Dr. Aaron Carroll, IU’s director of mitigation testing, discussed plans for on-departure and on-arrival testing during his weekly COVID-19 webinar Wednesday.
In nearly every webinar, Carroll has been asked about if students should be tested before going home for Thanksgiving. Today, he said he and the rest of the Medical Response Team are discussing plans to have on-departure testing available for students as they go home.
“You should still probably quarantine as much as possible and stay away from loved ones,” Carroll said.
Carroll said that testing will be available to students who request it. He has said for weeks he anticipated students receiving weekly testing by that point with the on-campus labs opening up.
Planning for on-departure testing is still in the early stages, and Carroll did not provide further details on the logistics of such a set up.
Over Thanksgiving break and the winter session, Carroll said Ashton will remain open for students who are unable to leave campus, or those who still need to isolate or quarantine there.
Classes begin online only after Thanksgiving on Nov. 30. That entirely virutal period contains the rest of the fall semseter, the entirity of the winter session and the first weeks of the spring semstmer. Classes resume on campus in the spring Feb. 8.
Carroll also provided further details on the expectation of on-arrival testing in the spring. While the school has not announced official plans for this either, Carroll has said students should anticipate some sort of on-arrival testing.
The plan will likely resemble what the school employed in the fall for move-in. That included staggered move-in dates for on-campus students. That will likely be the case again in the spring as on-campus students are assigned a day to return.
However, Carroll said that staggering will happen in a smaller time period than what was used in August for move-ins.
Carroll’s plans for increased future testing rely on the opening of IU’s own labs. That is expected to be completed by mid-October, though the school has not announced an official opening date.
In the spring, Carroll said there is the potential for more in-person classes should data from the rest of Indiana, the United States and the on-arrival testing show IU is able to allow for that. That will also require there to be a continued lack of spread in classroom settings and to make sure classrooms still follow the current safety procedures.
That comes along with Carroll also considering opening other indoor gathering spots on campus as the weather gets colder and IU’s COVID-19 numbers continue to decrease. He said that will likely not include dining halls, however, as those make for a more unsafe environment.
“We will try to advance the ball,” Carroll said.”But we don’t want to go too far too fast.”