Zoe Stratos | Staff Writer
As the weather gets colder, the ability for Duquesne students to socially distance outdoors has become more difficult. Outdoor tents, tables and chairs are disappearing outside College and Mellon Hall, and more importantly, the COVID-19 testing tent has been put away for the winter.
With some of the most socially distanced areas on campus taken for dining and studying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the university had to look elsewhere to provide socially distanced COVID-19 testing during the winter months. The best option became the Genesius Theater.
“We have a fairly open room and other places on campus like the Power Center, the Union Ballroom and the Africa room are all being used for something else important, so they’re trying to find other large spaces to keep social distancing protocols in place,” said Genesius Theater’s Technical Director, Justin Sines. “As somebody who’s been at Duquesne as long as I have, it’s great to be able to ‘pay that back and be able to do all that I can for the university to come back and thrive again during COVID.”
Slightly different than other locations on campus, the Genesius Theater is also home to the Red Masquers, a student organization and amateur theatre company here at Duquesne. Though testing will be going on within the theater, the testing committee is dedicated to allowing the Masquers to continue using the building throughout the semester.
“The Red Masquers are super excited to have partial access to our theater space again,” said Red Masquers president, Heather Umbel. “Having the Genesius back in our arms, even just a bit, opens up a lot of opportunities for our organization to safely host small theater productions.”
The Masquers plan to produce The Pittsburgh Monologue Project and host Premieres 44, the annual student written works festival, with limited casting, a small live audience and a streaming option for those wanting to attend.
Currently, there is no official date for testing to begin for on campus and commuter students, though the frequency of testing is changing this semester. The university will be using a method of required surveillance testing that will take place every two weeks. Again, testing will be provided by the university at no cost to individuals.