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IU lays out a plan for a return to campus life

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Posted at 5:47 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 17:49:26-04

BLOOMINGTON — IU-Bloomington and its satellite campuses across the state have been lonely places for the last two months, after COVID-19 forced the school to send students home and focus on virtual learning.

Thursday, IU President Michael McRobbie laid out a plan to get students, faculty and staff back on campus during a period of "phased reopening" of research and teaching operations. The plans are based on a report by a "Restart Committee" McRobbie appointed.

It all starts with testing for the virus and McRobbie has a plan. "I am extremely pleased to announced that Indiana University has entered into a comprehensive agreement with its partner IU Health, Indiana's largest health care provider and one of the nation's largest, to screen and test any member of the IU community of nearly 140,000 students, staff and faculty who is symptomatic for COVID-19," he said.

Starting June 1, any member of the IU community can go through a testing procedure that begins with One IU, the school's app. Those who actually need testing will go to one of 13 sites across the state. Test results should be ready in 36-hours or less and those who test positive will be directed to self-isolate.

McRobbie said IU will resume research activities around June 1 and be back to full strength by July 1. "The pandemic has slowed or stopped many major research activities on campus," he said, although some essential research has continued on campus and remotely.

The most difficult task, McRobbie said, is resuming classes on campus in the fall. That should happen "in some proportion," he said and is possible because of the testing capability IU now has. More information is expected in coming days.

"I have transmitted the Restart Report to all campuses and have asked that they report back no later than May 26 as to how they will implement this critical recommendation of the report, which supports a blended or hybrid model of instruction, and confirm that they can implement such an instructional model with appropriate risk mitigation as outlined in the committee's report," said McRobbie.