The first week of school is typically a time for having fun and reuniting with classmates. This year, however, has turned out to be a little different. Hundreds of students lined up for hours to get tested after Western University's COVID-19 outbreak was declared.
Over the weekend, five students living off-campus tested positive for the disease, causing the school to report an outbreak.
Although the students had not attended classes yet, they had contact with other young people in bars and restaurants.
In response, hundreds of students flooded the school's mobile testing centres. So many, in fact, that some were turned away.
According to CTV News, Western’s testing centres had the ability to test up to 220 students per day. Within the first half an hour of opening, though, that number had already been hit.
The testing centres began turning students away, despite many showing up hours before it opened at 10:30 a.m.
"They told me that they were full, and to come back another day later in the week," says journalism student Elizabeth Lam to CTV.
"I thought I'd be fine getting here an hour-and-a-half after opening, but when I came around the corner and saw the long lineup I just gasped."
The influx in student tests hit Western University hard.
On Friday, only 50 students needed testing, CP24 reports. On Saturday, 65 more.
Then, Monday came and the testing centres quickly hit their 220-person limit.
A spokesperson for Western told CP24 that they are using harm reduction to educate students on personal safety.
They are informing them about the risks of large gatherings and not following the protocols.
“We know our students value the opportunity to be on campus and have some in-class experiences – and for this to continue to happen, everyone must play a role in keeping themselves and the community safe by following public health guidelines,” said Jennifer Massey, associate vice-president of the student experience at Western.