COVID infection rate remains steady as university announces more testing details

WESTFIELD – The local rate of COVID-19 infection remained relatively low this week with the City of Westfield reporting eight new confirmed cases and the Town of Southwick reporting three. 

The new infections brought Westfield to a total of 519 cases and Southwick to a total of 72.

Stock Images of Westfield State University, Fall 2015

The relatively low rates come as the school year is set to begin in Massachusetts, although not all students will be returning to a physical classroom right away. Westfield Public Schools will not be returning to in-person learning right away, other than Westfield Technical Academy shops. The Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District is adopting a hybrid model that will begin on Sept. 15.

Westfield State University announced last week that move-in day would be delayed until the end of September. Online learning will take place for all WSU students in the meantime. On Aug. 27, the university announced more details about the school’s testing plan for COVID-19. 

As part of our plan to keep the campus community safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Westfield State University is requiring onboard and periodic COVID-19 testing for all students (residential and commuter) who will have an on-campus presence in the fall semester,” said the statement from WSU Interim President Roy H. Saigo.

Onboard testing for those just arriving on campus will take place between Sept. 24-27 and the students will get tested in waves in alphabetical order. Further testing for all students will take place in October, November, and December and will follow the same protocol. WSU partnered with the Broad Institute to supply the test kits and process the results of the tests. 

WSU students will also have to download the Wellbility app, which students must use each day to self-assess any potential COVID-19 symptoms. 

Students with a positive or undetermined test result will be contacted swiftly and directly by University Health Services, who will communicate next steps. Although there are specific isolation plans for those students who test positive and will be remaining on campus, students are also encouraged to consult with their champions/parents about creating a plan in the event that they test positive,” said Saigo’s statement. 

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