Ohio University plans to increase and expand COVID-19 testing for Spring Semester as more students are invited to return to campus for in-person classes. 

Both on and off-campus students taking in-person classes will be tested, as well as students who swipe into campus facilities like Ping Recreation Center. 

“We want to have early detection, particularly among asymptomatic carriers, we know that people in the student age group are particularly likely to be asymptomatic carriers,” Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations, said. “And we also want to do timely contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.”

On-campus students will be tested once every week, while off-campus students will be tested every other week. Each group will have an option to do “repeated rescheduling,” or schedule to be tested at the same time every or every other week. 

“The goal is to test around 7,000 to 10,000 individuals in a week,” Ice said. “And it just depends on who's here.”

In addition to the current testing procedures and vendors, OU will be using a testing brand named Vault to test students in the spring. Students will order and use the Vault testing to complete pre-arrival testing before classes start. 

In addition to the weekly and bi-weekly testing, OU will engage in wastewater testing. 

In other business, Faculty Senate passed a resolution to reinstate faculty purchasing card privileges. 

Faculty Senate also unanimously passed a resolution that instructs faculty members to follow the handbook and listen to faculty members when making changes in academic programming. 

“This is basically a resolution that says that if there is going to be changes in the different academic programs in terms of curriculum, discontinuing departments, merging departments, that sort of thing, that you should follow the processes that are in your faculty handbook and listen to the voice of faculty,” Faculty Senate Vice Chair, Benjamin Bates, said. 

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs addressed “academic areas of focus for some proposed priority actions on the academic side related to diversity and inclusion” at the meeting. That included closing equity gaps in retention and graduation rates, redefining new faculty orientation for fall 2021 and requiring a diversity advocate and training for every academic research committee effective spring 2021.