WESTFIELD- The onboard COVID-19 testing program for Westfield State University revealed a low initial infection rate as students returned to campus for in-person learning at the end of September.
In the first round of testing, which involved 3,205 tests, just four confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were found. One hundred ninety-seven tests conducted since then revealed just one additional case, for a total of five cases.
In a letter to the campus community after the results were released, Interim University President Roy H. Saigo said that three of the four initial cases were commuter students, and one was a residential student. Following the positive tests, contact tracing was conducted and the areas in which these students had been were cleaned and sanitized.
Those who tested positive will be permitted to return to campus once they have been cleared by WSU Health Services, according to a university spokesperson.
Should a wider outbreak occur at WSU, the university administration designated Lansdowne Place, the off-campus apartment building on Thomas Street in Westfield’s downtown, as a quarantine building. Students who do contract the virus are encouraged to find a way to self isolate at home, but if that is not an option, they can live in Lansdowne Place until they are cleared by Health Services.
“Westfield State University is committed to providing on-going support for students in quarantine due to COVID-19. We have designated Lansdowne Place as the residence hall for isolation and quarantine,” said WSU Chief of Staff Tricia Oliver, “This building is only used for isolation and quarantine purposes and is staffed by a live-in professional that serves as the University’s isolation and quarantine manager. University Health Services are in regular contact to check on these students and Dining Services coordinates meal delivery.”
WSU updates its weekly case count and testing totals every Thursday on the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard.