PEORIA (WEEK) - Colleges and Universities across the country are battling COVID-19 outbreaks, including at Illinois State University in Normal. Bradley Administrators are hoping to avoid such an outbreak, even though some classes are still meeting in-person.
After classes started Wednesday, University spokesperson Renee Charles said over 300 tests were conducted at random. Nine people tested positive. Those nine individuals are in isolation either at home or in a campus isolation space.
In addition to the random 250-300 tests per week, any student feeling symptoms will be tested on campus, and staff members will be sent to one of the local testing centers.
The University placed guidelines for student conduct during this pandemic that include limiting group gatherings to 50 per state guidelines, wearing masks when on campus, and refraining from attending or hosting parties or other social events that could easily spread the virus.
"Our students are only on campus for a very short time during the day. When they go off campus, that's where a lot of the concerning activity might take place," explained Charles.
The school is looking to students and staff to help report violations. "I think we definitely need to hold each other accountable. At the end of the day it's individual actions that's going to get us through the semester," said Senior Matthew Hoelscher.
An online non-compliance form is available on the University's website, however, it is not anonymous said Charles. You can also call Bradley PD to report any suspicious activity.
"If you're a student or employee and you see something happening, report it. Let us know. If it's making you uneasy, tell us about it," said Charles.
As for possible consequences, Charles said, "If they're blatantly disrespecting the guidelines that we put in place, or constantly doing that. That's when the disciplinary action will come into place. Which could be something simple to something that includes potential suspension from campus."
But off-campus activities are out of the school's control. For instance, if students were attending parties or going to clubs/bars, those actions may not be enforceable through the university.
"I don't know about whether people are going to bars or not. And that's kind of a scary thing of you just can't control everybody completely, so," said the Senior Hoelscher.
Sophomore Mark Arroyo was optimistic about his fellow students, "In general I'm assuming most people out of the goodness of their hearts are taking those proper procedures to make sure everyone is safe here on campus."
As for those who may be partying or out at crowded bars on weekends, Arroyo said, "Really take a step back, and don't be selfish, think about others."