Because CDC guidelines didn’t recommend COVID-19 entry testing for faculty and students as of June, IU made decisions about on-arrival testing at its own discretion.
IU required an on-arrival nasal swab test for on-campus students and an on-arrival saliva test for those living off-campus. However, IU did not require faculty members to get an on-arrival test at the start of the semester.
Although these measures might seem out of place to some students, IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said because faculty were at a lower risk of bringing the infection to campus, on-arrival testing was not necessary.
“Our faculty have generally been in Bloomington for the last several months,” he said. “Official travel has been eliminated over the last five months, they’ve not been able to go anywhere for IU, and so the chances of them having been somewhere else and bringing something in are far more limited than they would be with students who are coming from all over the country and certainly from all over the state.”
Carney said the important part now is to conduct mitigation testing for all faculty, staff and students as needed throughout the semester to minimize risk as much as possible.
“Obviously faculty are concerned about testing positive generally,” he said. “It’s a concern for everybody, but that’s why we’re following the safety practices that we are.”
All students, staff and faculty are subject to mitigation testing with people living in communal living being tested more often according to IU coronavirus protocols.
Dr. Aaron Carroll, director of surveillance and mitigation for COVID-19 at IU, said the university is working hard to be responsible amid the pandemic.
“We’re building the plane as we’re flying,” he said.
Keith Dayton, a senior lecturer at the Kelley School of Business, has been a member of the IU faculty for more than 20 years. He said although nothing is perfect, he feels IU is doing its best to be deliberate and thoughtful regarding testing and communication. He also said testing is one of the best ways to combat the pandemic.
“I’m very pro-testing,” he said. “The more availability, the more options that are there, and I would say this whether in a university setting or not. I think it’s an important element in getting through this pandemic.”
Dayton also said controlling the pandemic is a community effort and something everyone needs to take personal responsibility for.
“We all play a role in this, and the fastest way out of this is to accept that role,” he said.