UW Oshkosh positive COVID-19 test rate on campus stagnates near 4%


Carter Uslabar, Editor in Chief

The UW Oshkosh Student Assembly met for the last time in 2020 on Tuesday to discuss upcoming campus events and changes to quarantine requirements on campus.

Throughout the fall semester, UWO’s administrators have tirelessly sent updates, tweaked procedures and followed COVID-19 cases throughout the campus community alongside a weekly testing regimen for on-campus residents.

As a result, UWO’s positive coronavirus test rate has held steady at about 4% after performing roughly 2,250 tests per week.

The campus witnessed a large spike in cases early in September as the students moved into the city and on-campus housing, but since then, the positive tests have tapered off significantly.

“You can’t bring in this many people and not have [a surge in cases],” UWO chancellor Andrew Leavitt told The Advance-Titan in October. But since the university and students’ increased vigilance and adherence to prescribed guidelines has prevented any further spikes.

This is best illustrated by the absence of a significant spike following the Thanksgiving break. Since Nov. 29, on-campus testing at Albee Hall has seen a positive test rate of only 1.4% according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard; lower than the semester’s overall positive test rate.

In response, rules have slowly been relaxed, with students being allowed to dine in Blackhawk Commons as of Oct. 28, the Dec. 4 return of the UWO Go shuttle service and the spring Taste of Oshkosh student involvement fair slated to take place in person, albeit with an altered and socially-distanced format.

Additionally, UWO’s quarantine guidelines have been relaxed slightly in accordance with guidance from the CDC. UWOPD Chief Kurt Liebold said in an email that as of Dec. 7, students not exhibiting symptoms may be released after 10 days of quarantine without testing positive or after seven days without testing positive in the previous 48 hours.

However, Liebold’s email notes it is still crucial to monitor for symptoms for a full 14 days, regardless of whether or not a student is in isolation.