UD sees an uptick in new COVID-19 cases

Some University of Dayton students saw their instructors face-to-face Wednesday as the university begins its first day of in-person classes for select courses. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

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Some University of Dayton students saw their instructors face-to-face Wednesday as the university begins its first day of in-person classes for select courses. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Five of the largest University of Dayton dorms have seen an uptick of COVID-19 cases, according to a campus memo.

The increase in the number of cases is concerning, however, the campus’ coronavirus status will remain at level 2, according to the memo sent to the campus community.

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“In addition to positive results from students who are symptomatic, we are also detecting a number of positive cases from asymptomatic students through random testing as well as in targeted surveillance testing of defined areas of the residence halls, such as a floor or a section of a floor,” the memo said. “As we would expect from targeted testing, and as we observed in late August, we are seeing an increase in both the number of cases and the positivity rate.”

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Ayesha Sheikh, left and Brooke Baker, both sophomores at the University of Dayton, walk to class with few other students during the COVID-19 outbreak Wednesday August 26, 2020. Jim Noelker/Staff

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Ayesha Sheikh, left and Brooke Baker, both sophomores at the University of Dayton, walk to class with few other students during the COVID-19 outbreak Wednesday August 26, 2020. Jim Noelker/Staff

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Combined ShapeCaption
Ayesha Sheikh, left and Brooke Baker, both sophomores at the University of Dayton, walk to class with few other students during the COVID-19 outbreak Wednesday August 26, 2020. Jim Noelker/Staff

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

During the summer, the university implemented what officials called a robust safety protocol and planned to invest as much as $10 million to prepare the campus for fall classes. However, just before the semester was to begin, a coronavirus outbreak hit, and all classes were held remotely for nearly three weeks until the number of cases subsided.

Since Aug. 10, the institution has reported more than 1,300 coronavirus cases. Until mid-September, the school was reporting double- and triple-digit cases per day, including 167 on Aug. 28, the most in a single day. In-person instructions started after multiple days of single-digit cases.

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UD reported 23 new cases on Wednesday, an increase of 12 from the previous day.

“Since the high incidence of cases early in the semester, the university community has done an excellent job in significantly reducing the spread,” the memo says. “However, it is tempting to get complacent and to let our guards down. When that happens, it is very easy for this virus to spread — as we are seeing in increased incidence in many states as well as right here in Montgomery County.”

As the number of cases have increased in recent days, UD’s Division of Student Development sent letters to all students in the affected residence halls, including in Marycrest, Founders and Stuart halls. The letter reminded them of the importance of adhering to the safety protocols, and resident assistants are convening virtual floor meetings to reinforce this message, according to the campus memo.

Alpha & Omega, the university’s custodial service provider, is conducting additional disinfection in the residence halls, the memo says.

“We continue to be aggressive about identifying and isolating positive cases as well as their close contacts, and we continue to encourage students to go home to quarantine or isolate if they are able to do so safely,” officials said in the campus memo. “If you develop symptoms, we ask you to promptly make an appointment to be evaluated.”

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