In a message to the Illinois State University community, President Larry Dietz announced that weekly coronavirus updates will begin this week to provide context to the university's approach and how positive cases will impact campus operations moving forward.

"The updates will provide context to the university’s approach to coronavirus and how positive test results might impact our operations moving forward,” Dietz said. “University leadership is closely monitoring positive test results received from on-campus and community testing and is in regular discussions with local government and health officials.”

ISU is working with the University of Illinois to become a partner in using its saliva-based test. Chemistry professor and COVID-19 testing coordinator John Baur is leading the university's testing effort and to implement the saliva-based tested on campus.

“The first step was achieved when the University of Illinois received FDA approval in recent weeks. A second major step is building a CLIA certified lab, which will be in the Science Laboratory Building,” Baur stated. "A unique aspect of the partnership with the University of Illinois Shield Illinois program is the ability to extend testing opportunities to other educational institutions, local nursing homes and major employers in the area."

Students can get tested from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week at the old firehouse behind Cardinal Court, on Schroeder Plaza or the Brown Ballroom depending on the weather or call Student Health Services to make an appointment if they are showing symptoms.

It was also noted in the update from Vice President of Student Affairs Levester Johnson that there are no plans at this time to close the residence halls. 

“Right now, more than 80 percent of those testing positive are living off campus and of those students living in on-campus housing, only 2 percent are currently in on-campus isolation.” Johnson said. “The residence halls have implemented a variety of measures to further support the health and wellness of our on-campus residents.”

The full message can be read below.

GRACE KINNICUTT is News Editor for The Vidette. She can be contacted at Follow Kinnicutt on Twitter at @GKinnicutt 

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