Scripps and Pomona firm up COVID-19 testing rules

Students line up outside Walker Hall for COVID-19 testing.
Community members wait in line outside Walker Hall for COVID-19 testing organized by Student Health Services. (Jasper Davidoff • The Student Life)

Scripps College and Pomona College announced significant changes to student COVID-19 testing regimens this week, adjusting logistics and adding disciplinary incentives to keep students from missing tests.

In a Monday email, Scripps Interim President Amy Marcus-Newhall announced that all testing will take place through Student Health Services starting Oct. 11. Until now, students who got tested at SHS also needed to participate in a Scripps-only program at 240 House to fulfill their weekly requirement. 

“Relocating student testing to SHS will streamline students’ access to testing and align Scripps’ student testing protocols with those of most of the other Claremont Colleges,” Marcus-Newhall said. 

TSL reported last week that Scripps students were frustrated with the difficulty of scheduling tests at 240 House and widespread misconceptions about the system, capped off by emails on Sept. 30 in which students were warned they could face disciplinary action even though some of them had already scheduled or taken tests at Scripps.

“I appreciate all the students who reached out to me and their Primary Contact Deans, sharing their experiences and also seeking clarification on the testing policy,” Interim Dean of Students Adriana di Bartolo-Beckman said in a Tuesday follow-up.

Scripps students will now face a five-step conduct process for missing tests, di Bartolo-Beckman announced, including written warnings and a probation period before they are ultimately suspended for missing their fifth test.

Pomona is implementing a stricter policy, Dean of Students Avis Hinkson said in a Tuesday email. The third weekly test missed by a student will result in suspension for the semester.

“A student who misses three tests is a health risk to themselves and to the community and should not be on campus,” Hinkson said. “Suspension is a serious consequence, but there are public health implications that impact the entire community that must be considered.”

On Friday, ASPC President Nirali Devgan PO ’22 told students in an email that four student representatives will now be a part of the decision-making process by joining the college’s COVID-19 Discipline Board on a rotating basis. The board will not handle missed test violations, she added.

“We are appreciative of this shared governance decision which went through mindful deliberation and discussion from a community of students, faculty and staff,” Devgan said.

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