USD adds new safety measures to prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks

Posted at 8:50 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 23:50:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The University of San Diego is getting COVID-19 cases under control just one week after announcing an outbreak. The number of new cases few drastically after administrators issued a stay-on-campus order.

Here’s a timeline of events:

January 22nd: campus move-in day

February 6th: new weekly cases for students and staff on and off campus peaked at 169

February 12th: stay-on-campus order issued

February 13th: new weekly cases dropped to 80

February 16th: full data has not been released for the current week, but new weekly cases sit at 16 so far, which continues the downward trend.

The ‘Stop the Surge’ effort by the school meant their already limited in-person classes and clubs were moved fully online. Students living on campus were asked to only leave for essential reasons.

In a video announcement on Twitter, University President James T. Harris said they used contact tracing to determine the majority of their cases stemmed from off-campus parties.

USD newspaper editor-in-chief, Celina Tebor, says the school may have tried returning to normal too soon.

“The trends were increasing with COVID-19, and the university just decided to bring back more students than they had before, even when cases were higher, and trends were higher,” said Tebor.

On Thursday, the school sent out a memo saying they would start weekly testing for anyone coming to campus. While Tebor says it’s a step in the right direction, she’s hoping some restrictions are relaxed soon.

“I do think it was really abrupt to shut off all campus organizations and labs,” said Tebor. “We can’t produce the newspaper right now because we can’t go on campus. Hopefully, they can look at the case rates and allow for small groups of students to come back on campus sometime soon.”

The university says they will reassess if they need to extend the stay-on-campus order at the end of the month.