UNI COVID-19 data reporting begins



This past Friday, UNI published its first round of data regarding positive COVID-19 cases on campus. This data was published to the UNI Forward Together website and includes the number of positive tests processed by the health center, the number of tests administered, and the number of students isolating or quarantining in the residence halls.

In an email sent out to students on Friday afternoon, the COVID-19 Response Team acknowledged their commitment to protecting the privacy of students, faculty, and staff who test positive. “No personally identifiable information will be shared on this dashboard, and we cannot share information in a way that might lead to identification of individuals,” the email read. “We recognize that anonymity is critically important – we must allow those who are impacted by COVID-19 to focus completely on their health.” Due to this, the dashboard will be updated with the weekly total of positive cases each Friday at noon.

In its first Friday update, it was reported that UNI has had 62 positive cases among students, faculty, and staff during the first two weeks of the semester. The health center has administered a total of 225 tests semester-to-date, bringing campus testing to a 27% positivity rate. Furthermore, there are 31 students self-isolating in the residence halls, meaning that they have tested positive, and 81 students quarantining in the residence halls, meaning that they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

Some students are not surprised at the amount of positive cases that the UNI community is already facing. Ryan Frank, a fifth year student, said, “Sadly, these numbers do not surprise me. I wish that they did, but many people within the 18-24 age group have proven over the course of the summer and fall that they are not taking this pandemic seriously.” Fifth year student Sydney Clark echoed this sentiment. “I personally thought they would be higher,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of people without masks, attending parties and such, so I thought for sure the numbers would be higher.”

While positive cases on campus are increasing, students express their mixed feelings about how the administration is handling COVID-19. Fourth year student Sarah Lewis expressed her gratitude to UNI’s administration for taking some precautions, but said, “There is more they could be doing for students… I think students should have been required to take a coronavirus test before returning to campus. I also believe UNI should be more transparent about the total number of student cases being reported.” UNI Forward Together has not made it clear whether or not they have plans to include data for off-campus testing in the future.

In light of these new cases being reported, some students are pondering what the future of the semester looks like. Lewis said that she believes continuing in person while also giving students an online option would be best. Clark expressed that, although she would like to continue in person, she feels as though classes should move online. “It’s not bad to be online until people respect the current climate, or until the situation changes,” Clark said.