COVID-19 Outbreaks Occur as Students Return to Campus
COVID-19 Outbreaks Occur as Students Return to Campus

COVID-19 Outbreaks Occur as Students Return to Campus

Following a string of outbreaks, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will move to an online-only semester.

Lisa Winter
Lisa Winter
Aug 18, 2020

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As college campuses across the US welcome students back for the start of the semester, numerous universities are faced with isolating individuals who are testing positive for COVID-19, Inside Higher Ed reports. For the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), the spread of multiple clusters of COVID-19 cases has caused the school to transition to online-only classes for the duration of the semester, effective Wednesday, August 19.

After the first week of in-person classes, UNC announced four COVID-19 outbreaks, resulting in the quarantine of three residence halls and one off-campus fraternity house, totaling 130 students and five staff members since August 10. The Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s student newspaper, tweeted Monday afternoon that in the wake of these cases, the university is suspending in-person instruction. 

Some of the earliest COVID-19 outbreaks on college campuses involved football players who returned to school up to two months before their peers for summer workouts, The New York Times reported earlier this summer. 

In the wake of so many schools experiencing outbreaks, many sports that are high- or moderate-risk for COVID-19 transmission, such as football and soccer, have been postponed until the spring. Additionally, some schools, including the University of Maryland, have announced limitations on the number of students who can live in their residence halls. Other universities had anticipated such problems and scrapped in-person instruction from the get-go.

Here are some of the outbreaks that have occurred at college campuses both over the summer and as students have returned for the fall semester:

Note: This is a working list and will be updated. If you have an update to this list, please email Lisa Winter at lwinter@the-scientist.com

State

School

Cases

AlabamaUniversity of AlabamaA newly released COVID-19 dashboard reveals 566 positive cases on the university’s campuses since August 19. An additional 481 cases were identified between August 25 and 28.
ArizonaArizona State University
The school reported 803 cases across its Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, and West campuses.
ArizonaUniversity of ArizonaThree football players tested positive in July after returning to campus.
CaliforniaCalifornia State University, Chico
After 27 cases on campus, the school announced that most classes would move online as of August 31 and students are asked to vacate residence halls by September 6.
CaliforniaUniversity of California, Los AngelesEight football players tested positive in August after returning to campus.
CaliforniaUniversity of Southern California
One week after classes resumed, the school announced 43 positive cases.
ColoradoColorado CollegeOne student tested positive after moving into a residence hall, putting 155 people into quarantine, the school announced on August 16.
ConnecticutUniversity of ConnecticutThe school announced on August 16 that two students tested positive after moving in on campus.
FloridaUniversity of Florida
There have been 267 positive cases on campus according to the new dashboard released on August 17, but the school is not tying the cases to specific dates.
GeorgiaGeorgia College
After 27 students tested positive during the first week of class, the number of cases has ballooned to more than 500 in two weeks.
GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia
While only three positive cases have been discovered on campus so far this semester, the school has drawn criticism for its low testing numbers and for relying on volunteers to test, rather than random selection.
GeorgiaUniversity of North GeorgiaThe school reports 38 positive cases on campus since August 11.
Illinois
Bradley University
After reaching 50 confirmed cases on campus, the school announced that all students would enter a two-week quarantine with all classes held online until September 23.
IllinoisNorthwestern University29 students, faculty, and staff have tested positive since mid-June.
IllinoisUniversity of Illinois
While conducting thousands of tests per day, the school has identified 700 cases on campus in the first two weeks of class—as many as the university was anticipating for the entire semester.
IndianaNotre Dame UniversityThe school announced on August 12 that a total of four football players have tested positive since returning to campus. An off-campus party was also linked to 58 student cases since dorm move-in. On August 18, Notre Dame announced it would be moving to online-only classes for at least two weeks.
IowaIowa State University66 students tested positive while moving in on campus in the first week of August.
IowaUniversity of Iowa
As of August 24, there have been 107 student cases on campus.
KansasKansas State University29 student-athletes tested positive in June after returning to campus for football workouts.
KentuckyUniversity of Louisville29 student-athletes tested positive following an off-campus party, the school announced on August 5.
KentuckyUniversity of Kentucky
On August 25, UK reported 249 positive cases on campus.
MarylandTowson UniversityFollowing move-in on August 13, 55 students and faculty tested positive, the school announced.
MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts
The school announced nine cases on campus since August 6, and has outlined how harmful the pandemic has been to its budget.
MichiganHope CollegeThe day after in-person classes started, the school announced that “several” students have tested positive and are in isolation.
MichiganMichigan State UniversityAt least 23 football players and staff members tested positive since late July. On August 18, MSU’s president requested that students who are not yet on campus to stay home, as fall semester classes will move online.
Michigan
University of Michigan
There have been 16 positive cases on campus since August 12.
MississippiNortheast Mississippi Community CollegeNine students tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to campus for the start of classes on August 3.
Mississippi
University of Mississippi
As of August 26, Ole Miss reports 109 confirmed active cases on campus.
MissouriMissouri State UniversityIn-person orientation has been canceled after 42 tour guides tested positive, following an off-campus party in late July.
New JerseyRutgers University10 football players have tested positive after returning to campus for summer workouts in mid-June.
New YorkState University of New York, Oneonta
Students have been sent back home for two weeks after 507 cases have emerged on campus since the beginning of the semester.
North CarolinaAppalachian State University
The school announced on August 18 that 11 people connected to the football team have tested positive and has put a hold on any team practices.
North CarolinaEast Carolina UniversityOn August 17, the university announced a cluster of positive cases in a residence hall.
North CarolinaNorth Carolina State UniversityThe school announced that after 27 positive cases turned up in athletic programs, they will be pausing all sports-related activity.
North CarolinaUniversity of North CarolinaFour clusters of virus cases were identified in three residence halls and one off-campus fraternity since August 14. The school has responded by making the semester online-only, effective August 19.
North DakotaUniversity of North Dakota
As of August 26, there are 230 self-reported student positives and 591 students, staff, and faculty in quarantine or isolation.
OhioMiami University
All of the school’s athletes have been quarantined after 27 players across different sports tested positive.
OhioThe Ohio State University
More than 200 students were suspended before classes resumed for gathering in large social groups and flouting regulations meant to prevent COVID-19. As of August 29, there were 495 cases on campus.
OhioUniversity of ToledoThe local health department announced on August 21 that 27 students have tested positive. The university asked students who have attended large social gatherings to self-isolate for 14 days.
OklahomaOklahoma State University23 residents of an off-campus sorority house tested positive, the school announced on August 15.
OklahomaUniversity of OklahomaNine football players tested positive after being sent home for a break on August 8, then returning to campus.
OregonUniversity of Oregon
After nine cases across their campuses in the month of August, the University has announced that they will be going largely online for the fall semester.
Pennsylvania
Gettysburg College
After testing revealed 24 cases on campus, the school has restricted all 2,600 students to their rooms, only allowing them to leave for food and to use the restroom.
Pennsylvania
Temple University
After topping 100 cases on campus—many of which were connected to an off-campus gathering—the school announced on August 30 that it would be moving to online classes for two weeks.
South CarolinaClemson University
There have been 23 cases on campus so far in August.
South Carolina
University of South Carolina
Since classes resumed on August 20, there have been 374 positive cases on campus.
TennesseeUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleNearly 30 people on campus have tested positive, even before students moved back to residence halls, the school said on August 13.
TexasBaylor University
There have been 318 total cases on campus since the beginning of August.
TexasTexas A&M University
There have been more than 400 positive cases on campus so far in the month of August.
VirginiaUniversity of Virginia
There have been 58 cases since August 17; 31 of those are students.
VirginiaVirginia Commonwealth University
After resuming in-person instruction on August 17, the university reports that between students and faculty, there are 70 active COVID-19 cases on campus.
West VirginiaWest Virginia University, Morgantown
In response to rising case numbers and unapproved social gatherings on campus, the school announced that most undergraduate classes will be moving online until September 25.
Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Madison
After testing revealed 148 cases on campus, all social events for undergraduates have been canceled until September 21. Classes and study rooms remain open, but that could change if cases continue to climb.