A Look At How Utah State University Has Been Addressing Student Infection During The Pandemic

Feb 1, 2021

Credit Tessa Kim

A new semester is underway at Utah State University and school officials are continuing to provide support to students who test positive for COVID-19 or are quarantined due to exposure. 

“One of the most important things for me to do is to help students understand what resources are out there for them to be able to address any issues related to COVID,” said James Morales, the Vice President for Student Affairs. “It can be things like getting tested. I'm helping lead this effort in making sure that students are aware of this opportunity and can get tested to know whether they have COVID.”

 

Morales said access to quick testing is one of the most important parts of containment. 

 

After a student tests positive and contact tracing beings, one of the next steps is supporting them in their school work during their quarantine. USU student Garrett Anderson tested positive last semester. 

 

“If you test positive they help contact all your teachers, make sure that you're not missing anything that you're caught up in everything,” Anderson said. “So they helped me out a lot, and (with classes) just being online, I could keep up pretty (well).”

 

It’s not only students that test positive who need to be quarantined. Kaytlyn Scott is a freshman living in the dorms on campus. When one of her roommates tested positive last semester, the positive roommate was brought to another building to wait out her self isolation period. Then, Kaytlyn and the rest of her roommates had to quarantine for two weeks in their dorm. During this time, the COVID Care team provided support. 

 

“They brought us three meals a day, which was really nice,” Scott said. “They just left them in like paper sacks outside of our door. And another cool thing that they did is they actually called us every day to kind of check up on us. And so that was very assuring that they were staying on top of it. We didn't feel like we were being forgotten about.”

 

Director of emergency management, Ellis Bruch, said that after one semester of dealing with COVID they’re even more prepared now.

 

“You know, in the fall semester, there was a lot of confusion, a lot of unknown,” Bruch said. “People were on both ends of the spectrum, (saying) ‘We're not doing enough, you're overreacting.’ There was no middle ground because we've never done this. Now, as we've seen today, through our first round of testing of students, the compliance is very high. People are very understanding. And I think we're all to the point that we just want to get through this and get back to some kind of normal.”