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Western Illinois University implements new COVID-19 protocols

WIU COVID protocols changing
WIU COVID protocols changing(WGEM)
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:37 PM CST
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MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) - There are 34 new cases of COVID-19 in McDonough County on Tuesday, and Western Illinois University officials said they are tracking 31 active cases.

To prepare for a surge in cases when students and staff return to campus, WIU has changed their COVID-19 protocols.

All WIU faculty, staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, must get tested once a week at the campus recreation center from now through Jan. 31.

The university is using this mandatory gateway testing as a way to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Executive Director of Risk Management and Auxiliary Services Joe Roselieb said the mandatory gateway testing is a way to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“If they do test positive, we can remove them and hopefully get them recovered and back in the classroom and back on the campus as soon as possible,” Roselieb said.

Everyone returning to campus is also encouraged to get a COVID-19 test three to five days before arriving.

Senior Carolina Gomes thinks the school is taking effective steps to keep her as safe from COVID-19.

“Especially with the testing,” Gomes said. “We can test for free and if we test positive and we live on campus, they give us the option to move and just stay isolated.”

Roselieb said these protocols could help keep cases down, which in turn can mean more in-person events and activities on campus.

“We really want to get back to as normal of an experience so we can find what makes the university a university,” Roselieb said.

All unvaccinated faculty, staff and students are required to continue testing each week throughout the semester, like last year. Those who do not follow testing protocols could lose privileges to things like class registration priority or time off without pay.

Masks will be required indoors for everyone on campus.

The testing center is at the Student Recreation Center MAC Gym on the Macomb campus. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and is closed on Martin Luther King Junior Day.

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