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Over 1,000 UNR Students And Staff Tested For COVID-19, Nearly 60 Cases Reported

Two women in masks face each other sitting several feet away in a white circle painted in grass.
Isaac Hoops
Nevada Sagebrush
University of Nevada, Reno, on Friday, Aug. 21.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s fall semester has been in session for nearly three weeks. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck reports on how the university is faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There aren’t a lot of students on campus this semester. About 75% of classes are completely online. Out of the roughly 21,000 students enrolled, UNR officials estimate no more than 4% of students are physically on campus at any given time. 

The Medical Director of the Student Health Center, Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, says well over 1,000 students and faculty have been tested on campus. Nearly 60 people have tested positive since the semester started, mostly students.

“It's not terribly surprising with the first few weeks of school that we would see cases,” Hug-English said, “We're a community unto ourselves and we're seeing what we're seeing in our larger Washoe County community, and that is that there are widespread numbers of cases.”

UNR's president issued a recent statement that students who throw or attend parties could face penalties such as suspension or even expulsion. Hug-English says positive cases have been linked to gatherings.

“All of the measures that we're trying to put in place, the tools that we have to fight this virus, with social distancing, facial coverings and hand hygiene, are really difficult for college-age students who haven't seen friends of theirs since last March,” Hug-English said.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they can quarantine off campus at their residence, and if they can’t return home, UNR has a designated residence hall available.

The Student Health Center is conducting COVID-19 tests for students and staff who have symptoms or who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Appointments for COVID-19 testing are required and testing is available daily from 8:30 am to 12:30 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Editor's Note: When this story was published, there were nearly 60 COVID-19 cases reported by the University of Nevada, Reno on its website from August 24 to September 9. As of 3:55 pm on Oct. 2, when this editor's note was published, the UNR website was displaying 94 cases from August 24 to September 9. That is because UNR has since added cases from students and staff that were tested off campus, and it took time for those cases to be reported back to UNR. Learn more here.

As a note of disclosure, the license to this station is owned by the Board of Regents to the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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