By Ryan Hill

DAVIS (CBS13) – Call it a crash course on COVID: UC Davis students are signing up to help run the university’s testing site.

Students like Linh Tra are getting course credit to be a part of the testing effort inside the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center on campus.

“I’m kind of interested in helping with the kiosk,” Tra said. “And also, I’m really interested learning more about COVID-19 in general.”

Sixty-five UC Davis students are enrolled in the class called COVID-19 (Mass) Testing, a two-credit course. Course manager Dr. David Coil said it’s a chance to give students hands-on experience that’s hard to find during the pandemic.

“It’s a lot harder now to say shadow a doctor in a hospital or whatever. There’s a lot more restrictions,” Coil said.

And there’s also a lot the course entails like crowd control, checking in clients and collecting salvia test samples to learn more about the testing process. The students will have to turn in an essay about the experience at the conclusion of the fall quarter for the course.

“There’s a lot of research on campus that’s closed. There’s a lot fewer opportunities for students to do these kinds of things. And this gives them the opportunity to do that within a safe setting,” Coil said.

The course also includes Zoom town halls for these students to learn from COVID-19 testing experts to gain even more knowledge. That knowledge is power during a pandemic.

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“There’s a lot of people and a lot of people getting tested. And, it shows you how many can and cannot have corona. So, it makes you be safer,” Diana Del Rosario, a student in the course, said.

A place filled with athletic pride hanging in the rafters is bringing a different kind of pride with this pandemic-driven course.

“It shows that not only we care about our community, but we care about the pursuit of knowledge and furthering our understanding of these kinds of viruses,” Alyssa Laxamana, a student in the course, said.

The university is offering the course again for students who are interested in signing and masking up during the winter quarter. Coil told CBS13 that he hopes and plans to provide the course for as long as the course is needed. He also said that it will adjust the course given changes in new testing and the potential vaccine for COVID-19.