IU will require students to receive an on-arrival test upon returning to Bloomington in January or February and revealed its plan for this testing in a recent update to the school’s COVID-19 website.
The school’s plan accounts for students arriving in a staggered fashion after winter break. Classes resume fully online Jan. 19, and some classes return in person Feb. 8. There are differing plans for students living in different types of houses, and local hotels have offered to help in short-term quarantine efforts.
On-arrival testing in the spring will resemble that of the fall, but is expected to have quicker turnaround times due to IU’s own labs being fully operational — compared to previously sending the tests to Vault labs in New Jersey.
There is not currently a sign up link for on-arrival testing. That should be sent to students' emails in the coming weeks.
Students living in off-campus housing will be expected to sign up for an on-arrival test at the IU Auditorium when they return to Bloomington. It will be a saliva test. The Cramer Marching Hundred Hall will also be a testing site for students arriving after Feb. 7. Students are asked to quarantine in their Bloomington homes or permanent residence until the result of their test comes back and isolate for 10 days if they test positive.
Those living in on-campus housing like dorms and arriving between Jan. 3 and Jan. 29 will get a saliva test. They should quarantine in their permanent homes or in a local hotel until a test result comes back. Students must produce a negative test before moving into their on-campus housing.
The Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Home2Suites, Hyatt Place and SpringHill Suites are all offering rooms for students waiting for a test result. The cheapest rate from that group is $59 plus tax at the Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn.
Students arriving after Feb. 7 have the option to quarantine at the Ashton Residence Center while waiting for their test result.
Only those students living on campus and arriving between Jan. 30 and Feb. 7 will receive a rapid test upon arrival. Those will be given at Garrett Fieldhouse. If the rapid test is positive — results come back in around an hour — that student will immediately be given a saliva test, which is generally more accurate than the rapid test.
If that saliva test is negative, then the student will be allowed to move into their dorm.
The plan is very similar for students living in greek houses. Those students will not be allowed to move into the homes until testing negative. Chapter houses have more freedom in determining if a student isolates in a hotel or isolates within the house itself if they test positive. All greek houses have had to update IU with quarantine and isolation plans throughout the fall semester.
Even with the vaccine coming, campus is unlikely to change much, IU medical leaders said. There will be few if any increased in-person classes because IU believes its current distancing plans in classrooms have been effective.
Masks will still be required on campus, and that will continue to be the case once people receive the vaccine. IU is working on a plan for vaccinating students.