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Hundreds of USU students quarantined after COVID-19 detected in residence halls' wastewater

Posted at 8:52 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 22:52:45-04

LOGAN, Utah — Nearly 300 Utah State University students were quarantined over the weekend — before classes had even started.

Health officials tested wastewater and found high levels of COVID-19 coming from four residence halls: Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis.

The students living in these on-campus buildings were put under quarantine and are being tested for the virus.

Officials still have no idea how the virus got into the dorms, because so far, all 287 students have been asymptomatic.

Testing wastewater is one of the new measures implemented by state education officials to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
One way isto see if the virus is showing up.
And at the 4 dorms on the USU campus, scientists finding concentrated levels of Covid, leading to the decision to quarantine those students and test all of them.

"It is 100% precautionary, to identify it and get the tests and get them back into school," Utah Commissioner of Higher Education David R. Woolstenhulme said. "It’s something we feel like we need to do on an ongoing basis to be able to identify where the hotspots are so we can somewhat try to control those hotspots through testing and quarantining.”

USU staff and health officials will be going door-to-door in the affected residence halls to ensure students know what precautions to take and how to be tested.

Officials warned students may not get their test results for three to four days.

"These students must stay in their room or suite, not attend class or interact with those outside their household unless absolutely necessary (such as for COVID-19 testing)," an email sent to the USU community said.

Members of the faculty were urged to work with affected students. Specific guidance on accommodations would come later in the week, the school said.