Utah State University Eastern students returned to campus last week as part of the USU transition to spring semester in the new year.
With both face-to-face and online classes starting again, USU Eastern will likely see an increase in COVID-19 cases on campus.
Students returning were asked to take a rapid response COVID-19 test as part of the entry-testing initiative. These tests were required for students living in on-campus housing or for those taking at least one in-person class.
According to Greg Dart, associate vice president | chief campus administrator, there are eight positive cases on the USU Eastern campus after four days of testing about 600 people. Only a portion of those are students living in on-campus residence halls.
Some students are on 14-day quarantines. These students are in quarantine for potential exposure to COVID-19 and will be monitored to ensure campus safety, he said.
Carbon County currently has 161 active COVID-19 cases and three hospitalizations. The county is considered a high-transmission area as part of the Utah risk-monitoring system.
The number of new cases is a risk to the community. Carbon and Emery counties collectively have access to six beds for intensive care at Castleview Hospital. With three people currently hospitalized, that number is worrying.
Students are encouraged to do their part and honor the protection pledge they took at the beginning of this school year to keep themselves and their families safe during these unprecedented times.
Dart helped establish a plan for testing spring semester. It includes random testing in accordance with USHE guidelines – those selected for random testing will be contacted.
Specific population testing – identified based on cases, wastewater monitoring or activities, such as athletic travel.
Opt-in testing – anyone that is part of the campus community can choose to test during the scheduled testing dates.
If students have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, they can access all the latest coronavirus information, case counts and updates at www.usu.edu/covid-19.