App State offers free walk-up testing to students after announcement of wrestling team cluster


Ashley Foreman

Students wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 in College Street Parking Deck September 2020.

Jake Markland, Reporter

Students in masks waited in line in the College Street Parking Deck Wednesday and took advantage of App State’s free walk-up COVID-19 testing. 

App State announced that 10 members of the wrestling team had tested positive for COVID-19 in an email sent to students Sept. 1, and pop-up testing sites would be available to students on Sept. 2 in the Belk Library parking deck and Sept. 5 in the Rivers Street parking deck. 

“This is the best way that we can control any spread,” said Jason Marshburn, App State’s director of environmental health, safety and emergency management. “The more, especially asymptomatic, individuals that we can identify and put in a position to provide support to, the more we can maintain our reduced spread of the virus.”

Students wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 in College Street parking deck. (Ashley Foreman)

Students in line appreciated the testing opportunity, but wished they were consistently available. 

“I wish they had these pop up tests every single day,” said Teo Piper, a junior. “I wish everyone would get tested every two weeks. I feel like there’s tons of people walking around with it.”

Marshburn said there will be testing available every Saturday of September and encouraged students to take advantage of this free opportunity.

In collaboration with App State, Mako Medical Laboratories administered the tests. They did not respond to inquiries on how many tests were administered on Sept. 2. 

Between August 10 and 15, 1.3% of the 2,006 tests administered to students, through Student Health Services and Mako were positive, according to an email from Chancellor Sheri Everts. This is the only available App State data on the number of tests administered and positivity rates.

Ashley Foreman

The testing, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., started late because the lab technicians from Mako Medical experienced a flight delay. Arriving shortly before 12:30 p.m., the technicians began testing immediately and the wrap-around line began moving. 

While waiting in line, students were instructed to register online with Mako Labs and were given a notecard to write their identifying information on. After getting their molecular test, students receive their test results in 24 to 48 hours, and those who were positive received a phone call, according to Marshburn. 

Abby James, a junior, commented on how many people were gathered to get tested. James felt many in line were not following the standard six feet apart and thought it possible that someone there already had the virus. 

“These people are not six feet apart,” James said. “No one is separated at all.”

Nevertheless, when testing began, the line shortened.  

The next walk-up testing will be Sept. 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Rivers Street Parking Deck.