As College Students Return to Campus, COVID-19 Cases Spike

Here’s a brief overview of coronavirus cases at institutions of higher education.

As College Students Return to Campus, COVID-19 Cases Spike

The University of Southern California (USC) is reporting “an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in students” who live in off-campus residences.

A letter to students, which was sent on Monday only a week after the fall semester began, said 14 cases have been identified through asymptomatic population testing, and 29 cases have been identified through USC Student Health contact tracing and testing of symptomatic and exposed individuals. All cases are related to students who live off-campus.  So far, no students have been hospitalized.

More than 100 students are now in a 14-day quarantine due to exposures.

“For students who remain on or near campus in shared living arrangements, we strongly advise you to act with caution and strictly follow all guidelines for physical distancing (6 ft.), avoiding gatherings with others outside your home, wearing face coverings around others to protect against respiratory droplets, and proceed with high adherence to hand hygiene and frequent surface contact cleaning,” the letter said.

USC is also strongly recommending that students who live in the vicinity of the campus and especially those with roommates should test weekly through the school’s Pop Testing program.

Meanwhile, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the University of Alabama (UA) has recorded 531 total coronavirus cases, with 566 cumulative positives in the UA system as of August 19.

Last week, Auburn University reported 207 new cases. That’s five times more than what was reported the previous week.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the UNC campus in that city reported a positivity rate of more than 31% last week. The rise in cases prompted the school to switch to distance learning.

In Mount Pleasant, Michigan, coronavirus cases doubled at Central Michigan University (CMU) over the weekend, according to BridgeMI. The number of cases rose from 38 on Friday to 75 on Monday. Classes began at CMU on August 17.

At the University of Missouri, when the fall semester began on Monday, more than 150 students tested positive for COVID-19, reports

The New York Times has just released its database of college campus COVID-19 outbreaks, which can be seen here.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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