Colleges Push Viral Testing, Other Ideas for Reopening in Fall. But Some Worry About Deepening the Health Crisis.

One afternoon this week, Celeste Torres, a sociology student at the University of California at San Diego, stopped by a self-serve testing station to perform a five-minute ritual that could hold the key to reopening college campuses nationwide amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Torres, who’s 27 and identifies with gender-neutral pronouns, used a cellphone to scan a code on the testing kit and link their name to it. Then Torres swabbed inside their nose to obtain a secretion sample, put the swab into a tube, slipped the tube into a plastic bag and dropped the whole thing into a collection bin. From there, the contents would be sent to a laboratory to check for the virus.

Torres wants the university to teach in person in the fall and has no problem with taking viral tests to help make that happen. “If they give us a little peace of mind, that kind of helps,” Torres said.

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