Lauren Walsh, right, from Woodbridge, hugs her mom, Janine Walsh, after moving into a new dormitory on Monday, Aug. 17 at the University of Connecticut. As a part of the school's social distancing policy, she is not having any roommate this semester. "I'm excited," Lauren said. "But I'm a little anxious because you don't know what's in store." Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org
From left, Aaron Ky, Christopher Connor, John Pienkos and Nicholas Cruz play Spikeball on Monday, at UConn’s Storrs campus. Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org
From left, Aaron Ky, Christopher Connor, John Pienkos and Nicholas Cruz play Spikeball on Monday, at UConn’s Storrs campus. Yehyun Kim / ctmirror.org

As students continued moving into their dorms Monday at UConn, the university announced that seven students have tested positive for COVID-19, while another 13 are in isolated quarantine on campus after coming into contact with those who are sick.

Four of the students who have tested positive for the disease are living on campus this semester, the school said, while the other three are living off-campus and commuting. With only 3,739 test results received out of the 5,500 students who were tested and living on campus this semester, UConn is expecting there to be additional positive cases as move-in continues and more results come back. 

“Given the volume of testing we are doing, it was inevitable that there would be positive cases,” UConn Dean of Students Eleanor Daugherty said in a press release on Monday. “Knowing this, the university has a clear and detailed strategy in place we can quickly implement to address any positives, and have already done so in these cases.”

Locations on campus have been set aside to house people who test positive so they have comfortable, separate spaces while they’re recovering, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said. Testing for residential students began last week as part of the move-in process. 

Students attending in-person classes at UConn are required to self-quarantine and submit negative COVID test results to the university 14 days before the school year officially begins. Because of this, Reitz said, the university decided to have students move in two weeks early this year so that all the isolation and testing can be wrapped up before classes start.

Students living off-campus are also required to submit negative COVID tests 14 days before the start of classes. Commuter students have access to COVID-19 PCR testing at the university’s expense through a mail-in option. Employees working on campus this semester will have access to PCR testing upon their return to campus.

Reitz said the testing is not a one-time requirement. UConn will continue to test students and staff throughout the semester so it can track the spread of the virus.

“The initial testing is happening now, and then there will be more ongoing as we go through the semester,” she said. “Right now we have a lot of employees who are either testing today or within the next few days … And once classes start, we’ll still continue to have testing of students and also employees, and others, on a kind of a rotating basis, but particularly the residential student population.”

Colleges and universities throughout the state have been making an effort to test students before campuses open to start the academic year. The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system has adopted state guidelines for testing and re-opening this semester.

Similar to UConn, CSCU students living on-campus are also required to submit a negative test that was taken between three and 14 days before arriving on campus, a spokesperson said. As the semester continues, students with COVID-19 symptoms will be tested immediately, and a sample size of residential students and residence hall directors will be tested every week.

Adria was CT Mirror's Education and Community Reporter. She grew up in Oakland, graduated from Sacramento State where she was co-news editor of the student newspaper, and worked as a part-time reporter at CalMatters. Most recently Adria interned at The Marshall Project, a national nonprofit news organization that reports on criminal justice issues. Adria was one of CT Mirror’s Report For America Corps Members.

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