On Friday, the university announced through an email from the Office of Risk Management that they will be providing free COVID-19 test kits to students. The testing kits were available to students living on campus last weekend and will be available to students commuting or living off campus beginning Tuesday. Kits can be picked up at the metered parking lot at the University Union. Test kits will be available until Thursday.
The free test kits are saliva collection kits. They will be provided by the Beu Health Center staff as well as volunteers who have been adequately trained. The saliva will be collected in the kits and then overnighted to a lab in Kansas. Unlike the testing that has been done so far in McDonough County, this test will provide results in 24 hours, helping to minimize the risk of contact with students who test positive.
While the large majority of testing is anticipated to be done in one large group over the course of the next week, the university will continue to complete a random weekly sampling of the Western Illinois University student population throughout the entire fall semester.
Students who receive a positive test result will be required to isolate for 14 days. Students who live on the Macomb campus will be able to quarantine in Bayliss Hall, which was renovated into a quarantine center over the summer. Students who commute or attend the Quad Cities campus are required to isolate at home for 14 days as well.
The test kits, while not mandatory, are highly recommended for all students. In addition to providing the kits, the university will also be installing 350 HEPA air purifiers. These will be installed in various classrooms and buildings on campus in an effort to stop the spread of the virus through the air. Students will now also be required to answer a COVID-related survey and take their temperature prior to entering a classroom or campus building. This rule will apply every day including weekends if a student intends on entering campus property. The daily survey can be found at wiu.edu/selfcheck/. There will be a kiosk available at the Office of Public Safety for any student who does not have a way to access the survey off campus.
Students who indicated in any way that they have been exposed to or show symptoms of COVID-19 will be contacted by the Beu Health Center with follow up questions and guidance.