ISU is stabilizing COVID rates, planning for next semester

AMES, Iowa -- COVID-19 rates are stabilizing on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

"We've seen not only the number of students with symptoms, being exposed, and coming in for testing decline, but also the positivity rate has been declining as well. We've been below five percent--this is our fifth week" says Iowa State Vice President John Lawrence.

The city of Ames and Story County saw a spike in cases in weeks after the semester started.

He says the school's currently in the process of doing random COVID-19 tests among students--a follow-up to the testing done when many of them moved into campus residence halls as the semester started.

"Where are we today? Is it somewhere near that 2.2 percent positivity rate? Has it changed? It just gives us a snap shot" Lawrence says.

He says Iowa State is also thinking about what to do when students come back for the second semester of a school year in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Do they test locally before they come to campus so if they do test positive they can isolate at home? Do they come here and we test them, and if they live in our facilities we have isolation space for them? Or, as happened last fall--many of them went home to isolate" Lawrence says.

Iowa State University is ending the fall semester on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The spring semester starts more than two months later--January 25th.

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