Board of Trustees approves $1.2 million for COVID-19 testing costs


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No additional student tests positive for COVID-19.

By Kierra Frazier

DeKALB – The Board of Trustees approved $1.2 million for COVID-19 testing costs for the remainder of FY21, which ends June 30.

Approximately 3,000 tests per week will be required to meet the university’s protocols, and for a  sixteen-week semester, 48,000 tests will be needed for the remainder of FY21, according to the Dec. 10 Board of Trustee agenda. The estimated cost for each test is $25, resulting in $1.2 million.

Previously, tests have cost around $80 each, but the university anticipates costs to decrease as the availability of potential new lab testing partners, according to the agenda.

Spring semester testing protocols will look similar to the fall semester. Students in residence halls will be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to moving back in. Any student or faculty member with in-person classes will be part of the surveillance testing pools, according to the agenda. 

The frequency of testing students living in residence halls may also need to be increased as well, which was factored into the costs. 

NIU President Lisa Freeman said the costs for the COVID-19 tests were budgeted to the end of the fiscal year with the anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available. 

“The reason that we didn’t propose any testing beyond the end of the fiscal year, which is really beyond the end of the academic term, realistically, is because we do expect things to change and be much more like previous years as the fall approaches,” Freeman said.