Administering 800 COVID tests per day is a daunting task, but Deirdre Botsch is up for the challenge. As Babson’s new COVID-19 testing site lead, Botsch oversees a team of 18 who administer tests for the Babson community five days a week. Botsch joined Babson a year ago as a per diem nurse from Spaulding Hospital and has played a key role in the College’s response to the pandemic. From a storage closet in the Webster Center, Botsch squeezed in a few minutes to talk to us about her role in keeping the Babson community safe.
Students, faculty, and staff: Schedule a Babson PCR test.
What interested you about this role?
“I really wanted to learn more about the testing process and learn as much as I could about COVID.”
What have been some of the biggest challenges in testing the Babson community over the past year?
“There was so much uncertainty when the pandemic first started, and things were ever-changing. It was really hard to stay on our toes and be flexible as policies shifted. I also worried about bringing COVID home to my family and trying to stay as protected as possible, especially early on in the pandemic. We were tested regularly, but I still worried. Luckily, though—knock on wood—I have not had it!
“Conducting tests in the (Babson Executive Conference Center) garage was also really challenging. It was still being used as an active garage so the echoing was tough to deal with. And, of course, the weather could be a challenge! Some days, it would be super hot and we’d all be sweating, and then by December, it was freezing. I’m so happy we’re inside now!”
What have been some of the bright spots in an otherwise trying year?
“It’s been really nice getting to know some of the students, faculty, and staff. Some, like the student-athletes who are tested twice a week, we’ve gotten to know pretty well. And, I just like knowing that I’m playing a role in keeping everybody safe and happy and able to actually be here on campus.
“I feel like the community as a whole has been very patient and understands that this is what they need to do to be on campus and have a college experience. Some may get frustrated from time to time, which is understandable, but everyone has been great to work with.”
“I feel like the community as a whole has been very patient and understands that this is what they need to do to be on campus and have a college experience.”
Deirdre Botsch, COVID-19 testing center lead
How do you see your role evolving?
“We have a whole team of people working together to make decisions on testing protocols moving forward. Long term, I don’t see the testing center closing down anytime soon. We’ll still need to test, but hopefully, we’ll get enough herd immunity that COVID will be managed more like the flu.”
Why is surveillance testing important even when the student body is vaccinated?
“There have been breakthrough cases in people who are fully vaccinated, which is also why it’s important to maintain the safety protocols we have in place. Think of the COVID vaccine like the flu shot. Everyone’s immunity varies, even if they get the same dose and same type of vaccine, some people will still get the flu.”
Two More for Deirdre Botsch
What does Babson mean to you?
“Babson is a great community of people trying to keep each other safe, and just trying to have a normal college experience. And, I’m really happy I can be a part of that.”
Right now, what are you …
- Reading? Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. “I’m listening to the audiobook.”
- Watching? “I’m rewatching the second season of ‘You’ on Netflix, because Season 3 is coming out soon. I’m also watching ‘American Horror Story,’ which I really like.”
- Listening to? “Fleetwood Mac is my favorite band—old school!”
- Doing for fun? “I like to exercise with my dog. I have a 50-pound boxer lab mix named Axel. I also like going out to eat.”