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COVID-19 cluster identified, athletes temporarily submit extra tests

<h5>A COVID-19 saliva test taken on campus</h5>
<h6>Zachary Shevin / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
A COVID-19 saliva test taken on campus
Zachary Shevin / The Daily Princetonian

Following the identification of a COVID-19 “cluster” on campus, select students are being required to submit a third weekly test.

This group of students — which includes all varsity student athletes — will submit tests on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from March 22 through April 9. Other students will still be testing twice weekly.

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In a message explaining the situation to affected students on March 19, the Global and Community Health and COVID-19 Testing Teams at University Health Services (UHS) described “a cluster of COVID-19 cases” and explained that the University would be requiring students “connected to that cluster” to submit more tests.

Senior Associate Director of Athletics Allison Rich conveyed the information in a message to athletes on the same day.

“All student-athletes will be required to submit a covid-19 test three times per week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” she wrote.

The University did not specify exactly how many COVID-19 cases the “cluster” consisted of. In a statement to The Daily Princetonian, Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss emphasized that the University will continue to “monitor for potential common sources of infection or clusters and take appropriate steps to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.”

The University has administered over 10,000 COVID-19 tests during every week since the start of the semester, including over 6,000 to undergraduates weekly. Since the start of the month, the University has reported 14 total positive tests among undergraduates, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard. Since March 15, the Monday prior to the announcement, just two undergraduates have received a positive test result.

Still, COVID-19 cases are rising in the region, with New Jersey seeing the highest rate of positive cases per capita of any state last week. Hotchkiss urged continued compliance with public health guidance and University regulations.

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“All students should continue to adhere to the social contract and public health best practices,” he wrote.  

Students and other University members are also encouraged to “take any opportunity they may have to be vaccinated against Covid as they become eligible according to the state’s criteria,” Hotchkiss added.

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