Health officials are praising Western Colorado University for its control of COVID-19 through testing, student care and proactive safety measures. Western has conducted in-person classes since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, with the exception of two weeks in the fall. Now, Western is approaching Spring Break and the halfway mark of second semester with a view toward in-person commencement ceremonies in May.
Dedication to Stopping the Spread
This week, Western’s testing positivity rate fell to 0.04% with a 2.2% positivity rate since the beginning of the semester. Only one case of COVID-19 being has been reported in the last three weeks. Currently, no students are in quarantine as of March 11.
Prior to Spring Break, which begins March 15, students have been encouraged to test for the virus both before and after they travel for the traditional week-long hiatus.
Gunnison County Health and Human Services Director Joni Reynolds commended Western on its proactive measures.
“I think it’s noteworthy,” said Reynolds. “I applaud the work done by Western for the past year as they have been successful in having in-person on campus education when other institutions have not been able.”
Supporting Students on Campus
Reynolds credited Western’s dedication to contact tracing, case investigation, isolating of students and providing the right support for the students, calling the efforts “remarkable.” In addition, she said the ongoing testing across the entire campus with a scientific design to include all sectors of campus is preeminent.
“The testing data is illustrating the low rate of transmission of COVID-19 on the campus that is likely related to the excellent on-campus implementation of prevention standards including face coverings and reducing COVID-19 transmission risks,” said Reynolds. “In addition, the campus testing is contributing significantly to the collective county-wide data to provide a complete picture of our COVID-19 disease prevalence and test positivity rate.”
Looking Toward In-Person Commencement
Western currently is collaborating with Gunnison County health officials to provide in-person commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 8.
For more information about Western’s response to COVID-19, see our COVID-19 updates and resources.
Author Credit: Chris Rourke
Photo Credit: Loren Fitzpatrick