COVID-19 Roundup: CDC on Testing; Pause for Arizona Athletes

Feds issue statement on campus testing. University of Arizona pauses athletes' campus return. Warnings about fraternities at U of Washington. UGA sees 154 cases.

July 1, 2020

Here's a roundup of some of the latest news developments regarding the impact of COVID-19 on higher education:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday published "interim considerations" for higher education administrators about testing for the novel coronavirus. The information, which the federal agency very clearly does not refer to as "guidance," explores the types of tests that institutions might use and describes some of the testing strategies that, in combination with screening and contact tracing, "can be taken to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19." Among the approaches discussed are testing of individuals with signs or symptoms of COVID-19, of asymptomatic individuals known or suspected to have been exposed to the virus, and of individuals whether or not they're thought to have been exposed. Of the latter strategy, the CDC writes, "It is unknown if entry testing in [institutions of higher education] provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, cloth face covering, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection). Therefore, CDC does not recommend entry testing of all returning students, faculty, and staff."
  • The University of Arizona announced that it would pause the planned return of athletes to its campus as coronavirus infections spike in the state. Unlike some of its big-time sports peers, Arizona athletics has not experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases among players, with just one positive case among the 83 athletes tested so far, the university said. But the athletics department's phased return of athletes, which was due to expand to freshman football players next week and to other sports the following week, will be paused "out of an abundance of caution," said Dave Heeke, the athletics director and vice president.
  • Public health officials in Seattle are responding to an outbreak of coronavirus cases at fraternity houses near the University of Washington, the university said on its website. The statement said there had been 38 cases at nine fraternity houses in recent days, among the roughly 1,000 students who live in 25 houses in a neighborhood north of the campus. “What is occurring north of campus provides lessons for students as they consider their return to campus this fall," said Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the university's Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases.
  • More than 150 students and employees at the University of Georgia have contracted COVID-19, the university's health center said in an update on its website Tuesday. The statement said that the university was "aware of a total of 154 members of the University of Georgia community (students or employees) who have tested positive for COVID-19," including "those who have been tested elsewhere" and reported to the health center.


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