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Campus COVID-19 cases expected to rise after holiday break, administrators say

There are currently 11 Texas Woman’s University students and two staff members in isolation and nine students in quarantine among the Denton, Dallas and Houston campuses according to the university’s list of confirmed COVID-19 cases, which documents students, staff and faculty who have come in contact with the virus. 

The number of cases have been low despite the national spike in November, though they are predicted to rise again after the holiday break, Matt Moustakas, executive director of risk management, said. He said he hopes that as students, staff and faculty return from each break they take advantage of on-campus testing and let the university know as soon as they come in contact with the virus or experience any symptoms so that action can be taken immediately.

Five of the affected students and one presumed-positive student are currently quarantined in Stark Hall’s isolation floor, while four students are quarantined at home.

“There were some affected students who had gone home for thanksgiving who weren’t planning on coming back,” assistant vice president of university communications Matt Flores said. “They made arrangements with their professors to just finish their semesters online.”

Moustakas said the student public health ambassadors appointed in September have been a great help for the university as COVID cases continue to be present and that they represent how well the school is handling the pandemic. He said that the risk management team is working on selecting the few student ambassadors with a public health and sociology background and training them on contact tracing.

The university is hoping the testing consortium, Go Get Tested, will continue to be available on campus in January despite the low attendance at each testing event, Moustakas said

“We’re hoping that they might be able to come back if we make it more publicized and not just for TWU folks, but there’s a balance there—do we want to have a bunch of folks from off campus coming to get tested here?” Moustakas said. “I’m not thrilled with that idea, but it’s convenient to have it.” 

The same precautions from the fall semester will also remain such as online classes, in-person event approvals and emphasizing the importance of self-screening.

Gakenia Njenga can be reached via email at gnjenga@twu.edu.

Featured image by Sarah Pham.

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