UND athletic director Bill Chaves wasn't doing any celebrating when the school announced last week that its mass testing event for COVID-19 -- in which student-athletes were encouraged to attend -- produced just four positives in 1,000 tests.
Until there's a vaccine, Chaves said, the work to keep athletes safe during the pandemic is ongoing.
"I don't get too high or too low based on results," Chaves said. "You have to continue to work at it as you move through it, until we get a vaccine."
Chaves didn't say whether any of the four positives were athletes. UND spokesman David Dodds said the school doesn't receive that level of data from the state regarding the mass testing event.
After shutting down last spring because of the coronavirus concerns, UND athletics started to reopen facilities throughout June. Voluntary summer workouts are now taking place around campus.
In mid-June, UND announced its plan for student-athletes to safely return to campus activities. Under the plan, athletes undergo mandatory training and indicate they understand and will comply with guidelines regarding COVID-19 awareness and safety.
Also according to the plan, athletes will be expected to download the North Dakota Department of Health Care 19 app for contract tracing, fill out a COVID clearinghouse form and undergo daily wellness checks before entering UND athletics training facilities.
"It has gone well," Chaves said. "What we tried to do is control an environment, and I think that's what we did. We're extremely vigilant as to who has facility access. That's something we've done a really good job with. The scheduling is minimized. If you reduce access, and scheduling is minimized, you can increase your cleaning and do the things you've got to do between sessions and days. Ultimately, things have gone well."
The key moving forward, Chaves said, is consistent testing, although it's easier said than done.
The first mass testing event for UND was conducted by the North Dakota Department of Health. Chaves would like to see UND have the capabilities to administer the tests in-house.
"UND has a tremendous desire to want to test and put together its own lab, if you will," Chaves said. "But you're only as good as getting the machine and the test kits. I look at it as this analogy -- you can buy the printer, but if you don't have the toner, I'm not sure the printer does much.
"The university is making efforts to do testing on its campus and ultimately we'd be a subset of that. Right now, the tricky part to some degree, is getting the equipment and the actual testing kits. You can have tremendous desire, but if you don't have the equipment ... safe to say, we would love on a weekly basis if that was part of our protocol."
Once competitions start, timely testing will be even more important in order to control outbreaks, Chaves said.
"In the meantime, we have gone through the education process with all of our student-athletes, just based on CDC guidelines," Chaves said.