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Hundreds of Covid-19 cases reported as students return to college campuses

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana is seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases since students returned to campus on August 3. As of Tuesday, 147 students have tested positive, according to the school’s online health dashboard.

There were 80 positive cases of 418 tests administered Monday, meaning there was a 19% positivity rate.

On Sunday alone, 15 of the 30 tests were positive — the highest number of positive cases in a single day to date for the institution.

University President Rev. John I. Jenkins announced Tuesday that all undergraduate classes will be remote for the next two weeks following the spike in cases. Public spaces will be closed, residence halls will be restricted and students who live off-campus should remain in their homes, he said.

“The objective of these temporary restrictions is to contain the spread of the virus so that we can get back to in person instruction,” Jenkins said.

The growth started August 10, when 4 out of 197 people tested positive. The university updates its numbers at noon every day.

Notre Dame began testing students before they arrived on campus. In a batch of 11,836 tests, just 33 tests came back positive, which amounts to 0.28% of the total.

University of Kentucky

Since school began on August 3, 160 people have tested positive at the University of Kentucky, according to the university’s Covid-19 dashboard.

A significant number of parties, which violated the school’s student code, has led to the rise in cases, according to the university’s director of executive communication, Sarah Geegan.

The university was notified of 11 party-related citations from the weekend of August 8-9 and 10 citations from the weekend of August 15-16.

“We are working closely with the city to enforce the Code of Student Conduct, sharing information daily and meeting weekly to discuss issues of concern,” Geegan told CNN.

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green reported 19 positive cases of Covid-19 among students and staff between August 7 and 13, out of 132 tests conducted during that period.

That’s a 14% positivity rate among those tested, but that only includes tests conducted at the Graves Gilbert Clinic and Med Center Health, according to the university’s dashboard.

The site says, “WKU is not informed of the number of students, faculty, or staff receiving a test from providers other than Med Center Health and Graves Gilbert Clinic at WKU,” so an overall positivity rate cannot be confirmed.

WKU’s next scheduled update to its Covid-19 dashboard is Friday.

East Carolina University

East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, reported 29 positive Covid-19 cases last week, a 7.8% positivity rate. Since students started returning to campus on August 5, the university has averaged about 30 new cases per week, according to the school’s Covid-19 dashboard.

In a letter to the campus community Tuesday, Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson shared his concern about how student parties have contributed to community spread.

“Last Wednesday, we tested 165 students with 5 positive results (about 3%). The low number of positives gave me hope that everyone was doing their part,” Mitchelson wrote.

“But then, the weekend comes and we see a small but visible fraction of our total student body scare us and the community with parties that are too large, too dense, unmasked, and irresponsible. While we had no party nearly as large as that reported in week one, we still had two dozen parties over the past weekend to which ECU Police and Greenville Police responded.”

On Monday, the university sent out an alert to the community about a new cluster of cases in a residence hall, but did not specify how many students were affected or how many are under quarantine.

Colorado College

All 155 students in one dorm at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have been forced to quarantine after the college learned of a student who tested positive and did not practice proper social distancing guidelines.

“Unfortunately, today we learned that the enhanced social distancing protocols — which we expect of all students as they await their test results — were not followed,” Acting Dean of Students Rochelle T. Dickey and Vice President and Chair of the Prevention Work Team Brian Young wrote in an email sent to the college community on Sunday.

“As a result, multiple people in Loomis Hall were exposed to this student, and Loomis Hall is now under quarantine for 14 days to mitigate further risk. Our 155 Loomis Hall residents have been notified to stay in their rooms except to use the restroom (while wearing masks.) All traffic into and out of Loomis is restricted.”

Northeast Mississippi Community College

Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Mississippi, shared that “around 300” students are currently in quarantine, according to the school’s president, Ricky G. Ford, on the school’s official podcast.

Ford said the university has six or seven positive cases since school started last week and that “25 to 28 employees” are also under quarantine.

Northeast Mississippi Community College has around 3,200 students, which means around 10% of the student body is being quarantined.

Oklahoma State University

An Oklahoma State University sorority house is under quarantine after 23 members tested positive for Covid-19, according to the university. CNN reported the entire sorority house is in isolation or quarantine after the confirmed cases, and residents “will be prohibited from leaving the facility,” the university said.

North Carolina State University

Eight members of the Greek life system who live in chapter houses have tested positive for Covid-19 at North Carolina State University, spokeswoman Lauren Barker told CNN on Tuesday.

The students, who live in chapter houses, were tested at off-campus testing sites and have been instructed to self-isolate by the university’s Student Health Services, the school said in a statement. All close contacts have been advised to quarantine for 14 days, which in some cases could mean the entire house being placed on quarantine.

Separately, the school said the Wake County Health Department notified it of a cluster at an off-campus housing facility in Raleigh. The Health Department said there were reports of a gathering at the address August 6.

Classes began August 10.

Iowa State University

Iowa State University said Tuesday that 175 students living in residence halls and campus apartments have tested positive for Covid-19.

The school conducted move-in testing over two weeks and found 175 students, or 2.2% of those tested, were positive for the virus. The rest tested negative, the school said in a statement.

The director of the student health center, Erin Baldwin, said the goal of move-in testing was to identify positive cases and intervene to mitigate the spread of the infection.

“Students who tested positive are required to isolate for 10 days. About half of the students are isolating in isolation rooms provided by the department of residence,” the statement said. “Quarantine rooms are also available for students notified through contact tracing that they were exposed to a positive case.”

CNN’s Jamiel Lynch, Jennifer Henderson and Raja Razek contributed to this report.


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