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Dixie State Doesn’t Currently Have Enough COVID Tests To Enforce Governor’s Orders

A photo of a sign that says 'Dixie State University' with pink and red flowers planted around it.
Ethan Deceuster
Dixie State University said weekly COVID-19 testing will be encouraged among students, not mandatory — that’s because they don't have access to enough equipment to test every student.

Under the governor’s health orders issued earlier this month, college students must be tested weekly for COVID-19 starting no later than Jan. 1. But Dixie State University said testing will be encouraged — not mandatory.

“The truth is we don't have enough tests to even test everyone,” said Jordon Sharp, vice president of marketing and communication at Dixie State. “Now, if that changes, then then we'll see what happens.”

He said the university found out about the governor’s order “basically” at the same time as everyone else. Sharp said other schools may be able to do more testing sooner because they’ve already started doing it.

He said earlier this week the university received 2,000 kits, which they had hoped to administer to students before Thanksgiving break. However, he said realistically, that’s not going to happen.

“There's just really no process in place because we don't have enough tests,” Sharp said. “So we'll begin testing any student that would like [one].”

The university has around 12,000 students enrolled. To fulfill the governor’s health order, DSU would need to test up to 8,800 students, or those who are living on campus or taking traditional classes.

Gov. Gary Herbert said the state’s goal is to screen 250,000 students a week at all of the colleges and universities, but they’re waiting for more equipment from the federal government.

“I expect in the next two weeks we’ll be able to lay out a program where all those who have [in-person] classes at our universities, colleges etc. those who stay at the dormitories will be able to be tested at least every other week,” Herbert said. “That’s the plan and I see no reason why that’s not going to happen.”

State health officials said the school still has time before it’s required to start testing students. As of Thursday, DSU had 43 active cases and there have been over 400 this semester.

Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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