After more than two months and more than a thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus, SDSU students will begin a limited return to campus next week, university officials said on Thursday.
"We will welcome back a small portion of students to campus on Monday for limited in-person instruction," reads a statement released Monday and signed by San Diego State president Adela de la Torre and two other school officials. "As we prepare, we want to thank each of you for being diligent. The majority of our community is continuing to follow public health guidelines and take great care to be supportive during the pandemic."
Also on Thursday, officials at the school said they would be expanding its surveillance testing model to include students attending in-person courses in addition to on-campus residents. The school also said it was expanding its compliance efforts and off-campus enforcement, including cases where students fail to wear face masks or socially distance, or host or attend social gatherings.
"Since Aug. 24, included in the more than 750 notices of alleged violations relating to SDSU COVID-19-related student code of conduct policies, 110 are community notices," states an email sent to NBC 7 by the university on Thursday. "The community notices have been hand-delivered by San Diego State University Police to individual residences within the College Area (off-campus) where alleged COVID-19 related misconduct, including gatherings, have been reported."
Students going on-campus will need to follow all the standard coronavirus protocols, officials said, and can also expect to have their temperature checked at kiosks located at the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences complex and in the lobby of Don Powell Theatre. They will then receive a date-stamped wristband.
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The outbreak at SDSU began soon after students returned for fall semester on Aug. 24. By Aug. 31, more than 40 students, staff members and vendors/contractors had tested positive for COVID-19.
At the time, campus officials stressed that none of the students who had tested positive had attended in-person classes. Most classes were being held online then but about 200 required hands-on instruction and were held in-person with safety measures in mind.
The following day, the university paused in-person learning entirely. As cases spiked among students who tested positive -- most of whom live off-campus -- there were concerns that SDSU would contribute a large enough increase in cases to force San Diego County back into the state's more-restrictive purple tier just as the county had partially reopened indoor operations at some businesses.
To date, there have been 1,157 test-confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 among the local student population at SDSU.