Outbreak at IWU linked to Social Gatherings
Written by WZND Newsroom on August 19, 2020
Photo courtesy to IWU Facebook page
NORMAL, Ill.- Currently Illinois Wesleyan is monitoring and responding to a COVID-19 outbreak linked directly to off-campus social gatherings where the consistent use of masks and social distancing did not occur, which is a violation of IWU protocols.
Contact tracing is being conducted by the McLean County Health Department, while Arnold Health Service assisted with limited early identification and notification of “close contacts.”
IWU has instructed all “close contacts” to begin quarantine and monitor symptoms until the McLean County Health Department reaches out to them to verify and evaluate their quarantine status.
“This outbreak demonstrates the necessity for all members of IWU community to adhere to the Titan Pledge,” said Dean of Students Karla Carney-Hall and Executive Director of Health Vickie Folse.
Students who believe they meet the criteria of a “close contact” (direct contact for more than 15 minutes, closer than 6 feet) may elect to begin quarantine in anticipation of further instruction.
In preparation of the fall semester students were required to undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival and were told to self isolate until a negative result was received.
Of nearly 1,450 baseline tests administered to students over the past two weeks, a total of nine unrelated students tested positive for COVID-19.
“They were each returned home or to their off campus residence to continue isolating,” said Carney-Hall and Folse.
Ongoing surveillance testing will be conducted throughout the fall semester. Each week 5-10% of the entire student body will be retested to monitor the potential emergence of positive COVID-19 cases on campus.
IWU Physical Plant workers are following enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols and will conduct additional deep cleaning and disinfecting in on-campus spaces that held COVID-19 positive students.