August. He chose to apply for the job because other employment opportunities for full-time students became limited due to COVID-19. 

“As a testing site employee I make sure everyone’s information is updated,  direct them to where they should take the test and answer any questions they have about the testing procedures,” Salzberg said.

When working at the testing site, it is possible Salzberg could come in contact with individuals who have COVID-19, however, it doesn’t worry him. 

“I honestly don’t feel at risk because I keep my distance from everyone,” he said. He also prioritizes sanitizing his hands as much as possible to avoid any transmission. 

Like any job, working at the University’s testing sites comes with its challenges. 

“[The] hardest part is dealing with people who are frustrated that they have to come in so often or that their test came back inconclusive,” Salzberg said. Once the saliva sample is sent to be tested, the site employees aren’t responsible for the results.