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OU's Goddard Health Services fails to contact all exposed individuals within 24 hours, students say

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COVID kids

Graphic of people wearing masks September 3. Students miss classes while waiting to be cleared by Goddard after filling out COVID-19 reporting tool, despite negative test results.

Goddard Health Services is providing a screening and reporting tool for COVID-19 testing, but officials are not contacting some individuals within 24 hours as the tool says they will.

One student, a senior who asked to remain anonymous, said he submitted his screening and reporting tool on Aug. 31. He said he was experiencing no symptoms, but lives in a fraternity house and could have experienced exposure. He was encouraged by his professors to get tested due to this, but was unable to get contacted by Goddard for testing and is staying on campus. 

As of Sept. 9, the only response from Goddard he has received was an email saying that, “until he received an individualized response,” he needed to follow all social distancing guidelines.

Biology senior Austin Gronewold also filled out his screening on Aug. 31, and still had not received any word from Goddard as of Sept. 9. He said he had no symptoms and has been “wearing a mask out in public and taking all precautions.” 

Due to the long wait, he got tested elsewhere and stayed home until he was able to get his results back. Although Goddard did send him an email saying he “was not cleared to return to campus” after visiting family out of state, he hasn’t received any more information from the health service. 

Computer engineering freshman Lexie Barthelemess said she has not received any word from Goddard either, despite making several calls to them. She filled out the screening after quarantining for two days due to being around a friend who tested positive. Her test result came back negative, but she still couldn’t get back into touch with Goddard — whose only communication was a voicemail that said they were “experiencing a high volume.” 

“We haven’t been able to get any information without contacting Goddard first,” Barthelemess said, referring to her and a friend. 

Biomedical engineer senior Erin Heidrick was experiencing allergy-like symptoms and decided to get tested as a precaution. She received a negative test two days later from Goddard and filled the screening form out shortly after. Similar to the other students, she received an email that told her to stay off campus, even though her results were negative. 

“Despite doing everything right, I felt like I was being punished by the university,” Heidrick said. 

The screening only asks if a student tested positive for COVID-19. As there is no option to choose a negative result, Heidrick could not get cleared by a nurse until two days later, after missing a few classes.   

“Maybe if there had been a question asking if you had tested negative, I wouldn’t have needed to wait two days to confirm what I already knew,” Heidrick said. 

The Daily reached out to Director of Media Relations Kesha Keith for comment at 2:41 p.m. Sept. 9 and is awaiting a response.

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