College Coronavirus

Local Universities Step Up COVID Precautions As More Students Arrive

College campuses on high alert after surge in cases at San Diego State and campuses across the nation

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The spike in positive COVID-19 cases at San Diego State University has called attention to protocols being taken at other local college campuses to help prevent the spread of the virus.

County health officials announced on Wednesday there are now 440 positive cases connected to San Diego State, with another four potential positive cases.

In-person instruction at SDSU is paused through Oct. 4. The university has also enacted a stay-at-home order through Sept. 14 for students living on campus.

According to the university, the school has increased patrols through its established contract with Elite Security. The patrols will now occur on both weekdays and weekends. The county’s COVID-19 compliance team will also meet with SDSU to discuss best practices.

“Yes, we do have some authority in local areas outside of campus, but it’s for a very narrowly tailored set of violations," said J. Luke Wood, SDSU's vice-president for student affairs and campus diversity. "So we’re following up. We’re treating this very seriously. The good news is, most importantly, it’s working."

Meanwhile, at UC San Diego, there has been a heavy emphasis on testing for students and employees. According to the university, more than 20,000 tests have been administered since April 3. As of Sept. 1, 43 students, 24 campus employees and 170 health employees have tested positive.

UC San Diego is on the quarter system, with classes resuming Sept. 24 under its Return to Learn protocol. According to the school's website, campus housing and in-person teaching will not be at full capacity in the fall. Current plans are to offer approximately 12% of fall 2020 courses utilizing an in-person or hybrid modality. The remaining courses will be conducted entirely remotely.

Residential capacity has also been reduced. UCSD expects tjhat no more than 7,500 undergraduates will be living on campus (versus a capacity of about 14,000).

Over at Cal State San Marcos, where classes started last week, there have been 10 positive coronavirus cases, with three currently active. Right now, 92% of its classes are held online.

“While I’m on campus, we follow COVID-19 protocol,” said Noemi Ramirez, a junior majoring in business. "We also have gloves, masks, there are screens in front of everyone -- so we’re pretty cautious."

At USD, where classes started Aug. 21, students will be allowed to move onto campus in a limited capacity beginning the weekend of Sept.19. Only 675 students will be living on campus, with only one person allowed in each housing unit. The current plan at USD is to have repeated testing on a regular basis.

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