ISU trustees approve contract for U of I COVID-19 saliva tests

The board also approved an agreement with two local hotels that provides extra quarantine space for on-campus students.(Facebook/Illinois State University)


By Neil Doyle

NORMAL – Illinois State University’s governing board Friday approved a $5.5 million contract to establish a lab to process COVID-19 saliva-based tests and to conduct saliva-based testing of students, faculty, and staff.

The partnership with the University of Illinois Shield program will run from Nov. 1 until May 14 and provides up to 275,000 tests over the contract period at a projected price of $20 per test. The exact number of tests conducted each week will vary. ISU will not enter into the contract until such time as the University of Illinois saliva-based COVID-19 testing methodology receives FDA approval.

The board also approved an agreement with two local hotels that provides extra quarantine space for on-campus students. The university has secured capacity to quarantine up to 94 students per night for a period of 14 days each. The exact number of rooms used each night will vary based on the need for quarantine spaces on a particular day. The contract runs until May 14 and costs $1.6 million.

Meanwhile, trustees approved the fiscal year 2021 budget and the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget which will be sent to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The 2021 annual operating budget totals $487.3 million. For 2022, the board approved a proposed operating budget of $80.6 million and a capital appropriation request of $449.6 million. The budget request represents a 15.8 percent increase, or $11 million, over the university’s prior year appropriation and is focused solely on receiving state support to help reimburse the school for COVID-19 health and safety expenditures.

ISU’s top project in the capital request is a new $101.5 million engineering building. Also on the list a new Mennonite College of Nursing building and replacements for University High School and Thomas Metcalf School.

Neil Doyle can be reached at


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