UI Plans COVID Testing for Fall

By Connor Ciecko

The University of Illinois is currently developing a plan to administer coronavirus tests to all students who return to campus in August and working to include contact tracing into the UI mobile app.

According to the News-Gazette, the university will set up a testing center at VetMed with the goal of testing between 1,000 and 10,000 people daily.  It had been previously announced that instruction will be a hybrid of in-person and online instruction though the question remained as to how the administration could reduce the chance of creating a “super-spreader” event.  The testing will be implemented alongside social distance and mask policies.

To address the issue of campus housing and quarantine of potential cases, the university is currently working with private landlords to develop a plan for isolation living spaces, and a group is also working with Greek life to ensure distancing measures.

Recently, both Google and Apple released contact tracing APIs to allow phones to communicate with each other anonymously and share any potential exposure to COVID-19 with people who may have been around an individual who was infected.  Access to this API is currently limited to state health departments, though the university is hoping get approval to utilize it.  If not approved, a team at the university has written their own code to perform a similar function, according to the News-Gazette.

An official announcement on campus instruction is expected in mid-June.