Exit Testing Results
Dear SCU Students,
We write with an important update on an increased COVID-19 positivity rate among our students—and a strong reminder of the need to follow safety protocols to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our campus community.
Of 1,065 people (mostly students) who took advantage of the free exit testing offered on Monday and Tuesday, 33 were positive, or approximately 3%. While we were encouraged at the number of students who turned up for testing— which we know is helping prevent the further spread of COVID-19—this is by far our highest positivity rate since we began testing on campus (with rates typically at less than 1%). This serves as a reminder that COVID-19 can spread easily throughout our community, and that careful attention to health and safety protocols remains critical to contain a wider spread of the virus.
Follow Critical Health Protocols
The students who tested positive have been notified and should be isolating away from roommates or housemates before traveling. Privacy regulations prevent Santa Clara from revealing personal details about the students who are positive, but each has been notified and advised about the proper protocols for isolation. Our tracers are working with students who test positive to ensure all close contacts are notified of their potential exposure.
We cannot stress enough: a negative test only means you are not measurably infected at the moment of the test. Once you engage in activities such as socializing with members outside your household, you are at full risk once again of contracting COVID-19 and passing it on to others, even when you have zero symptoms. We strongly encourage students to quarantine and to socialize only with those in their household until leaving for the holidays.
That is why it is vital that we all recommit to following the protocols to prevent COVID-19 transmission—and to which each student committed as part of the Bronco Pact. The number one factor behind the uptick in transmission is gatherings among non-household members, especially indoors and without face coverings. We know it is hard to restrict your interactions only to those you live with—but we cannot let our guard down. With everyone’s help, we can curb further transmission and reverse this troubling trend, especially as winter approaches.
New, More-Restrictive Purple Tier
Santa Clara University is not alone in this urgent situation. As you know, Santa Clara County, along with the rest of our state and country, has experienced an alarming surge of positive COVID-19 cases, resulting in the county being moved to the most-restrictive “purple” tier for social interaction permitted by state officials (including recently announced curfews). This means many indoor activities previously permitted —dining, limited capacity gyms, worship services or multi-family gatherings— will be greatly restricted to prevent further transmissions.
Every one of you has a vital role to play in helping our community stay safe and prevent the kind of outbreaks that can endanger the health of our community. Failure to prevent or limit these outbreaks will push our plans for a phased and safe reopening of campus further out of view. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community here safe as well as your families and loved ones back home.
COVID-19 Health Ambassador, COVID-19 Operations Team
Sam Florio and Craig Stephens
Testing Team Leads, COVID-19 Operations Team
Tracking and Tracing Team Lead, COVID-19 Operations Team