By Sydney Stalnecker
As students, faculty and staff make their way back to Youngstown State University’s campus this semester, COVID-19 lingers out of sight but not out of mind.
According to YSU’s COVID-19 dashboard, 214 cases were reported during the three-week winter break. Of those, 151 were students living off campus, 17 were students living on campus and 46 were employees.
Of the 214 cases, 131 were reported last week, Jan. 2-8.
Last week, 119 students were tested through the asymptomatic voluntary surveillance testing program. Four tests came back positive.
YSU isn’t alone in the rise of cases. According to the New York Times, the state of Ohio is seeing an average of 19,115 new cases per day. Within the last 14 days, there has been a 53% increase in cases.
Provost Brien Smith sent out a campus-wide email over the break to remind students, faculty and staff that the COVID-19 guidelines remain in place throughout the spring semester.
Masks are still required in all campus facilities, and everyone is expected to do a daily health assessment before coming to campus. Anyone who feels ill is recommended to stay home.
YSU offers two methods of COVID-19 testing.
Those actively experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can visit Mercy Health on Wick Avenue for a test. This location is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
Those who are not experiencing symptoms but still wish to get tested can visit rooms 2214 or 2303 in Cushwa Hall where at-home tests are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Instructions for administering the at-home testing kits is available at ysu.edu/coronavirus-information/testing
YSU has not established a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but the university will provide opportunities for students to get vaccinated.
Vaccine and booster clinics will be available on campus in the Ohio Room located in Kilcawley Center on Feb. 3, March 3, March 28 and April 28. YSU offers the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Appointments for the vaccine or booster can be made at ysu-covid.com
“These precautions have kept the YSU campus safe for the past several months, and we remain committed to moving forward with in-person classes,” Smith said.
The COVID-19 dashboard is updated every Monday.
Stay safe, Penguins!