UND President Armacost advises students to stay in Grand Forks during Labor Day weekend
Plans are to continue hybrid classes after the holiday.
Despite rumors suggesting otherwise, UND is planning to stay open for hybrid classes following the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
Rumors have been circulating among UND students that the university would move to remote instruction only after Labor Day as COVID-19 cases in Grand Forks and the campus continue to increase.
UND President Andrew Armacost said the rumors are false.
“I heard that rumor, and it's not true,” he said during a virtual student forum held Tuesday, Sept. 1, via Zoom.
Armacost said, while faculty members may decide how they want to offer classes at any time, the campus as a whole isn’t shutting down any time soon.
“We're not at that point where we're going to shut down the campus,” he said.
Resources are holding for the university, he said. UND has about 165 hotel rooms being used for quarantine and isolation cases. Armacost said the university is awaiting the results of a testing event held for the campus community and the public on Tuesday, Sept. 1, to have more of an understanding of how the virus is affecting campus.
“But there are no plans to shut down the campus upon the return from the weekend,” he said.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, there were 239 active cases self-reported to the university. That number has been as high as more than 300 this week. Because the dashboard is a live, running total of active cases, the numbers may go up or down as individuals finish their isolation period, which lasts 10 days.
There were 742 individuals in quarantine or isolation, as of 2 p.m. Tuesday. Those individuals may be isolating or quarantining in their homes or in university-contracted hotel rooms.
The university is emphasizing advice given from White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx that college students should remain at their universities over the Labor Day break.
“She's asking all college students over this three-day weekend to remain on campus, do not go home,” Armacost said, noting that though UND’s positivity rate remains high as 10% to 11%, students should still stay in Grand Forks. “We want to make sure that you don't put your families back home in jeopardy or your communities.”
Birx also recommends that, if college students test positive for the virus, they should isolate themselves in their college town.
“Do not return home if you’re positive and spread the virus to your family, your aunts, your uncles, your grandparents,” she said during a recent news conference.
Grand Forks County has 502 active cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, Sept. 1, including 437 cases between the ages of 15 and 29.
Across the state, there are 2,245 active cases, nearly half of which are also in that age range.
The university also held a forum for faculty and staff last week.
The university announced Monday, Aug. 31, that, as of Monday afternoon, 15 of 20 of its fraternities and sorority chapters had members in isolation or quarantine.
Each of the 15 Greek organizations has had at least one member test positive for COVID-19. When a member of a fraternity or sorority tests positive for the virus, all other members who live in the home are treated as close contacts, thus they are required to quarantine, said UND spokesman David Dodds.