Illinois State University to adapt U. of I. testing

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Blake Haas

NORMAL – While Coronavirus cases continue to rise at Illinois State University, the campus will soon get a helping hand from a neighbor 53 miles from campus.

In six to eight weeks, ISU will adopt the University of Illinois new saliva-based tests called I-COVID that provides test results within hours.

“The U. of I. got their saliva-based testing approved by the FDA, were going to try to set that up as a testing protocol here,” ISU President Larry Dietz told WJBC’s, Scott Miller. There six to ten weeks away from being away from being able to accommodate us or any other public university for that matter, and that’s coming from their folks; it’s not a reluctance to want to do that either our end or their end. It’s just a matter of getting through all of the protocols with the labs and so forth to get that to happen. I think we’re heading in a better direction, but it’s a rough time, there’s no question about it.”

The U. of I. has invested around $6 million into the saliva testing program that includes a new smartphone application that allows students access to buildings if the app shows the student tested negative for COVID-19.

“They are a research one institution; they have through their medical school a lot of work that has been done on this. They just are not ready to do that…But they are not ready to roll that out. It’s just a matter of readiness on this. They were the test site, and they have done a wonderful job of that. We can’t wait to try (and) stand it up here. We have to get our labs approved, we have to get equipment in place, hire staff, and they have to roll that out, and they are not ready for that.”

LISTEN: Illinois State University President Larry Dietz spoke with WJBC’s Scott Miller about COVID-19 testing at ISU. 

As of Monday, 972 ISU students have tested positive for COVID-19. The rolling 7-day positivity rate is 24.0%.

Blake Haas can be reached at


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