COVID-19 updates: no positive tests on campus this February

During the month of February, no positive coronavirus tests were reported out of 1,089 on-campus tests. Two tests conducted off campus returned positive results in February: an employee and an off-campus student, for a total of two positive tests with on-campus impact.

“After a small number of positive cases identified in January, we have had no positive tests so far in February, and there are currently no students in isolation or quarantine on campus,” President Wim Wiewel said in a Feb. 25 email.

Effluent testing samples taken on Feb. 23 returned all negative results.

Lewis & Clark is holding weekly testing clinics for asymptomatic individuals on Tuesdays, pulling from a random sample of students. Participation in this clinic is mandatory if selected, and students who fail to get tested will be unable to attend in-person classes and will have to either pay to get tested at the next clinic or take a molecular test off-campus. If a student does not get tested by the following week, they will face disciplinary action from Student Rights and Responsibilities, which can include being asked to move to a fully-remote format for the remainder of the semester. 

There are a number of exemptions for the testing clinic, such as experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or having had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

On Feb. 21, the United States surpassed 500,000 total deaths from coronavirus. Nationwide coronavirus cases are averaging around 70,000 cases each day, which are the lowest case numbers since October, according to The New York Times. However, despite largely decreasing numbers since January, daily cases are beginning to level out. Multnomah County is averaging around 50 cases per day. 

The following on-campus changes were announced in a Feb. 11 email from Vice President of Student Life Robin Holmes-Sullivan, and implemented on Feb. 12:

In-person dining: Fields Dining Hall, the Trail Room and Stamm Dining Room are open for limited in-person dining, with a cap of 25 people in each space. Tables continue to have plexiglass dividers.

Moving between residence halls: Students living on campus can now visit other residence halls, and must sign in using a QR code in order to keep track of names for contact tracing. However, in order to maintain accurate effluent testing results, students are not allowed to use the restrooms in residence halls other than their own for solid waste. Students living off-campus are still not permitted to visit residence halls.

In-person events: Students can apply to hold in-person events in J.R. Howard Hall and the Miller Center for the Humanities. Students applying must provide thorough details about the event, including the anticipated number of people, whether or not food will be served and how the host will keep track of participants. Events will require at least one person to act as an event safety monitor, who will ensure that participants wear masks, wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing.

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