COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In its second week of classes, the Ohio State University is entering its next phase of COVID-19 testing.
While on-campus students have been undergoing weekly tests, off-campus students will now be randomly selected for testing.
“They sent out an email. You have to sign up for a time slot,” explained student Madison Schiefer. “I have between tomorrow and next week to get a test done.”
The senior philosophy major said it’s a strange conclusion to her time at Ohio State.
“It’s been extremely crazy. Campus is not what it used to be,” she said.
Schiefer noticed the off-campus atmosphere changed after the university issued more than 200 suspensions in connection with parties and gatherings the first weekend.
“Initially, obviously, house parties [were happening] until the suspensions last week. So now, [they’re] very few and far between, a lot quieter,” she said.
A group of sorority sisters were having a socially distant breakfast outside of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house Saturday. The house is among those off-campus posting yard signs with messages discouraging their peers from risky behaviors like parties and gatherings.
“It’s just important to show that we do care about it and we’re going to be careful. And specifically my sorority — we’re trying to be really careful,” said sophomore Kate Wilhelm.
Early test results in the first week of classes showed an increasing positivity rate, which incoming President Kristina Johnson said was, “heading in the wrong direction.” In the first few days, rates more than tripled and the numbers prompted the school to suspend all in-person events and activities, regardless of size.
Some students said it’s not surprising to see the increase as testing ramps up on and off-campus, but they hope it levels off and does not result in more restrictions.
“It is kind of scary because the numbers are definitely rising. But I don’t know, I guess we’ll have to see what they decide,” said freshman Shana De Wet.
Data released by the university Saturday shows the daily positivity rate among OSU students was at 5.86 percent on Thursday, the last day for which information is available.
The previous day, Aug. 26, showed the daily positivity rate to be 3.74 percent.
The positivity rate is determined by the number of test results for that day. On Thursday, 91 of 1,554 test results — 5.86 percent — were positive.
In total, as of Aug. 27, 495 students have tested positive for the virus. Between Aug. 20 and Aug. 27, there was a daily average of 58 positive cases. Overall, the positivity rate among OSU students is 2.15 percent since Aug. 14.
Since Aug. 1, 16 OSU employees have tested positive for the virus.
Recently, the university issued a “Student Innovation Challenge,” encouraging students to submit their own creative ideas for limiting the spread of COVID-19. Winning proposals may be put into action.
You can find the latest case numbers at OSU by clicking here.