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Sept. 14, 2021, virtual Q&A for faculty and staff

Sept. 14, 2021

Augustana President Steve Bahls and other college leaders answered faculty and staff questions regarding COVID testing and policies on campus in a virtual Q&A Tuesday.

President Bahls reiterated that Augustana's policy — that employees and students who are not vaccinated must be tested for COVID-19 weekly — follows the orders of the state of Illinois, and forthcoming federal mandates.

The order by Ill. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is "similar to what Augustana was planning on doing anyway," he said.

He said that 86% of employees are vaccinated and that he believes the college will achieve a 90% level for employees. He also acknowledged that some employees are unhappy about the mandates.

"Though we are sympathetic and value all community members, we don't have the latitude not to comply with the governor's order. The order provides no exceptions," he said.

President Bahls said he hopes the college will achieve a 100% compliance rate with vaccination or testing.

Most questions centered around testing and the time required to receive results.

Dean of Students Dr. Wes Brooks said that the college's mandated testing at the clinic on campus uses a rapid PCR test and results are usually available in a few hours. Students who are walk-ins at the clinic (and who likely are vaccinated) may receive a nasal swab test that takes 3-5 days to come back.

Dr. Brooks said the college is working with Genesis Health to get the rapid tests for everyone. He also emphasized that anyone who is symptomatic should isolate until test results come back.

He also said that results from tests that are done outside of campus may take longer for results, depending on what kind of test is offered.

Answers on other topics:

• Employees who are exposed or who have symptoms still should notify Human Resources by contacting Mindy Zumdome or Kirk Anderson.

• Faculty who want to know if students in their classes are vaccinated should check the aggregate information, provided by each class, indicating the percentage of students vaccinated. If there is a need to know more specific information, rather than asking students directly, faculty should work with Academic Affairs to obtain that information.