KSU switches to molecular COVID-19 testing

Amanda Fowler does not mind a longer wait time if this means more accurate results.

Alexandra Golden Reporter

Kent State switched over to a rapid molecular COVID-19 test Feb. 22, replacing the previously used rapid antigen testing. 

Molecular testing eliminates false positives and “removes the need for PCR test that is currently administered to those who test positive on the rapid antigen test,” said Eric Mansfield, assistant vice president of university communications and marketing.

Amanda Fowler, a sophomore fashion design student, was glad that this testing eliminates false positives since they received an inaccurate result with the old rapid antigen testing. When they tested positive they went to take a lab test. They had to isolate for two to three days while waiting for the results. 

This testing will produce results in about 30 minutes rather than the 15-minute results from the previous test, said Manfred van Dulmen, interim associate provost for academic affairs, in an email sent to the Kent State community.

The molecular test  is conducted with a longer swab than before and instead of circling the swab for 15 seconds in each nostril it is now 10 circles in each, Fowler said. 

The process to sign up for testing is the same, but “we begin 30 minutes earlier at 8 a.m. and to take the last appointment at 4:45 p.m. instead of 5:15 p.m.,” Mansfield said. 

When Zaria Johnson, senior journalism major, went to get her mandatory testing, she was denied twice. She first went on Monday, but was five to 10 minutes late and was forced to reschedule. Due to her busy schedule, she was not about to reschedule until Friday.

On Friday, she scheduled her appointment for 12:45 p.m. and was determined to get there on time. When she got there she was told they were no longer seeing people at that time. “They sent me away and sent other people who came after me away,” Johnson said. “It was confusing because when I scheduled through the CVS Portal, 12:45 p.m. was open.” 

“At that point I was frustrated because now the week is over and I haven’t had my weekly test,” Johnson said. She then reached out to Kent State to find a solution, but she has not received a response. 

Ella Donovan, a freshman exploratory student, also had difficulties while scheduling. “There has been two instances where I’ve gone and had a test scheduled at 4:45 and as soon as I got there they were like ‘we just did the last test for the day, you’ll have to come back tomorrow,”’ Donovan said. She was also not informed as to why she was not able to be tested that day. 

When Johnson went to schedule her test the following week, she found the time slots between 12:45 p.m and 2:15 p.m. were no longer available. 

Mansfield said that the last appointment is at 12:45 p.m. to allow 30 minutes to run the test. Then, CVS has a lunch hour from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

When her scheduling problem arose, Johnson could not find any information as to why she was denied: “I looked online and I couldn’t find anything about schedule changes or not seeing people between certain hours.” 

Information for on-campus students about testing can be found here.

Alexandra Golden is a COVID-19 reporter. Contact her at [email protected].