In early September, California State University, Chico cleared out dorms after a spike in cases among 18-to-24-year-olds in the surrounding area. But not all schools are closing dorms and on-campus housing. Instead, they are limiting the number of people living on campus and designating places for students to isolate and recover safely.
Nearly every major local college has reported positive COVID-19 cases among students since the end of August until Sept. 29.
As of Tuesday, San Diego State University reported 1,077 positive or presumptive positive COIVD-19 cases among students.
University of California San Diego had 65 cases.
University of San Diego reported 4 cases.
Point Loma Nazarene University has had 8 cases.
The decision from some universities to send some students home if they test positive for COVID-19 puts the student's hometowns at risk upon their return. Dr. Anthony Fauci stated, “It's the worst thing you could do, keep them at the university in a place that sequestered enough from the other students so that you don't get a cluster in the university but don't have them go home because they could be spreading it in their home state."
SDSU, UCSD, USD and Point Loma Nazarene have all decided to keep some of their dorms and residence halls open for students.
“It’s really critical that we take care of those students as best as possible on campus," said Melissa Halter, Assistant Vice-President of Student Affairs for Wellness at USD.
SDSU has 2,400 students living on-campus, a third of typical capacity.
UCSD has Approximately 7,500 undergraduate students and 4,800 graduate students will live on campus -- a 50% reduction.
USD has 600 students living on campus but normally, there are more than 2,600 students.
Point Loma Nazarene has 789 students living on campus in largely single-room-occupancy accommodations.
If students test positive, they all have designated isolation spaces for confirmed cases.
“We are able to provide them with meals and snacks as needed we have people who can check on them," Halter said. "We have a responsibility not only to that student but to our USD community and beyond.”
Earlier in September, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors asked state health officials to exclude college students from the county’s case rate, but were denied. Cases at SDSU pushed the county’s case rate above Tier 2 limits.
As the rate of new cases slowed, San Diego narrowly avoided having further restrictions imposed by the state.