Spotlight on 3 colleges that are controlling COVID

Bryant University in Rhode Island is reporting a 0.0% positivity rate from about 4,500 tests
By: | October 5, 2020
Bryant University President Ross Gittell (left) greets Brandon Fontaine at the Student Organization Fair during opening week on campus.Bryant University President Ross Gittell (left) greets Brandon Fontaine at the Student Organization Fair during opening week on campus.

COVID-19 clusters have made news on campuses this fall, but leaders at some colleges and universities have rallied their communities around safety to keep a lid on the virus.

Bryant University, near Providence, Rhode Island, is reporting a 0.0% positivity rate from about 4,500 tests for the week ending Oct. 1, and a 0.09% positivity rate overall since the semester began.

The university, where 90% of students are on campus, is testing all students, faculty and staff at least once a week through the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

Student-athletes, athletics staff, commuter students and some others are being tested twice a week.


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Bryant’s student life team has been providing a range of outdoor activities to convince students to stay on campus. Classes have been held outdoors while the 435-acre now has just one point of entry.

The university, which has conducted 32,000 tests, is also crediting its close-knit community and a culture of shared purpose that has become stronger during the pandemic.

Colby College in Maine has spent $10 million on its COVID prevent initiative, which includes strict masking requirements and extensive testing, USA Today reported.

Colby has also restricted parties, and students have agreed to be tracked by a cellphone app while spreading out in dorms. Few visitors are allowed on campus, according to US Today. 

Controlling COVID on bigger campuses

It’s not just smaller schools that have been controlling the spread of COVID.

More than 5,700 students completed a staggered, 10-day move-in process at UC San Diego last week

Only 10 students were diagnosed with COVID through intensive testing, leaving the university with a 0.17% positivity rate. Most students received test results within 15 hours.

All students living on campus will be tested twice a month.


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During move-in, students were required to wear masks in their residences, except when alone in their rooms.  Twelve days after the last student moved into an apartment, all the residents will be retested. If all tests are negative, students will no longer have to wear masks or social distance in their residence.

The university has also recruited more than 200 peer educators, called Triton Health Ambassadors, to reinforce the importance of wearing masks and staying six feet apart. Resident advisors have also been trained in best health practices.

Several other large and small campuses that are controlling COVID were recently profiled by The New York Times. 


UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.