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Mitch Daniels provides update after Purdue's first week of classes

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said things are going well on campus, but he is not taking anything for granted.

Posted: Aug 28, 2020 9:11 AM
Updated: Aug 28, 2020 9:44 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue University students have completed the first week of in-person classes. The new school year began on Monday with new safety measures implemented. 

Students can continue to expect to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and get tested for COVID-19.  

Purdue President Mitch Daniels is confident in the safety measures the university has implemented. He said he is very proud of the work that's already been done.

"I only have only positive things to say about our students, our faculty and our staff," said Daniels.

Although Daniels said he's happy, he knows things could quickly change.

"There's so much to praise about what's been done. Everyone involved is very aware that this is a project that could take a turn on us in very short notice, so we take nothing for granted."

 As News 18 previously reported, every student was tested for COVID-19 before coming back to campus.

The test was saliva-based, which Purdue President Mitch Daniels said was a great option. 

"The pre-arrival testing we thought was really important and it was really well executed by our Protect Purdue Team," said Daniels. 

Now that students are back, Daniels said the University will continue to test students. 

"It's called surveillance testing and that means on a systematic basis retesting people on the campus so we can spot the cases, because we're going to have some, and try to prevent them from spreading," said Daniels. 

Purdue student, Morgan Smith, is one of those students. She is thankful for everything Purdue has done.

"I mean I was definitely worried about coming back to campus at first, but like actually seeing the classrooms in-person, it seems like Purdue has done everything they can to make it as safe as possible," said Smith.

Smith said she feels comfortable with everything she has seen so far. She said she believes the students, faculty and staff are taking this seriously.

"I really think that the students are taking this very seriously they're wearing their mask and same with the professors."

Daniels said the surveillance testing is a saliva test, like what the student took before returning to campus.

"We have our own lab so we get a result back pretty quickly. Sometimes same day and always at least overnight." 

As part of the Protect Purdue Plan, the University has designated quarantine spaces if a student test positive. As of now, the university has nearly 1,000 beds available. 

Daniels said the advanced safety measures Purdue is taking sets them apart from other universities.

"Some of these other schools that have run into early trouble, that is the problem," said Daniels. "They had more cases than they had isolation space for, so they were getting crowded there."

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