University of Iowa
After classes began on Aug. 24, the University of Iowa reported an additional 500 students who tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, a five-day spike that prompted administrators to alter the campus’ reopening policies.
Since the university of more than 30,000 students in Iowa City began conducting tests on Aug. 18, 607 students and 11 employees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an update on the school’s website. The numbers updated Friday include only self-reported or presumed positive cases, meaning the virus’ spread might be understated.
At the beginning of the semester, 72% of undergraduate courses were online, the website states. The university adjusted that policy to make 76% of courses online after the high volume of new cases.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an order to close the bars in six counties, including Johnson County, where the university is located, until at least Sept. 20. The order also requires restaurants in the six counties to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.
“While we are disappointed, campus leadership was prepared for this possibility and is monitoring the metrics established to determine if the university needs to change course,” administrators said in the update.
The university said if its positivity rate does not begin to flatten this week, administrators will consider additional actions to curb the spread.
Eleven Greek houses are being forced to quarantine by the Monroe County Health Department after Indiana University’s COVID-19 testing procedures detected an “alarming” increase in the number of positive cases within communal living houses.
An IU news release last updated Sunday said the quarantine entails all members of the 11 houses being confined to their houses for 14 straight days. The Greek organizations have been ordered to suspend in-person gatherings or events, except for dining for the members who live in the houses, until at least Sept. 14.
Around 2,600 students live in Greek houses on campus out of more than 40,000 students on the Bloomington campus, the university states in the release.
“IU administration anticipated positive COVID-19 cases and created plans and procedures to mitigate the virus on all IU campuses,” administrators said. “This action taken early in the fall semester, which began this week, is critical to taking control of this type of community transmission.”
The university has reported 47 positive tests out of 288 conducted among symptomatic individuals since Aug. 1, according to a dashboard of the results, reporting a 16.3% positivity rate.
Its new “mitigation testing” program, which expands beyond people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, began Aug. 24. The university will report the first round of data Monday, according to the dashboard.