During the week ending on Feb. 11, COVID-19 cases among University students, staff, and faculty continued to fall. According to the latest data from the University’s COVID-19 dashboard, the campus positivity rate currently stands at 0.32 percent with the campus risk status in the yellow “Moderate to High” range.
Among undergraduate students participating in the asymptomatic testing protocol, the number of cases was more or less static: there were 21 positive cases out of a total of 5,537 tests in the week ending on Feb. 11, compared to 23 positive cases out of 8,015 tests the week prior. Positive cases among graduate students decreased from eight in the week ending Feb. 4 to seven in the week ending Feb. 11.
In line with these trends, the University announced changes to some of its COVID-19 guidelines in a Feb. 8 email sent to all undergraduate students. The University reduced the number of weekly required tests from students participating in the asymptomatic testing protocol from twice to once weekly.
Overall, the decline in campus positivity rate and reduced risk status reflect broader regional trends as cases of the Omicron variant have begun dwindling throughout New Jersey.
Recently, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced that the statewide mask mandate in schools will be lifted as of March 7, eliminating the requirement that students and school employees wear masks in educational settings.
In response to Murphy’s announcement, a petition to end the indoor mask mandate has been circulating in residential college listservs. As of Feb. 13, the petition has accrued 195 student signatories.
Positive cases among faculty, staff, and other University employees participating in the asymptomatic testing protocol decreased by 50 percent from the week ending on Feb. 4 to that ending on Feb. 11, with 15 positive cases reported in the most recent week.
Individuals participating in the symptomatic testing protocol have likewise experienced a diminished frequency of positive COVID-19 cases: only three faculty, staff, and other University employees tested positive last week, marking a decline from eight cases among this same demographic from the week prior.
Isolation housing capacity last week reflected these campus-wide decreases in positive cases, with 37.3 percent of dorms occupied. In the preceding week, 66.36 percent of isolation dorms were occupied by students.
Amy Ciceu is a senior writer who often covers research and COVID-19-related developments. She also serves as a Newsletter Editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.