Students won’t be required to retest for COVID-19 upon returning in the spring, JSU provost confirms

JSU student pictured attending a lecture. JSU Provost Christie Shelton tells the Chanticleer that students will not be required to retest for COVID-19 before returning to campus next semester. Instead, the focus will be on symptom tracking and health checks. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)JSU student pictured attending a lecture. JSU Provost Christie Shelton tells the Chanticleer that students will not be required to retest for COVID-19 before returning to campus next semester. Instead, the focus will be on symptom tracking and health checks. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Luke Reed, Correspondent

Jacksonville State University Provost Christie Shelton confirmed to the Chanticleer that students will not be required to retest for COVID-19 upon returning in the spring.

Shelton clarified that the policy will apply to all JSU faculty, staff and students.

“Our focus is on symptom checking and the rapid testing at the Student Health Center,” said Shelton.

The university announced in July that students returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester would be required to test for COVID-19 through GuideSafe, a platform developed by the University of Alabama in Birmingham to “promote safe re-entry and ongoing COVID-19 monitoring.”

With a COVID-19 vaccination in the works, Shelton said that she was “very hopeful” that there would be widespread vaccine availability in our area.

Vaccines produced by the companies Moderna and Pfizer have shown to have 94.5% and 95% effectiveness rates, respectively, according to the Washington Post. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week that he expects widespread vaccine availability by April, according to National Public Radio.

“While we are continuing with social distancing and masking in classrooms for the spring, I am optimistic that we may see a more normal fall semester next year, pending progress with the vaccine of course,” said Shelton.

Shelton explained that the university plans to continue socially-distant and online learning instruction during the spring semester. 

“The faculty and staff in Academic Affairs worked carefully on the spring schedule to be more clear on whether course offerings are in-person, online, or hybrid,” said Shelton. “We encourage students to choose the option for courses which best suits their needs.”

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