Lately, students come to my Zoom office hours to talk. It’s wonderful. I sit and listen. I ask all my good questions. I see their dorm rooms or apartments from the square on my screen. I notice that it doesn’t feel so odd anymore. It’s a cozy time as the wind blows outside in the changing leaves. We’re not together in the same office, but the wind blows where they are, too, across the town.
Earlier in the day, I received the email that my turn came up to participate in Penn State’s mandatory COVID-19 Asymptomatic Surveillance Program. Since PSU randomly tests 700 people a day (students, faculty, and staff), I knew my number would come up soon. So I journeyed to the big Beaver Stadium, only not for a football game. I stood there with a few others to log onto a special website on your phone, scan the barcode of your testing kit, and complete a health screening. My COVID-19 test was the saliva test where you spit into a test tube until you fill it up. Then you shake a blue liquid into it before you toss it into a big box with all the other COVID tests. Health care workers hover around you to make sure you’re doing the test correctly, but you do everything yourself. I receive results in 48 hours. It all felt like I was in a science fiction movie. Thankfully, every case I’ve heard of on campus from students and friends involves asymptomatic positive cases, or at the worst, a sore throat or headache for a few days. I’m glad to hear that news.