Mitigation testing next part of IUK’s campus COVID-19 protection plan

SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. – After a successful start to the fall 2020 semester, Indiana University Kokomo continues to ensure the safety of its campus community with semester-long COVID-19 mitigation testing beginning Tuesday, September 1.

Nearly all students, faculty, and staff are included in the testing, with the goal of quickly identifying and isolating any individuals who test positive for the virus, including asymptomatic carriers. The testing will also deliver a clearer picture of how the virus may be spreading, including early detection of potential “COVID clusters.”

“Mitigation testing is a key tool in our ability to keep the campus open safely for our students and faculty,” said Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. “It will allow us to identify those who may have the virus, without symptoms, so we can stop it from spreading to more people. We also want to help those who do have COVID-19 access medical care, for as quick a recovery as possible.”

Each week, a pool of faculty, staff, and students will be selected randomly for testing, which will take place in the Art Gallery. Those to be tested will be contacted by email and must schedule an appointment through a provided link by Friday of that week.  If selected, individuals are required to participate unless they meet a very narrow set of exemption criteria.

Results of the saliva test will be available in 3 to 5 days. If the test is positive, individuals will be contacted by an IU contact tracer and receive detailed instructions on isolation and next steps, including downloading the Twistle app. Through Twistle, individuals will receive daily prompts to check their temperature and monitor other symptoms. If symptoms worsen, Twistle will alert an IU Health nurse to call and check in with that person.

If the test is negative, individuals should continue with their normal routine.

Mitigation testing will cover thousands of people per week across all IU campuses. The tests will be conducted using saliva samples, which is sufficient for the purposes of mitigation testing. Nasopharyngeal swabs will not be required for mitigation testing.

Participation in mitigation testing is essential to IU’s ability to continue safely offering in-person education this year; without it, the university has no way to identify asymptomatic cases before they spread to others. Consequently, students, faculty and staff contacted for mitigation testing who fail to take the COVID-19 test may be subject to disciplinary actions, up to removal from campus or being placed on administrative leave without pay. Further details are provided to students in the Student Commitment Form and to faculty and staff in the Community Responsibility Acknowledgement.

Students, faculty and staff who do not come to campus this semester may be exempt from mitigation testing. A link to an exemption request form will be made available upon contact.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.