SIUE leaders revealed plans to implement a mandatory COVID-19 testing process for students and staff on campus and to hire a contact tracer during a COVID-19 update webinar held Sept 11.
During the webinar, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jeffrey Waple said SIUE has had plans to create a mandatory testing process for a while, but it is now being put into motion. To bring mandatory testing to campus, the university is forming a working group to develop a plan in coordination with Shield T3, the organization that is making the saliva test developed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign available to other colleges.
“We’re going to put together a team that [retired director of University Housing] Mike Schultz is going to lead, with members across campus, that will develop a plan that will look at … mandatory testing in January, with a pilot to start in November,” Waple said. “After talking with the SHIELD Program developers, it takes a good couple weeks to get a site identified, get people trained and hired to do the testing … There’s a whole bunch of logistical things that need to be set up. We’re going to task that group and form it later next week.”
Waple said the partnership came about through many meetings with SHIELD and staff all over the SIU system.
“We had a meeting with the SHIELD Program Directors … with myself, [Chancellor Randy] Pembrook, Michael Schultz, [Director of Health Service] Riane Greenwalt and [Vice Chancellor for Administration] Rich Walker, along with representatives from the Carbondale campus, and [SIU] System President Dan Mahony. … discussing [SHIELD’s] programming, and their applicability to our college campus,” Waple said. “From that discussion … there are many logistical things to be set up, like contracts and those types of things, but it looks like in the upcoming months, we’ll be ready to use SHIELD.”
As well as mandatory tests for individuals on campus, Greenwalt said there will soon be a contact tracer at SIUE. The contact tracer will help identify people who were in close contact with individuals that tested positive for COVID-19.
“Madison County has hired and is training our own on-site contact tracer, so that we’ll have a quicker turnaround time for our students to acknowledge who they’ve been around, and get information out to those close-contact exposure students quicker. … If faculty, staff or students are seeing people on campus who seem to be missing from the classroom, they could possibly be a close-contact exposure,” Greenwalt said.
To watch the town hall, visit siue.techsmithrelay.com/1wwq.