DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Returning University of Dayton students are met with their first test, days before classes even start again. All undergraduate students — residential, commuter and those living in landlord houses — as well as graduate students who live in University housing, must sign up for an arrival date to complete check-in procedures, which includes a UD-administered COVID-19 test, for spring semester.
“If a student tests positive, we know that it didn’t come from them being on campus because this is their very first stop on campus,” explained Jim Froehlich, director of housing operations at UD. “We’re trying to create a bubble here on campus. It worked very well in the Fall and we’re trying to recreate that in the Spring.”
If a student tests positive, they are tested two or three more times just to make sure there are no false positives. Students living within 400 miles of campus who test positive are then asked to return home for 10 days. Students who live further are quarantined on campus.
Students say this method already makes them feel safer returning to campus.
“I think its really good that UD is testing as soon as we get here because i feel like last time, people could have really gotten [COVID] during travel…so I think this is a really proactive way,” said Cate Hawkins, a junior returning to campus on Friday.
The phased return will last for 2 weeks and ends on January 31. The university is only allowing 500-600 students come back a day to allow for proper social distancing. Right now administrators say the on campus positivity rate is less than 1 percent and they’re hoping to keep it that way
Meanwhile, businesses on Brown Street say they’re excited to welcome students and their business back after the break slowed down their profits. But with the pandemic still creating restrictions, their cautiously optimistic about the future.
“We’re all afraid that everybody coming back, the influx of people…is going to cause an outbreak and shut us down . But we wear our masks, we sanitize, we promote as much as we can about cleanliness. So we’ll see what we can do,” said Jose Arias, manager at Back Home Tavern and Table.