Travelers can now take COVID-19 tests at Newark Liberty International Airport as they arrive or depart for their destination the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced on Sept. 8.
With Seton Hall University’s students calling destinations all over the globe home, some on-campus students will be forced to travel to other parts of the country when Seton Hall pivots back to remote classes before Thanksgiving Break. Despite Newark Airport recently opening its testing site for passengers, many out-of-state students just learned of the news and still have mixed feelings about flying during the pandemic.
Emily Feazel, a junior film major, said she learned about Newark Airport conducting COVID-19 testing for passengers this week. She said she would take one if the airport has adequate testing resources.
“It wouldn’t hurt to take the test at the airport but I don’t want to take that test away from somebody who does need it,” Feazel said. “I would take one at the airport if it meant safer flying for everybody if they had an abundance of tests.”
Feazel said her family wants her to travel home at the end of the semester but does not want to compromise their health.
“I feel anxious about it, I’m not super excited about it,” Feazel said. “My parents live in Chicago and they also live with my elderly, immunocompromised grandmother, so going home for the holidays means traveling through the really highly populated Newark airport and getting exposed, even with everybody wearing a mask.
Sarah Hyser, a junior diplomacy major, said she did not know about the airport’s COVID testing site but would probably take advantage of the resource if it is still an option when she leaves the University at the end of the semester.
Hyser said the second time she flew out of Newark Airport during the pandemic, a nearby boarding group was going into quarantine due to a passenger testing positive for COVID-19.
“That made me feel unsafe, so I would feel safer knowing that people can get tested on the way into the airport,” Hyser said.
Hyser added that she is nervous to travel home to Missouri since states in the Midwest are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“It’s very troubling to go to the airports sometimes because people just don’t really follow the regulations,” Hyser said, “But besides that my only concern is that I’ll actually be able to get home because if they do put a travel advisory on the Midwest and I can’t come back home for some reason then I’m kind of stuck out here.”
Similar to Feazel and Hyser, Dana Bell, a junior political science major, said she had not heard about the airport making COVID-19 tests available for passengers but is glad the measure is in place.
“I do appreciate a lot that they test and I’d be happy to get tested because it’s so hard to get tested out here,” Bell said. “I might buy a flight just to take it.”
Newark Airport’s COVID- 19 testing site is handled by a team of medical professionals contracted by XpresCheck.
“I think it’s a positive resource but only if they do it right, and so that’s up to the airport to do it right,” Bell said.
The COVID-19 testing site at Newark Airport is on level three of Terminal B. Travelers can request a test with or without an appointment and the results will be sent to outside laboratories for evaluation. All medical information gathered at the COVID testing site is HIPPA-compliant.
The airport is currently offering two types of COVID-19 tests, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and blood antibody tests. In the upcoming weeks, Newark Airport plans to implement rapid testing for travelers to receive their test results in 15 minutes.
Students who are traveling during the pandemic may look to CDC guidelines for current updates and additional resources.
Kathryn Roselle can be reached at [email protected]