Back on campus, Delaware universities are already seeing students test positive for COVID-19
With students now on campus, the University of Delaware has started regularly releasing the number of positive cases of COVID-19 connected to the school.
As of Thursday, 23 students and three faculty members had tested positive with COVID-19 since classes started on Aug. 31.
The daily count includes cases that have been confirmed both through the university's on-campus testing services, and the state Division of Public Health. Public health contact tracers notify the university of any cases connected to students and faculty who have been on campus.
All students were required prior to coming to campus to show that they had tested negative for the coronavirus. Of the 4,164 submitted student tests, 52 were positive. Of the 3,358 submitted employee tests, five were positive.
"We did expect to have some positives, as thousands of people came back to campus," university spokeswoman Andrea Boyle Tippett said. "That's one of the reasons we did pre-arrival testing, too."
The university will offer on-campus testing for students who need it, but there is no mandate that students get regularly tested.
This is unlike Delaware State University, where on-campus students and faculty are required to get tested twice a week.
"It's a condition of attending the school," university spokesman Steven Newton said.
Two weeks into the school year, the 1,800 students on campus have been tested at least twice by now, Newton said. Operating in a bubble-like fashion, the school intends to conduct up to 900 tests four days a week, he said.
So far, 24 students have tested positive out of 3,310 tests at Delaware State. The university is also waiting on results for about 1,200 tests conducted in the past two days. The school is still working on launching its COVID-19 dashboard.
At both schools, signs and banners let students know to always be masked and maintain social distancing. UD students and faculty are emailed a health questionnaire that they must complete daily in order to be on campus.
As the school year progresses, Boyle Tippett said, students and faculty will have to show those questionnaires in order to get into major buildings like the gym, library, student centers, dining hall and ice rink.
"We want to make sure that everyone understands the expectations and requirements on campus, but also what they should be doing in their own homes if they live off-campus," Boyle Tippett said. "We want students to really be taking ownership for the fact that they're responsible for one another and protecting their friends and professors and anyone they come in contact with."
But even with the school's public health campaign aimed at slowing spread, there is still concern about off-campus spread. Only about 1,300 UD students are living in dorms, but it's not clear how many are living in the off-campus apartments surrounding the school.
Early Monday, three UD students hosting a party of about 75 people were the first to violate Newark's emergency ordinance restricting the size of private gatherings, an ordinance aimed at curbing off-campus college parties by restricting private gatherings to 12 people indoors and 20 people outdoors.
The three students have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct. The university could not comment on the outcome of any consequences.
"We knew off-campus behaviors were going to be one of the biggest concerns," Boyle Tippett said. "We're just watching what's happening. We realize it's a mixture of poor decision-making, added to the fact that the primary age group of college students, they don't really worry about long-term consequences. Their psychology is such that they don't always make the best decisions."
Both UD and DSU are offering primarily virtual classes, with only classes that require it meeting face-to-face. But across the country, schools with more face-to-face classes are seeing positive COVID-19 cases skyrocket.
Just two weeks after students returned to campus, the University of North Carolina quickly pivoted to remote classes after about 650 students and employees tested positive.
"It's hard for our students, we know that. College is a social experience, in addition to being an educational one," Boyle Tippett said. "It's difficult for everyone, this lack of socialization."
Natalia Alamdari covers education for The News Journal. You can reach her at or email@example.com.