Bone Student Center testing site

In the Bone Student Center is a container filled with test tubes used for COVID-19 testing. The Bone is one of the on-campus testing sites available to all students. 

There has been a lot of talk among Illinois State University faculty and staff about not being offered COVID-19 testing the way that students are through the university.

However, some staff members are still coming to campus for meetings and other necessary events.

If they want to get tested, they are required to go somewhere off campus and deal with various problems. This includes, but is not limited to, long lines, weather and travel.

“As the Interstate Center testing site is available to faculty and staff members, the university has focused its on-campus testing efforts at this time towards students,” ISU Director of Media Relations Eric Jome said.

ISU is currently working with the University of Illinois  to bring the saliva-based testing system to campus.

The University of Illinois was given the Food and Drug Administration approval to expand the testing methods and system to other campuses. ISU also plans to set up a lab on campus for processing test results.

This whole process will take at least 10 weeks because the lab will need to be federally certified for conducting tests. The testing equipment from U of I will also need to be delivered to ISU.

“The obvious target audience for that testing will be students. The specifics of how that testing will be deployed here at ISU and the full scope of that testing are still being worked out,” Jome said.

Many faculty and staff members of ISU are very upset with the process that has been set up at the university.

Hundreds of people from the university signed a letter in June regarding the method they had in place, but it was never acknowledged nor were any of the science-based recommendations acted upon.

“ISU has done a shockingly bad job of mitigating this pandemic and protecting its community — an almost willfully bad job. I wish there were tests available for faculty and staff, but I am not surprised that there aren’t,” sociology professor Michael Dougherty said.

“A month or so ago, they had zero plans to even test students. They were directing students to the Interstate Center.”

However, not all faculty has a strong opinion about the current method that is taking place on campus.

“I am fine with the policy of reserving the on-campus testing for students living on campus. Many faculty members are working from home quite a bit. Many of us also have cars,” sociology professor Maria Schmeeckle said.

“If I need to get tested, I understand that I need to go to the Interstate Center. That is OK with me.”

There are a variety of different opinions and judgements about the procedures that ISU is taking regarding COVID-19 testing.

Some faculty members strongly disagree about the actions they have taken, but other members do not feel as affected by the operation to limit testing to students only.

“The university’s number one priority at the moment is the students,” ISU Assistant Director of Media Relations Rachel Hatch said.

CHELSEA CORA is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at Follow her on Twitter at | @cora_chelsea

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