UND encouraging students to stay in Grand Forks over Thanksgiving break

UND President Andrew Armacost
UND President Andrew Armacost. Grand Forks Herald photo by Eric Hylden.

UND is encouraging students to stay in Grand Forks this Thanksgiving break, especially if they are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.

“We're encouraging all of our students, actually, to stay here in Grand Forks and to avoid travel,” UND President Andrew Armacost said during a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday night.

The university decided to hold the virtual town hall meetings with faculty, staff, students and parents this week as the school sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases and as the Thanksgiving break approaches, said Meloney Linder, vice president for marketing and communications.

As of Wednesday evening, UND’s dashboard shows 168 active, self-reported cases, including 129 students, six faculty members and 33 staff. There are 385 people in either quarantine or isolation, per the dashboard, and there are 59 in hotel rooms rented by the university.

The university has had around 100 cases or more of COVID-19 since mid-October.


Armacost encouraged parents to make “the smart decisions for the campus, for the community, and most importantly for your families, as you consider getting together for Thanksgiving.”

“Please do the right thing,” he said.

If students do decide to go home for the break, the university is encouraging them to test prior to leaving campus and then again when they return to school. There will be extra testing opportunities during that week for students.

During the meeting, one person asked if the university had a clear picture of the number of COVID cases on campus, based on testing. Since Oct. 20, UND testing events have administered 6,665 tests, includes students, employees, members of the public and UND affiliates. Of that total, about 42% of the tests were on students.

Approximately 10% of the UND student population has tested positive thus far, UND Police Chief Eric Plummer said during the meeting. Plummer is one of the leads on the university's COVID response.

Rosy Dub, director of Student Health Services, said it would be optimal if the university had enough resources to test every student once or twice, but that’s just not the case.

“I think that in a perfect situation, a perfect world, we would definitely test more,” she said.

The university has limited capacity to be able to do even more testing, Dub said, as the state lab has its limits and priorities.


UND is holding testing events every Tuesday and every other Saturday through November. The events are conducted with the assistance of the North Dakota National Guard, as well as state and local health officials.

“I think we have smashed the number of testing events per capita compared to any place else in the state, so we're doing a lot of testing,” Dub said. “We know testing and isolating positive contacts are cornerstones to controlling the virus. If we could do more, we would love to do more.”

The campus, she added, is always looking for more ways to increase its testing, though, including looking into the validity of saliva testing and other ways.

Sydney Mook has been the news editor at the Post Bulletin since June 2023. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook was previously with the Grand Forks Herald from May 2018 to June 2023. She served as the Herald's managing editor, as well as the higher education reporter.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 507-285-7771.
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