UW students paid to take COVID tests


Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 21, 2020

By M.D. Kittle 

MADISON — University of Wisconsin-Madison students can pick up a quick $10 — if they agree to take a COVID-19 test. 

A source this week told Empower Wisconsin that some students were earning as much as $40 per COVID test, so we checked into it.  

Meredith McGlone, UW-Madison director of News and Media Relations, said the fee is $10 for off-campus students. 

“To ensure we’re understanding the prevalence of COVID-19 both on and off campus, our campus testing plan includes voluntary surveillance testing of students who live off-campus,” she said in an email. “Each week we offer testing to a sample of students; if a student agrees to take a test, they receive $10.”

How many students are getting tested? Who is paying for the tests? How much money are we talking about? 

McGlone did not answer a follow-up email. 

Information on the university’s COVID-19 Response website notes that 500 undergraduate students who live off-campus were expected to be selected at random each week and asked to make an appointment at a campus testing facility for a free COVID-19 test. 

“Upon successful completion they will receive a $10 credit on their Wiscard. Students will receive more details if selected,” the website states. 

Collin Pitts, chief resident of preventive medicine at the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) and a member of the University Health Services COVID-19 testing team, is leading the surveillance effort. 

The university also is conducting surveillance testing among volunteer groups of students and employees. Volunteer cohorts from across representative campus populations are providing regular samples for COVID-19 testing. 

“The results will help inform campus and public health officials so they can make any necessary changes to operations,” the website states. 

A report in the Wisconsin State Journal last week noted more than 3,000 UW Madison students have apparently contracted COVID-19 since late July. 

UW started in-person instruction on Sept. 2,  and was forced to lockdown after an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus. After Thanksgiving, the university will switch to virtual learning for all courses for the final nine days of instruction plus exams. Plans for the spring semester will be announced at a later date. 

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  1. Big Shirl Avatar
    Big Shirl

    So why would healthy students agree to take a Covid test with no symptoms? People with symptoms visit a medical facility for treatment. This is not a well-child visit—this is a method to collect personal data and personal DNA.

  2. Barbara Buchanan Avatar
    Barbara Buchanan

    It is also a way to report/inflate numbers of Covid . Instilling more fear and with that fear force compliance in mask wearing, social distancing, closing businesses etc. Positive testing numbers mean nothing. Most of us have been exposed to the virus by now. And as reported and published by the CDC obviously wearing masks is not going to protects us from this virus.
    A survey conducted by over a dozen medical institutions for the CDC and published in Sept. 11’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that 85% of those who contracted COVID-19 during July among the study group either “always” or “often” wore face coverings within the 14 days before they were infected. More than 70% of those outpatient individuals who tested positive reported always wearing masks. Just 3.9% reported never wearing a mask.
    It is control of the population through fear. Unfortunately our citizens are more afraid of a virus than loosing their freedoms.

  3. Harold Wilkes Avatar
    Harold Wilkes

    Even prostitution has an entry level, developing a market starts slow and builds – votes will be next purchase.

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