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Most ISU fall classes to move online as feds reallocate COVID testing supplies

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NORMAL (HOI) -- Illinois State University will be moving a majority of its fall term classes to online formats.

An email to faculty and staff blamed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for reallocating three testing machines and 5,000 reagent kits the university had ordered to "another location."

The email from Provost Aondover Tarhule says chairs and directors will work with faculty to move as many classes as possible online. Courses with course objectives that cannot be met in an online format may remain face-to-face or hybrid.

"Throughout the summer, communications from the Provost's Office have stated that faculty should be prepared to pivot to online learning with limited advanced notice," Tarhule said. "I hope the decision to pivot now, although not without challenges, will afford you needed time to smoothly make this transition and provide consistency for you and your students through the fall term."

ISU continues to work with a third-party vendor to provide symptomatic and surveillance testing on campus for the fall term. Hospital partnerships will be able to provide on-campus testing at Student Health Services for symptomatic students, the email said.

An FAQ provided by the university says there are no plans to adjust tuition for online courses.

A separate email from President Larry Dietz outlines testing options and housing and dining contracts.

As of August 4, the university will provide testing at Student Health Services for students who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms. Symptomatic students can expect their results back within a 24-hour period.

The state-run testing site continues to be offered at the Interstate Center in Bloomington continues to be available for all students, faculty and staff and is free of charge.  

The housing and meal plan contract cancellation date has been extended, with no financial penalty, to Tuesday, August 18, the second full day of classes.

Safety measures within the residence halls and university apartments include, but are not limited to, physical distancing in all common spaces, no triple or quad occupancy rooms, enhanced cleaning of restrooms and high-touch surfaces, quarantine and isolation protocols, and no off-campus or overnight guests.

Students will be required to wear a face-covering in the residence halls when outside of their residence hall room.

As of Tuesday, the university expects that random surveillance testing for asymptomatic students will be required of everyone living in residence halls and university apartments.

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