Weekly COVID-19 Testing Clinic Update: Sept. 21

September 21, 2020

Dear Grinnellians,

Welcome to the Weekly Update. SHAW cares deeply about your health and the health of our community. To this end, I write to provide the latest update of our COVID-19 testing clinic and health information that we hope will help all of us mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Thank you for doing your part in keeping our community safe!

Results for the week of Sept. 14-18, 2020

Number Received Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
518 517 1 0.19% 0

Total since testing began (Aug. 24, 2020)

Number Received Negative Positive Percent Positive Self-Reported
Positive Results
From Other Test
1,817 1,814 3 0.17% 1

*The State’s testing program does not report results to the college. The number in this column reflects reports by students, faculty, or staff to SHAW.

For the week of Sept. 14, 2020, 518 students, faculty, and staff were tested. Testing does not occur on Fridays. The number of tests administered the week of Sept. 14 to Sept. 18 was from three and one-half days of testing. Of the 518 tests, 517 were negative and one was positive, resulting in a 0.19% positivity rate.

Since the inception of the testing clinic on Aug. 24, 1,817 tests have been given; 1,814 were negative and 3 were positive, yielding a 0.17% positivity rate.

Flu Vaccinations

SHAW and Human Resources will be providing free flu vaccinations on campus this fall for students and all employees.  Two different clinics will be offered this year.  Essential employees and all students living on and off campus who are enrolled in the COVID-19 testing clinic, will be offered the flu vaccine at their regular testing time during the week of September 28.  No additional appointment is necessary.

For non-essential employees, SHAW will be hosting a drive-thru style vaccine clinic on October 9th.  A Qualtrics survey will be sent from SHAW in the near future asking employees to sign up for a block of time to attend the clinic so as to avoid long lines. Watch for more details soon.

For employees who wish to be vaccinated elsewhere, flu shots are covered by the college health insurance plan regardless of where vaccinations are received.

The Importance of Face Coverings/Masks

In addition to maintaining physical distancing, one of the most effective strategies we have as individuals for slowing the spread of COVID-19 is wearing a face covering or mask that covers both our nose and mouth.  Increasing evidence suggests that properly wearing a face covering or mask helps reduce your potential transmission to others in the event that you may be infectious (and remember, with COVID-19, people are often most infectious before they show symptoms).  It will also offer some limited protection to help reduce your risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

When do I need to wear a face covering or mask?

  • Remember, physical distancing is the first strategy in your control—you still need to keep at least six feet away from others while wearing a face covering or mask
  • Any time that you are in indoor spaces that other people also use (whether or not they are also currently in the space)—such as hallways, academic spaces, residence hall kitchens, bathrooms (unless you are brushing your teeth/washing your face/showering)
  • You do not need to wear a face covering or mask when in your own residence hall room or office (preferably with the door closed.)
  • You should wear a face covering or mask outdoors anytime at least six feet of social distancing cannot be consistently maintained

Can I wear a gaiter or bandana instead of a face covering or mask?

Gaiters and bandanas have not been subject to the same research as more traditional face coverings or masks, so their effectiveness is uncertain, and there is some early evidence from researchers at Duke that gaiters may actually increase the spread.

When it gets colder, can I wear a scarf instead of a regular face covering or mask?

Since scarves are both un-researched in their ability to slow COVID-19 spread and often have a more open weave, please continue to also wear your face covering/mask when needed outdoors. Double the protection against the Iowa wind!

More information on face coverings and masks, including their selection and care, here:


Grinnell Health Heroes

Each week, we will recognize those students, faculty, and staff who exemplify outstanding health-related behaviors that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our campus community. The following are honored as this week’s Grinnell Health Heroes:

Nicole Eikmeier

Nicole and her team develop an agent-based model on a network meant to capture features unique to COVID-19 spread through a small residential college. They found that a safe reopening requires strong policy from administrators combined with cautious behavior from students. They also found that comprehensive testing and facemasks are the most effective single interventions, building closures can lead to infection spikes in other areas depending on student behavior, and faster return of test results significantly reduces total infections.

Angela Voos had this to say to Nicole, “Thanks for inspiring us with your work and grounding us at the same time.  It is so much fun to cheer for this good work and bring your scholarship into the everyday life of our whole college. Thank you so much.”

Thank you for your amazing work which has helped to shape Grinnell College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  You are truly one of our Health Heroes!

Maria Tapias

Maria used her experience and research in the development of a summer course entitled, “Illness, Healing and Culture” which had her students explore health beliefs and behaviors in their social and political contexts from a cross cultural perspective. Maria was impressed by the student’s creativity and ability to reflect on their experience. They used this class to explore in depth a topic related to medical anthropology.

A colleague commented, “How cool that you would take this momentous and uncertain time and help students explore it though your field and their experience! Knowing the impact you have on the lives of students reminds all of us about why we are here. A hero you are!!”

Thank you, Maria, for the development of this outstanding course. You are most definitely a Grinnell Health Hero!

How To Nominate Grinnell Health Heroes

To nominate someone to be a Grinnell Health Hero, complete the Health Hero survey.

For more updates from SHAW, follow us on Instagram @grinnellcollegeshaw.

To Your Health,


Terry W. Mason, Ph.D.
Dean for Health and Wellness

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.