Whittier College has installed a ShieldT3 PCR Test Kit vending machine that offers free COVID-19 PCR tests for Whittier students, staff, and contracted workers to use. The new vending machine is located on the ground floor of the Wardman Library. You will be able to see it as soon as you enter through the North Entrance.
To use the vending machine, you will need to use your phone to scan the QR code labeled “Portal Login.” Make sure you allow camera access. Once logged in, click “Get a ShieldT3 Covid-19 Test.” Next, you will be asked to scan the QR code on the vending machine labeled “Dispense Test.” The PCR test will then be dispensed from the vending machine.
The testing kit includes instructions and a link to a video on how to provide your test sample.
Before completing the test, you need to register your test in the patient portal. Return back to your student or staff portal and click “COVID Test Self Collect Activation.” Press “Continue” to input your barcode and kit information located on your test kit tube. Submit when finished. Next, place the absorbent pad and registered sample in the biohazard bag and drop it off in the dropbox by the vending machine.
If you do decide to utilize this vending machine, the Whittier College COVID-19 Task Force requests that you do not test in the library building, but at a safe location where you can sanitize your hands. After taking the saliva sample, return it to the dropbox as soon as possible. It is recommended that you drop off your sample within two hours of testing and no longer than 48 hours after receiving your test kit. The dropbox is only available Monday through Friday before 1:30 p.m. The COVID-19 Task Force states that “results will be available the day after drop off. You will receive a text and a link to your results.”
Prior to using these saliva-based PCR tests, it is important that you do not eat, drink (including water), chew gum, smoke, floss, use mouthwash, brush your teeth, or wear lipstick for at least one hour before the test—as these may interfere with the results. You may drink a lot of water up to one hour before to ensure a good sample is provided. Do not spit, cough, or project into the vial, and make sure that you sanitize your hands before and after testing.
The machine is currently functioning, and it is restocked Monday through Friday. If you were exposed or are experiencing symptoms, the Task Force highly encourages you to take advantage of the free COVID-19 tests being offered.
However, many students have been having trouble with the machine. Whittier student Bridget Dietz claimed that she was unable to scan Step 2, and it read, “This machine is unable to dispense tests right now.” This has happened to multiple other students. Additionally, if you are younger than 18, you will not be able to sign up for a ShieldT3 Health account and will not be able to use the vending machine to get a test. If you are experiencing any trouble with the vending machine, be sure to contact the Student Health & Wellness Center by calling 562.464.4548, and they will try to assist you.
But beyond the brand-new COVID-19 test vending machine, Whittier College has updated some of its masking policies.
Masks are still required in classrooms, laboratories, shared offices or meeting spaces, and in the Health Center. Masks are also required indoors for anyone exposed to a person with COVID-19 for 10 days. However, make note that masking is now optional but recommended in areas where attendance is fluid, such as the Campus Inn (CI), The Spot, the Wardman Library, the Graham Athletic Center (GAC), and residential life common areas.
Whittier College may reintroduce stricter masking rules if two or more clusters of linked cases emerge within a 14-day period, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) opens an outbreak investigation, or if students, faculty, and staff fail to comply with the mask requirement in classrooms, laboratories, and shared office or meeting spaces.
However, with the new COVID-19 variants and the arrival of flu season, the COVID-19 Compliance Task Force reminds us that masking helps prevent the spread of infection. Be mindful and help Whittier College remain a safe space for all.
Photo Courtesy of the COVID-19 Taskforce