CSU offers $500 prize to students who get COVID tested twice weekly

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CSU requires most of its students, faculty and staff to be screened for COVID-19 once a week. In conducting tens of thousands of screening tests a week, CSU has conducted more than 130,000 screenings since the start of the spring semester. 

But the university is not stopping there.

In late March, CSU president Joyce McConnell launched a “Saliva Saves Challenge” in which students who get screened twice a week are entered in a raffle to gain $500 toward the cost of attendance or, for graduating students, cash. 

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The challenge was started “to help encourage students to continue to submit saliva samples through the last day of in-person classes” and to thank them for “their tenacity in continuing to screen,” CSU spokesperson Dell Rae Ciaravola said.

“We have less than three weeks before Spring Break and I know you are weary — particularly of saliva screening,” wrote McConnell in a message to students on March 26 introducing the financial incentive. 

Ciaravola said the challenge wasn’t prompted because students had stopped fulfilling their screening requirements, but out of safety concerns heading into spring break.

The university’s pandemic preparedness team wanted to encourage students to screen more often prior to leaving in hopes of learning about any active infections before a student travels. Ciaravola said the increased number of virus variants also played a role in the decision.

The challenge, developed with private funds, started on March 26 and runs through end of day April 9; 40 winners will be selected from the pool of students who tested twice weekly.

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Molly Bohannon covers education for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @molboha or contact her at mbohannon@coloradoan.com. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.