Campus COVID protocols updated for Omicron

By Farah Bassyouni Feb11,2022

As students settle into the spring semester, Titans are navigating the Omicron variant. On campus, Arnold Health Services reported 17 active positive cases between January 28 and February 3. 

On February 4, IWU updated isolation and quarantine protocols for on-campus students and planned to make them effective Monday, February 7. The new protocols are concerned with the shorter isolation periods recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and give students clarifications on how that impacts their interactions with the rest of the campus if exposed, or if they are positive. 

According to the new guidelines, students who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated off-campus for five days, and the five days begin immediately after test results are known.  Students may be expected to test on Day 6, depending on Arnold Health Services’ assessment. 

Students must be cleared by Arnold Health Services before arranging transportation back to campus or returning to campus. Students are allowed to return to in-person classes and activities after their sixth day if they wear high-quality masks, such as N95s and KN95s. 

If a student has been identified as a close contact, the new protocols clarify what the student should do next based on vaccination status. If a close contact is fully vaccinated, they are not required to quarantine but it is recommended to get tested five days after exposure. Unvaccinated students, regardless of symptoms, should be quarantined for five days and a negative PCR test must be obtained before leaving isolation. 

In McLean County, the rolling seven-day positivity rate was 9.5 percent as of February 8. The county has experienced high community transmission during January. The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) reported 119 new cases this week, with 100 percent of hospital rates within the county in-use. 


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