Testing Underway For 280 USU Students After COVID-19 Detected In Wastewater

Aug 30, 2020, 2:51 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 11:45 pm

LOGAN, Utah — Students at Utah State University returned to the classroom for the first time since March, but already nearly 300 are in quarantine after traces of COVID-19 were found in the dormitory wastewater.

University officials told KSL TV Monday morning they had tested about 130 students and more testing will continue throughout the day for a total of about 280 students.

“Definitely is different, but as a freshman I don’t know any different,” said Utah State University student Rylee Astill who said she feels for those in quarantine.

“I feel really bad for them. Having to start out not being able to go to school, but you have to do what you have to do,” said Astill.

Residents in the Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis dorm halls experienced their first day of class from their dorm room.

The university said they are working with the students to get through the next couple of days.

“It is a little concerning, but it is good to know that the university is monitoring everything, and they do have contingency plans in place,” said Holden Brecht, a Junior at Utah State.

A safety alert was issued Sunday afternoon. Students in the Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis dorm halls experienced their first day of class quarantine in their dorm rooms.

They will be under quarantine until the results of their tests are known.

Staff members went door-to-door Sunday, alerting students about what they need to do and when they will be tested.

“This situation highlights how essential it is that everyone practice the four principles of prevention: wear a mask, even outside; practice social distancing; stay home when you are sick; and keep your hands and space clean,” read the safety alert.

USU partnered with the Utah Department of Health and the Bear River Health Department on the testing.

“We don’t know exactly where the positive signs came from, so what it gives us is an early outlook that there might be something in these four dorms, so that’s why we’ve shut the dorms down and we’re testing everyone,” said Utah State University Spokesperson Tim Vitale.

The testing is being done at Intermountain High Park Clinic in Logan, shuttling students via bus. Meanwhile those not in quarantine are grateful for the universities proactive approach to wastewater testing, but some are worried their dorm could be next.

“The dorm I live in is community living, it is the only community living on campus so things could happen there, there’s potential, but we’ll see,” said Brecht.

Utah State University is one of a five universities in the country doing wastewater monitoring for Covid-19. Brigham Young University and the University of Utah are also testing wastewater.

A USU professors is working Logan City to test the water in the community.

Officials said testing the wastewater provides an early warning to address potential cases and prevent the spread of the virus.

Parents of some of the students have contacted KSL concerned about the science behind wastewater testing and the impact it is having on students’ livelihoods on campus.

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Testing Underway For 280 USU Students After COVID-19 Detected In Wastewater