COVID-19 testing for Unit 5 student-athletes

At the end of last year, Unit 5 received a $1 million grant from Rivian and Reditus Labs to offer free voluntary testing for all students and staff. (WJBC file photo)

 

By Neil Doyle

NORMAL – Student-athletes in McLean County’s largest school district are required to get a one-time COVID-19 test before the start of the season.

Unit 5 Superintendent Dr. Kristen Weikle explains how they came to the decision.

“We know COVID can spread and a lot of teens can be asymptomatic and carriers of COVID, so what can we do to not only make sure our student-athletes are safe and healthy, but also keeping their classmates, coaches, and teachers they come into contact safe,” Weikle told WJBC’s Scott Miller.

“Peoria Public Schools are requiring any in-person learner to test every two to three weeks in order to even attend school. We looked at that and thought about going that route for our student-athletes and we thought that is maybe going to far to require that.”

Weikle says after the first test they hope student-athletes will voluntarily test throughout the season. She says coaches and staff also have the option to get tested and many have taken advantage of the opportunity.

“When I was at one of the schools on Tuesday I was talking to many of the students in line and I had a lot of student-athletes say thank you for doing this. So that was definitely good to hear,” said Weikle.

At the end of last year, Unit 5 received a $1 million grant from Rivian and Reditus Labs to offer free voluntary testing for all students and staff.

Neil Doyle can be reached at neil.doyle@cumulus.com

Blogs

Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…