White House recommends Missouri universities test students for COVID-19 before break; Lindenwood not requiring tests 


Photo by James Tananan Kamnuedkhun

Students studying in the LARC.

Alexis Montgomery, Editor-in-Chief

The White House has recommended Missouri universities have all students get tested before sending them home for Thanksgiving break, causing some schools to mandate negative tests before returning home. 

According to a White House Coronavirus Task Force report issued on Nov.15, 97 percent of the state has red-zone-high levels of transmission of the coronavirus.

In the report, the Task Force said that the colleges that have not been testing students weekly should alter their protocol to test their students 10 days prior to break. 

“If universities have not been testing all students (on and off campus) weekly, then work with them to implement weekly testing protocols…ensure appropriate testing and behavior change in the 10 days prior to student departure to hometowns for the holiday season,” the report read.

While other universities, like Washington University in St. Louis, have been requiring students to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks, Lindenwood has not enforced this requirement. 

The University of Missouri, Lincoln University, Rockhurst University, and Missouri State University are also not requiring students to be tested

Since the beginning of the semester, Lindenwood has not mandated students to take COVID-19 tests but has encouraged students to monitor symptoms and get tested if they have high-risk symptoms or a positive exposure. 

Director of Communications Julee Mitsler said Lindenwood would struggle with mass-testing students due to the lack of a medical center on campus. 

“Lindenwood’s Pandemic Preparedness Task Force (PPT) and COVID Emergency Response Team (CERT) have considered many options in regards to testing,” Mitsler said in an email. “Ultimately, Lindenwood’s greatest challenge in comparison to other institutions who are executing large-scale campus testing is the proximity/ownership that other institutions have to a medical center.” 

Mitsler said students who need to isolate or quarantine over Thanksgiving break will have the ability to stay on campus through the duration of their isolation or quarantine period. 

“We understand that it may not be best for every student to isolate or quarantine at home,” Mitsler said.

As for next semester, Lindenwood will not mandate students to get tested to return for the spring. 

“At this time, Lindenwood is not planning to require all students to test in advance of their return for the spring semester however we will have a Return to Campus Pledge for students to sign, acknowledging their understanding and agreement to follow our policies,” Mitsler said.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationally, Mitsler said there are still too many unknowns about the pandemic to determine if there’s a possibility that Lindenwood could return to online-only learning next semester.