Update - 1 February 2021
A message from Mary Weis, Acting Vice President for Administration:
We would like to take the opportunity to provide you with a few updates on the university response to the COVID-19 pandemic since the start of the spring term.
If you visit our website, you will notice that we have reposted our COVID-19 dashboard. We are pleased with the data, which confirms that our campus community is living the Spartan Safety covenants.
The hybrid model for attendance seems to be working smoothly. The equipment allowing both F2F and remote attendance is functioning well, and the materials we have made available to reduce the risk of spread are being utilized and have been well received. Between classes and administrative meetings, since 11 January, the university has logged almost 7,000 zoom sessions, with 119,000 attendees for a total of 6,500,000 minutes!
In the fall term, on the Aurora campus, we administered surveillance testing for student-athletes, residential students, and nursing students. In January, we limited our Aurora campus surveillance testing to student-athletes. Effective the week of 8 February, we will be adding residential students, nursing students, and full-time regular employees to our weekly Aurora campus surveillance testing. Only a small subsection of each group will be tested each Wednesday, allowing us to identify potential exposures, as well as better monitor potential outbreaks.
We are excited to announce that the university will be using BinaxNOW, a rapid antigen test from Abbott Labs, for our Aurora campus surveillance testing. This test provides results in 15 minutes.
Individuals will be randomly selected for testing each week and will be notified about testing via email. The testing process requires that individuals download the Navica smart phone app to enter basic information, check in, and obtain results. We would like to reiterate that the information obtained via surveillance testing is confidential and, in the case of a positive result, is only shared with limited number of university staff, in addition to state public health authorities. This will ensure that isolation protocols are followed, and that contact tracing to determine further exposure is performed.
If you are selected to be tested, you will receive a more detailed email from either Nicki Pieart or me. Please note that it is incredibly important that each member of our campus community participate in surveillance testing when asked. By doing so, you signal your commitment to the safety of our entire community.
Finally, we want to thank you for your continued enthusiasm and commitment to the university mission during an incredibly difficult period in our history. But of course, we would have expected nothing less from our strong Spartan community.