How Coronavirus Outbreaks Are Impacting Colleges & Universities Across the Country
Get ongoing updates on the number of students and faculty infected by COVID-19 and how schools are responding
Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
Following a confrontation with police on Sept. 5, one of the students at the party admitted to testing positive a week before. When asked by the officer if he was meant to be quarantining, the student said that he was at his house and that everyone else who lived in the house was also positive for COVID, according to body camera footage published by WOIO.
“But you have other people here and you’re positive for COVID? You see the problem?” the officer replied. The student said that some of the visitors were also positive, later adding that there were about 10 people inside in addition to those on the front porch.
The police then gave six of the students who live in the house citations, which included a $500 fine.
Although the school reported 159 new student cases of COVID-19 over Labor Day weekend, it will resume in-person classes on Sept. 21.
The new cases bring the university’s total to 1,037 active coronavirus cases as of Sept. 11.
New York University
The school placed all residents and employees living and working at Rubin Hall under mandatory quarantine after reporting several positive cases. NYU officials said in an update shared on the school's website on Sept. 14 that six out of approximately 400 students living at Rubin Hall recently tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the entire dorm to go into lockdown.
"We have isolated all the students with positive findings and quarantined their close contacts, in line with our protocols," the statement read. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are also retesting all residents of Rubin Hall (and employees, too), and instructed them on Saturday to begin quarantining until at least Tuesday night."
"We hope to have the results of Monday’s tests back by Tuesday evening and can evaluate, in consultation with the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, what steps to take after that, which may well include extending the quarantine," the update continued.
University spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement on Sept. 12 that the school is "arranging for meals and other supports for the quarantining students."
"All of NYU’s courses this fall 2020, regardless of whether they meet in person, are structured to have the capacity for students to attend remotely, so students will be able to keep up with their studies," Beckman said. "The University is committed to the health and safety of its students, and has and will continue to communicate regularly with the students and with their families."
NYU has reported a total of 97 positive cases of coronavirus since Aug. 1, according to data from the school's COVID-19 dashboard, as of Sept. 21.
After more than 80 students tested positive in just two days, the school's president, Rev. Kenneth Sicard, announced that the school is moving to remote-only learning for as least two weeks, Boston reported on Sept. 18.
The school has a 140 total positive student cases as of Sept. 21, according to their COVID-19 dashboard.
University of Connecticut
By September, reports revealed that the number of positive cases in Mansfield, Connecticut, where UConn is located, had "quintupled to 220 cases, with nearly all of those new cases reported from within the UConn student body," the Hartford Courant reported on Sept. 18. The alarming spike caused an entire dorm to go under lockdown. The off-campus apartments in Storrs Center is under quarantine, as well as dorm Eddy Hall, according to the outlet.
As of Sept. 21, UConn has reported 157 cumulative residential student positive cases, 60 off-campus positive cases, plus 4 staff positive cases, according to the school's COVID-19 dashboard.
The university has seen a significant drop in cases this month. The school went from reporting 600 new cases the first week of September, according to WTVM, to just 108 the following week. During the initial spike, the school rolled out a sentinel testing program, where they tested a random group of people, including students, faculty and staff, for COVID-19.
"In this case, about 2.5 to 3 percent of Auburn's campus community are going to be randomly chosen," Dr. Fred Kam, the director of Auburn University’s medical clinic, said.
As of Sept. 21, Auburn has reported 1,761 positive cases in total, according to the school's historical health data.
University of Georgia
The school reported more than 1,400 new cases of COVID the first week of September, the AP reported on Sept. 9. At the time, the outbreak at UGA was the fastest growing among all the schools in the state that were publicly reporting numbers, the outlet added. The report also coincided with other reports of cases in Georgia that were rising in schools and among children.
In August, 260 employees in the Gwinnett County School District were confirmed to have tested positive or to have been exposed to the illness. Six students and three members of staff tested positive at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia and 260 kids and staff tested positive at an overnight camp in Georgia, which the CDC — who first reported the news — did not name.
As of Sept. 21, there have been a total of 3,045 positive cases, according to the New York Times.
University of Alabama
Once fall semester kicked off in mid-August, the university began to see a rise in the number of COVID cases within its student population. According to data from the school's COVID-19 dashboard released on Aug. 28, an additional 492 students tested positive from Aug. 25 to 27, bringing the total of student cases since August 19 to 1,063.
Out of the new cases, 481 were reported from the school's main campus in Tuscaloosa, nine were reported from the campus in Birmingham and two were reported from the Hunstville campus.
None of the students who tested positive have been hospitalized as of Aug. 28, according to a press release from the school.
As of Sept. 17, the school as reported a total of 2,461 positive cases among students, and 227 among faculty, staff and clinical enterprise employees, according to their COVID-19 dashboard.
Arizona State University
In a letter to students, Mark S. Searle, ASU's executive vice president and university provost, announced that classes after Thanksgiving will all be remote, and the fall 2020 commencement will be virtual. As for spring 2021, Searle said that, "ASU will offer courses in a variety of learning environments to accommodate students’ needs depending on location or circumstance as a result of COVID-19. The university remains in Learning Mode 2, where instruction is delivered to students by faculty in a hybrid fashion."
The statement was released on Sept. 18, as the New York Times reported that the school — as of Sept. 21 — has had 1,330 confirmed COVID positive cases.
University of Central Florida
In early September, three sororities on campus were placed on a two-week quarantine as COVID cases began to rise, Fox 35 Orlando reported on Sept. 9.
The organizations, Zeta Tau Alpha, Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Epsilon Phi, have a total of 79 young women living among the three houses, according to officials, the outlet reported. While under quarantine, the students are required to stay in their rooms, but are allowed to pick up food or other essentials from the chapter house entrance while wearing a face covering and social distancing. The school's Student Care Services has also reached out to help assist the students during their lock down period.
As of Sept. 21, there have been 493 confirmed student positive tests, 239 self-reported student positive tests and 126 self-reported faculty and staff positive tests, according to the school's COVID-19 dashboard.
Illinois State University
Sixty-eight new cases were confirmed among students as of Sept. 3, WGLT reported. The school has been monitoring the situation as cases began to rise, and only about 10 percent of classes will remain in-person or hybrid. More than 80 percent of positive student cases are from those who are living off-campus, the outlet added.
As of Sept. 21, 1,334 cumulative positive cases have been reported since the start of their fall semester (Aug. 17), according to the school's COVID dashboard.
University of Missouri
Bill Stackman, the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs, announced in a letter on Sept. 15 that two students were expelled and three were suspended for "willful and knowing actions that threatened the safety of our campus and community." The crackdown occurred as the school toughens up their safety protocols as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
"Additionally, 11 student organizations are currently under investigation for violations of the university’s policies related to COVID. We have additional cases pending that I expect will result in similar outcomes," Stackman continued in his statement.
The school has also banned large social gatherings and tailgating in all parking lots and campus spaces.
James Madison University
The school will resume in-person classes on Oct. 5 and will launch a mandatory surveillance testing program that will test 300 non-symptomatic students per week to try and get ahead of potential outbreaks, NBC12 reported on Sept. 18. The school also announced that classes with over 50 students will meet online for the rest of the semester, fall break (originally slated for Oct. 22-23) will be canceled in an attempt to reduce student travel and all courses and exams will move online after Thanksgiving break.
More details are said to be coming by Sept. 25, as the school reports 613 cumulative positive tests since July 1 and 821 self-reported positive cases since Aug. 17, which comes to a total of 1,434 COVID cases as of Sept. 21.