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THIS WEEK: WIU students to return to campus Wednesday

Students to start moving into the dorms on the Macomb campus

MOLINE, Ill. —      <Western is welcoming back students starting Wednesday.

     But getting ready for this week took months.



     ABRAHAM (12:35):  "There are a whole lot of people at the University who have worked incredibly hard to be able to get us to a spot where we can open up and have real classes and participate."

     Western will start opening up its dorms this Wednesday... with students moving in over the course of the week.



     NAT SOUND (TONS 758586, 16:33:54):  "Western is a great place to be and we encourage you to make the most of it..."

     But Western's dormatories will be different with fewer chances for students to gather in groups...

     Dining halls won't be this crowded...

     And classrooms will see fewer students...


     ABRAHAM (3:00):  "We had to turn on a dime so we learned how to adapt very quickly as we discovered things we needed to do and we adjusted on the fly."

     And Western students will be in one of the safer counties in Illinois.

     The McDonough County Health Depatrment says the county has seen 147 COVID cases... and 15 deaths.

     That's the equivalent of 495 cases per 100-thouisand people.

     And that compares favorably to Rock Island and Scott counties... with more a thuosand cases per 100-thousand people...

     It's similar to Mercer County's statistics...

     And is almost half as DeKalb County, home of Northern Illinois University.

     Once again, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says residents need to mask up, avoid crowds, and socially distance even in rural areas.

[F:L3:118-124///L///Gov. J.B. Pritzker/(D) ILLINOIS/]


     PRITZKER (TONS 758381, 15:03:05): "We can lick this thing if people will just follow those basic rules, we can get our transmission down significantly."

     And although Western's president says those are key components to the University's re-opening plans... he says a fast, reliable way to test for the coronavirus is also a key to the school's success.

     ABRAHAM (6:31):  "First of all the current testing is not sufficiently available, it's too expensive, you don't get a quick enough turn around so we need a different type of testing.">



     MERTENS:  Dr. Abraham says Western is getting additional testing equipment this semester... but not enough to offer campus wide screening of coronavirus.

     Students start arriving Wednesday in Macomb...

     Classes start next Monday both there and in the Quad Cities.

     Jim Mertens... News 8.>