Editor’s note: Isolation refers to somebody that has either been confirmed to have COVID-19 or is presumed to have COVID, while quarantine refers to anyone who has had exposure to a suspected person who either is confirmed or is presumed confirmed.
There are currently six Texas Woman’s University students in isolation and 14 quarantined after being exposed to the novel coronavirus, university spokesperson Matt Flores confirmed Monday.
There is only one confirmed COVID-19 case in isolation on-campus. Of the remaining five in isolation, there are three confirmed COVID-19 cases isolated off-campus, and two presumptive COVID-19 cases isolated off-campus. Two of the quarantined students are on-campus, and the remaining 12 are off-campus. Despite rising case count, Flores said that TWU is not yet taking any steps to move classes fully online.
“[COVID-19] It’s our number one concern, and it will always be our number one concern, so I think what we are focused on is trying to make sure that the entire university community sticks to the protocols that we have in place,” Flores said. “We’re obviously following the CDC guidelines to the best of our ability, and we think that as long as we can keep people adhering to the standards, you know, we could be in a good, safe space. A lot of it’s contingent on how everybody responds to those protocols.”
Flores said there is no set number that will automatically trigger the university to move fully online, but there are many factors that weigh into TWU’s response to the number of COVID cases circulating the TWU community. One example of this, he said, is that the contact-tracing team not be overwhelmed by cases to the point that contact-tracing cannot be accomplished. Flores also said the university could make better use of their resources if faculty adhered to standards by using seating charts in their classrooms.
Flores said there were 11 students who presumably had exposure to an individual that was presumed to have COVID-19 in a classroom that did not have a seating chart. As a result, the students were all put in quarantine. The student suspected of being positive for COVID-19 was tested and the results came back negative, allowing the other individuals in the class to be removed from quarantine.
“In a way, by kind of demonstrating that if our faculty, perhaps, were more aware of that – there have been cases where, by having a seating chart, you limit the number of people that have to go into quarantine – so I think that demonstrates if people are adhering to those kinds of standards, it makes our job easier,” Flores said.
Spaces where TWU community members who have tested positive will be cleaned according to Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and the university’s contact tracing team will reach out to anyone who may have come into close contact with an individual that has tested positive for the virus, according to TWU’s coronavirus webpage.
Katelyn Cusimano can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image: The Statue of Minerva wears a mask at The Texas Woman’s University August 21, 2020. TWU’s Pioneer Pact for fall 2020 encourages students to take preventative measures, such as hand washing and self-screening. Photo by Sarah Pham.