Mon. Jan 25th, 2021

By Lindsey Whitehart, The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – As college students prepare to go home for the holidays, some schools are starting COVID-19 tests early to prevent further infections from spreading in the form of coronavirus surges in the US To be tried.

Thousands of cases have been linked to campuses as some colleges have reopened this fall, forcing students to shift to hostels and transfer classes online. Now, many students are going home for Thanksgiving, increasing the risk of spreading the virus to family, friends and other travelers.

Emily Rounds, a student who helped collect data on college testing plans across the country for the Crisis College Initiative at Davidson College, said, “Impact responsibility and impact reach are not just about the student’s body, it’s about those close contacts Is for. “

Epidemic planning of colleges varies widely. While one-third of four-year colleges began elementary this fall, the initiative’s researchers found that they had tracked about 1,400 schools.

Only about 100 colleges initially tested all students once or twice a week, regardless of symptoms, under their back-to-school plan. An education professor at Davidson, Christopher Marsicano, who founded the project, said that many more randomized samples of students were tested or those with symptoms – none of which were sufficient to prevent the spread of the disease. Is not considered.

Since the beginning of November, however, researchers have seen noticeable uptake in schools requiring or encouraging students to test before thanking students. For many colleges, the end of this year marks the end of in-person learning, whether online moving classes were always a plan to bring students back to the campus on campus, or it became a response to increasing nationwide infections, Which has now crossed 11.7 million.

Some colleges are turning to states to pay for additional tests, while others are relying on those developed by their own researchers.

The University of Notre Dame announced a trial mandate after thousands of football fans, without many masks, stormed the arena in South Bend, Indiana, and threw parties over Clemson this month to celebrate a double-overtime. Those who do not complete the test may not register for future classes.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has a similar requirement, as is the public university system in New York.

The University of Pittsburgh, however, is not testing students before they leave, worried that a single test may be unreliable and that a negative result could give students a false sense of security.

Director of the school’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office, Dr. “They are immediately reuniting with their high school friends and their families, and there is going to be a lot of outbreak,” John Williams said.

Many schools fall somewhere in between, from The University of Texas at The Ohio State University in Austin, encouraging, but not mandatory testing. The governors of seven northeastern states, including New York, urged area colleges to provide tests for all students going home for the thanksgiving trip.

Some institutions that already test students regularly, even without symptoms, do not have to make much changes.

The University of Illinois conducts about 10,000 saliva tests a day, with each student caught two or three times a week with a test developed by their own researchers. An essential app reminds students to test and helps to track those who test positive when quarantined. It also includes the scan required to visit campus buildings, allowing only those who are up to date with their tests.

“People love it now. They feel, at the end of the day, it’s the safest place in the world,” said Bill Jackson, executive director of the university’s Discovery Partners Institute and helping run the school’s epidemic response plan This includes wearing masks and social distance.

For other schools, searching for and paying for tests has been a major obstacle amid the economic turmoil related to the virus, the Student Data Collector said Rounds.

He said, “It can’t just be this statement to blame the students and the administration … I really think, at this point, we need to give some responsibility to the state governments and the federal government.” COVIDs are coming from higher ed institutions in the United States – which should be the point of aim for intervention. “

Governments are joining in some places, such as North Carolina, where the state is providing testing to schools before holiday leave, and Utah, where the governor has mandated weekly testing beginning in January, and the state’s rapid response. Helping with test kit.

At St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, the state helped 3,500 trials before the Thanksgiving break. Previously, only symptomatic students and someone with COVID-19 were able to perform some tests in close contact.

But now there is a shortage of medical personnel to conduct additional tests. He said that faculty like journalism professor Mark Newsill has started the mass examination at the university on Wednesday.

“The state offers you the test and then says, ‘Good luck,’ because there are not enough medical staff to go around,” Newsill said. “We are, of course, health services and we have nurses, but they are acting like dogs and not enough of them.”

For students, checking availability can be a relief.

Ben Fernie, a 24-year-old communications major at Weber State University in northern Utah, recently took a rapid response test at a folding table set up in a ballroom at the student union. He caught the virus this summer, but because it is still unclear how long the immunity lasts, he wants to make sure it is not found again.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been sick in my life,” Fernie said. He said that he apparently spread the virus to his parents and two siblings before he knew he was ill.

Because “2020 is filled with so many unknown people, its easy is constantly on my mind,” he said. Regular testing “helps me move forward, knowing that my presence around other people is not a threat to them.” . “

Associated Press writer Michael Casey in Boston and a member of the AP / Report Statehouse News Initiative Corps for America, Sophia Apolito in Sofia Lake City contributed to this story.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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