Students, faculty, and staff,
We have posted the latest results from our community COVID-19 saliva testing.
As of Monday evening, 222 people have tested positive out of 19,452 entry test results received, for a positivity rate of 1.14%.
The overall positivity rate is in line with what we expected and are prepared to manage, and it represents a slight decrease from the initial round of results we shared last Thursday. We always expected to see some positive tests from this effort. Notably, our positivity rate is lower than rates of the general population from Douglas County. We know our situation is fluid and can change rapidly, but overall, these results suggest we are starting the semester in a good place.
As a reminder, we’ve conducted this testing upon return to campus before the beginning of on-campus activities and classes for two key reasons:
First, we want to identify positive cases early and ensure that they are isolating appropriately to prevent community spread. Those who test positive receive instructions to self-isolate, in accordance with guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, along with additional instructions from Watkins Health Services. All members of our community must follow these directions closely.
Second, we want to establish baseline levels of positivity rates among our campus populations to determine appropriate safety, infection prevention, education, and testing efforts moving forward. This baseline testing will inform more targeted testing efforts in the future.
Our Pandemic Medical Advisory Team, which features nine of the region’s top medical and public health professionals, guides our overall approach in these areas with an eye toward data and scientific evidence.
As we use these overall results to form a baseline, we will be able to move forward with more targeted testing efforts with specific populations.
Faculty, staff, and students who didn’t get tested during our initial rounds of testing can make an appointment online to receive a test near the mobile testing unit at Watkins Health Services at https://protect.ku.edu/covid-19-testing-information. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should call Watkins Health Services directly at 785-864-9507 to arrange an appointment, or contact your primary care physician.
Some results from last weekend’s tests are not included in today’s update, and we plan to publish an additional round of results from our entry testing on Friday.
We also have updated numbers for our Greek community, which has an overall positivity rate of 5.47%. We applaud that community for participating in our testing efforts so far and for proactively working with us to take measures to improve health and safety. We commend the members of this community who are taking positive steps to this end, and encourage that work to continue.
No single group will be ultimately responsible for our overall success or failure in combating this disease. That responsibility rests with all of us.
The ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 remain clear: Wear a mask, stay six feet apart from others, and wash your hands. Again, all of us need to do our part.
In looking around campus this week, we saw a lot of positive signs: a lower-density overall environment, students wearing masks inside and outside, and social distancing in classrooms. Keeping that up will be key this semester.
While we may have fewer people than usual on Mount Oread this fall, it’s still good to see classes starting up again. To all of you who have worked so hard to enable us to reopen campus while continuing to prioritize health and safety – thank you.
Welcome back, Jayhawks.
Douglas A. Girod