INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of college students across the state are heading back to campus as the fall semester nears.
“We’re really trying to get back to normal here at Butler, safely,” Maxie Gardner, Butler University’s Director of Health Services, said.
It will feel more like 2019 on Saturday when thousands of students return to Butler’s campus. COVID-19 restrictions are loosening. No longer is a mask requirement in place and a mandatory negative test ahead of move-in day is gone.
“We will just continue to monitor from the experts with the CDC and Indiana Department of Health,” Gardner said.
This school year, though, there is a new virus to worry about — Monkeypox. School administrators said they have been preparing for weeks.
“I truly believe that Indiana is currently at a low risk that our students can function in a safe manner here at Butler University,” Gardner said.
Butler will provide Monkeypox testing. If a student tests positive, they will work with them on isolation housing. However, they encourage students to think about isolating themselves at home since it could take up to four weeks to recover.
It’s a similar plan for Indiana University campuses across the state.
“Given that it often spreads amongst close contact, especially often with sexual contact, it’s something that might hit students in general,” Aaron Carroll, Indiana University’s Chief Health Officer, said.
Testing and isolation housing will too be offered for IU students. At both IU Bloomington and IUPUI, students came back over the weekend and will continue up until classes start next Monday.
According to the latest CDC data, Indiana has 84 cases. The state is working towards vaccinating the most vulnerable through clinics, but supply is limited.
Primarily men who have sex with men are getting the virus, but anyone can contract it.
“The only thing I wish we had more of is (the) vaccine,” Carroll said.
Both schools agree the most important thing they can do right now when it comes to Monkeypox is to educate students on the signs, symptoms and methods of transmission.
The Indiana Department of Health said it is working with colleges across the state when it comes to testing and vaccine availability.