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Some colleges report a decline in COVID-19 cases

Posted at 7:21 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 20:21:05-04

NORTHEAST, Wis (NBC 26) -- Some college campuses in northeast Wisconsin are reporting that their rate of COVID-19 tests coming back positive are falling, as rates in the general public continue to rise.

Bringing college students back to college classrooms this fall was and remains a concern for many in the profession of higher education.

"We've been nervous about what is happening in the community," Christyn Abaray the Assistant to the President at Lawrence University in Appleton.

Abaray says at the University they have been testing students for COVID-19 since move-in day. At this point, University officials say everyone living on campus has been tested twice and less than one percent of those tests have come back positive.

"We are strategizing how to keep our students more so on campus now. Because it's looking like we're one of the safest places for our students to be," says Abaray.

And at UWO, Chancellor Andrew Leavitt says they've been testing students since early September as well. At this point, Leavitt says they have already administered nearly 7,000 tests.

"We probably have done more testing, other than UW Madison, than any other UW in the system," says Leavitt.

Chancellor Leavitt calls it one of their most effective tools in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Today the University reports that their positivity rate of testing sits at 3.5 percent, far lower than the state's average which continues to hover around 20 percent.

"We know where they are, we know who they are, in the sense that we can interact with them in order to use testing to figure out where the virus is," says Leavitt.

And at Saint Norbert College in Brown county, the University reports that there has been a grand total of 159 positive cases of COVID-19 this semester. Today the college reports that just 22 students are currently positive with the virus.

"I would say we are happy because we're seeing a steady decline in the number of active cases over the last week to ten days. So, we do find that as a good indicator," says Julie Massey the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs.

Every campus has its own unique game plan to slow the spread of COVID-19 and all include social distancing practices, mandatory mask-wearing, encouraging everyone to stay home if they're sick, and for folks to get tested if they're concerned.

"We've not had a single case traced back to the classroom setting," adds Massey.