by Jennifer Beck and Jack Windsor
LIMA, Ohio – The Ohio State University (OSU)-Lima is recruiting students to voluntarily submit COVID tests by entering them into a raffle for prizes each time a student tests.
“The more often you test, the better odds to win!”
That is the statement sent to Ohio State University-Lima Students March 17 when the Spring COVID-19 testing protocols were announced.
Airpod Pros, a MacBook, gift cards, and more prizes are promised in a raffle style drawing, as well as a free Ohio State shirt the first time a student tests.
While testing is mandatory for Buckeyes residing on the Columbus main campus and university-run facilities, participation in the Ohio State University- Lima Branch campus testing program is voluntary for non-residential students, and since there are no dorms on campus, all students are considered non-residential.
“Weekly testing will continue on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The purpose of the program is to allow the university to monitor and address real-time trends and prevalence and make timely decisions on intervention and response. Participation in this voluntary testing program for non-residential students is not required, but it is encouraged,” stated a release, posted on The Ohio State University-Lima website, and shared on the Ohio State-Lima facebook page March 17.
The Ohio State University-Lima is not the only branch campus to offer prize incentives associated with COVID-19 testing.
The Ohio State University- Marion campus announced a similar incentive for student testing. Marion campus officials are promising Airpods, an Apple Watch, and Bose Sound Link Speakers as prizes for individuals who voluntarily schedule and complete a COVID-19 test.
“The more you test, the more likely you are to win!” was stated in The Ohio State University-Marion website in a Buckeye Brief:
You can win Airpods, an Apple Watch, or Bose Sound Link Speakers
Students who voluntarily schedule and complete a COVID-19 test will be entered to win weekly and monthly prizes, including gift cards to places like GrubHub, Amazon or Starbucks, and tech products X, Y and Z. The more you test, the more likely you are to win!”
The Buckeye Brief talks about splitting up prizes on campuses and “proceeding with the plan.” Other Ohio State Campuses are announcing prize incentives for branch campus students who voluntarily test for COVID. The only campus to not announce prize incentives through their website at the time of this writing is the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) campus in Wooster.
On the OSU-Mansfield website it reads, “Test for COVID-19 from 10-2 on Thursday and be eligible for incentives.”
At The OSU-Newark campus, students are eligible for larger prizes if they test weekly, on a consistent basis. Branch campus university officials say that the incentives will change each week, and prize eligibility varies for residential vs. non-residential students.
Meanwhile, March 19, The Ohio State University main campus announced it is ending a twice-weekly testing mandate for on campus students, reverting back to once a week.
The OSU main campus in Columbus had informed students residing on main campus and university-run facilities would be required to submit to twice-weekly testing. That update came the same day Governor Mike DeWine declared that all COVID restrictions would be lifted when the statewide case count dropped below 50 cases per 100,000 Ohioans.
Studies indicate faulty tests can artificially drive up the positive case count when testing volume increases and a recent report highlighted COVID misinformation that inflated public perception about how many youth and young adults were hospitalized and fatally infected by the virus.
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Jennifer Beck is the Senior Producer/Anchor & Director of Marketing at WTLW TV-44 in Lima, OH. She writes independently about COVID, health & wellness, medicine, and cancer. She can be contacted at [email protected].
Jack Windsor contributed to this report. Windsor is the Statehouse Reporter at The Ohio Star and is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].