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Colleges in Indianapolis not requiring COVID-19 ‘exit testing’ before students leave for Thanksgiving

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Most universities in central Indiana are not mandating COVID-19 “exit testing” before Thanksgiving despite the worsening pandemic.

The state reported 4,213 new coronavirus cases Monday, the fifth consecutive day the case count exceeded 4,000. 

Indiana set a new record for coronavirus-related hospitalizations; at least 2,174 Hoosiers were hospitalized Monday, including 546 requiring intensive care.

“I really feel like everybody should be required to take a test before leaving campus [for Thanksgiving],” said Fadol Tiamiou, a freshman at Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Indiana University is offering optional departure testing for students, faculty and staff at all campuses so “they can get assurance before they leave,” a university spokesperson said.

Free COVID-19 tests will be available the week of Nov. 15 at IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IUPUC, IU East, IU Fort Wayne, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend and IU Southeast.

Tiamiou was tested seven times during the fall semester and said he planned to get an eighth COVID-19 test before celebrating Thanksgiving with his family in Avon, Ind.

Kiersten Pena, another IUPUI freshman, said she was surprised the university didn’t mandate exit testing after requiring arrival and surveillance testing.

She said she would probably sign up for an optional test before going home for Thanksgiving.

“There are so many people here,” Pena told News 8. “I don’t know where they’ve been.”

Butler University, located in Indianapolis, is not mandating exit testing for all students. The university will increase its ongoing COVID-19 testing – for symptomatic and asymptomatic students – in the weeks before Thanksgiving, a spokesperson said.

Marian University, located in Indianapolis, is “not testing students before they leave for the end of the semester” the week of Thanksgiving, a spokesperson said.

Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, is not mandating exit testing but encouraged students traveling for Thanksgiving to get tested immediately upon arrival at their destinations. The university’s health center will expand COVID-19 testing capacity beginning Nov. 14. 

Ball State University, located in Muncie, did not confirm any pre-Thanksgiving testing requirements; a spokesperson said return-to-campus policies for the spring semester would be released in the coming weeks.