COVID-19 tests required for all staff and students

SIU+student+receives+a+COVID-19+test+Jan.+12%2C+2022+at+Grinnell+Hall+in+Carbondale%2C+Ill.+%0A

Mallory Aukland | mallory[email protected]

SIU student receives a COVID-19 test Jan. 12, 2022 at Grinnell Hall in Carbondale, Ill.

For all students and faculty returning to the SIU campus for spring semester, a negative COVID-19 test is required.

For those who are fully vaccinated, the test is a one-time occurrence to make sure everyone on campus is safe. 

“Eighty-four percent  of our faculty and staff are fully vaccinated and 77% of our students are fully vaccinated,”  Kim Rendfeld, SIU director of communications said. “This is really out of an abundance of caution.”

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University officials  said the hope for these tests is to catch the disease before it spreads. 

“I believe in trusting the science, but I think that everyone has to make their own decision. I just want individuals to be as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin, vice chancellor of student affairs. “From the information I have, and the situations I’ve been in personally and professionally, being vaccinated has been the best way to go.”

The university has been informing students how to get tested for the vaccine by putting up posters around campus, updating the website and sending emails. 

“We’ve been given kudos as it relates to making sure that the campus is safe, so we’re very happy about that.” Burgin said. 

Malik Mitchell, a first year student at SIU, said he was unvaccinated for the first semester of classes but got tested weekly at the school. 

Mitchell’s family was skeptical about the vaccine after a family member became ill after the vaccination, he said.

“My grandfather ended up getting the vaccine and two days later he was in the hospital.” Mitchell said. 

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Mitchell said he never had any issues scheduling appointments to get tested and the university was good about reminding and providing resources. 

Mitchell has received his first vaccination dose and plans to be fully vaccinated for his second semester of classes. 

“Honestly, I really want to leave the country and travel and right now they’re being very strict about that kind of stuff so I just decided to get it,” he said

The university encourages all students to continue to be safe and will continue to provide COVID resources as needed. 

“In fact, we’re going to be holding a booster clinic January 19, and 20th at the Student Center, and the reason we are still encouraging vaccinations and boosters is because it does remain the best strategy against serious illness and deaths,” Rendfeld said. 

The Center for Disease Control and Illinois Department of Public Health are great online resources for those still questioning the vaccination, Rendfeld said. 

“I would say that we should not stigmatize individuals who are and who are not vaccinated,” Burgin said. “We should just allow for the conversations, and the education to continue, but always in the best interest of making sure that the Saluki nation and this campus community is safe.” 

The university will keep updating staff and students by email. Non-students can access SIU’s COVID-19 information here

Staff reporter Carolyn Dickte can be reached at [email protected] 

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