Bridgewater College Continues to Conduct COVID-19 Tests on Randomly Selected Students

Some Students Are Never Tested While Others Have Been Tested Multiple Times


Brooke DiCicco

Nininger Hall is the location of COVID-19 testing for students on campus. Weekly testing sites are held for the students randomly selected.

Bridgewater, Va. – As the coronavirus continues to spread in the area, Bridgewater College continues to implement its weekly testing of randomly selected residential students.

According to Associate Dean of Students and Psychologist Neal Rittenhouse, the system is continually picking a random 10% of campus weekly. 

A computer program is used to randomly select a specific number of our residential students for testing each week,” said Rittenhouse. “We try to avoid the selection of students two weeks in a row and so we include a list of alternates that are also randomly selected to be used, if needed.” 

Out of 29 students who participated in a survey conducted on March 30 on Instagram, 19 said that they have been randomly selected to be tested by the school. Athletes, however, get tested almost weekly. 

“I’m an athlete, so I’ve lost count,” said sophomore Kaci Pitsenbarger.

There is a wide variation among how many times students are selected for random testing since the beginning of the semester when the testing first began. In the poll, one student was selected five times, two students were selected three times and most students were selected one to two times.

“I’ve been selected for random testing five times this semester,” said junior Samantha Hince. “It is nice to be able to get COVID tests for free and that way I know for sure I don’t have COVID.”

There was a time when Hince was randomly selected two weeks after her last selection. 

“I haven’t talked to anyone who has gone more than twice and I know some have not gone at all, so I find it a bit odd that some people are getting tested a lot of times and some are not getting tested at all. I guess that’s the way random testing works out. It’s an interesting system,” said Hince.

The nature of a random sampling approach allows for the possibility that some individuals may be chosen multiple times, and some not at all,” Rittenhouse said.

“When I went in for the fifth time, Heather Grant, who administers the test, remembered me by name when I walked in. We started to joke about it,” Hince said. 

Some students are getting warnings and penalties as a result of missing their tests — penalties like deferred suspensions and being sent to the Honor Council. 

“I already got COVID tested once, so the day before the test they’re like you’re getting tested tomorrow,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous. “The day came, and I forgot and I had class during it. It did say reschedule if you can, but I really forgot. I was expecting an email to tell me that I missed the test and to do something about it.”

“The week after that, I got another email about a COVID test and went and thought everything was fine,” the same student said. “Then, I received another email after that about how I signed a contract and broke that contract and that I would be receiving deferred suspension. I thought I would receive an email closer to the time I missed the test, but the deferred suspension for missing a COVID test was a little far. I ended up emailing them back and learned it was more a warning than anything.”

The student has since learned that as it is a warning,  they are most likely in good standing and will not receive the suspension unless they potentially miss another COVID-19 test.