UD shifts first-week of classes online due to increased COVID-19 cases, contact-tracing results



The University of Dayton announced Sunday that it’s moving all of its classes during the first week of the fall term (Aug. 24-28) to remote, online learning, based on the COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing that it has conducted over the last three days.

“No undergraduate classes are to meet in person on campus this week,” UD Provost Paul Benson said in an email sent to UD faculty and staff Sunday. “Undergraduate commuter students are to remain off campus during this period.”

UD officials suggested the shift to online and remote learning could extend beyond the first week, and they’ve ramped up testing efforts to help them make that decision.

UD President Eric Spina said in a video to students late Sunday afternoon that in the last few days, “It’s clear that several clusters of the virus have emerged among networks of students based upon activities that occurred a week or so ago that did not comply fully to our safety protocols.”

“We need to take more stringent measures now to prevent the virus from spreading further and threatening our entire semester together,” the UD president said.

Those measures include online classes for “at least the first week of classes,” Spina said. It will also include increased testing: University officials announced Saturday on the school’s web site that it will test up to 1,000 students and campus community members per week starting this week, “which will include surveillance testing targeted at potential hot spots as well as random testing.”

Based on test results and student behavior, university officials will re-assess the virus spread later this week “to determine our next steps for the following week,” the university president said.

UD has moved its campus status level to “Status 3 – Yellow” in conjunction with the move to online courses through the first week of the semester. The action came just three days after the university had moved to Status 2 of the university’s five-tiered response. The highest status, Level 5, would lead to vacating campus, according to the university.

“These are not good signs,” Joel Pruce, an associate professor in UD’s Department of Political Science, said Sunday. And reversing these trends is going to be difficult, Pruce said, since the number of new cases each day is based on events that occurred several days earlier.

“My concern is for the students,” the faculty member said. “My fear is that the more prolonged this experiment becomes, the more people will end up experiencing harm.”

Grace Gibson, a UD junior from Vandalia majoring in human rights studies, called university officials’ moves “a step in the right direction,” although she believes the testing program as outlined this weekend should be expanded even further.

“The testing plan is aggressive, but it could be moreso,” Gibson said. Some students may be tested only once or twice during the semester, but that won’t be sufficient for keeping the virus in check, she said. “Hopefully, this is a start for more aggressive action,” the UD junior said.

Students started moving in Aug. 8 for the current semester. Students who test positive for the coronavirus have returned home to isolate, and those they identified as close contacts are in a 14-day quarantine.

Testing available

The University of Dayton is asking students and staff who have access to a vehicle to use one of the following options for testing 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, only after a telehealth evaluation. Students and staff are encouraged to call ahead to let them know about their symptoms. UD suggested these locations for testing:

  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Centerville, 6071 Far Hills Ave., Washington Square Shopping Plaza south of Whipp Road, near Dorothy Lane Market; 937-208-6887
  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Springboro, 752 N. Main St., next to Dorothy Lane Market; 937-208-6865
  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Englewood, 1130 S. Main St., 937-208-6879
  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Huber Heights, 8290 Old Troy Pike; 937-208-4100
  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Beavercreek, 2484 N. Fairfield Road.; 937-208-8170
  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Troy, 1843 W. Main St.; 937-208-4120
  • Premier Health Urgent Care – Piqua, 280 N. Looney Road.; 937-440-7683
  • During normal University business hours, students may call the health center 937-229-3131 and press 1 for an appointment. Students should not walk in without calling first.

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