ST. LOUIS — Nearly two dozen St. Louis University students tested positive for coronavirus during move-in week, the university said Tuesday.
Students who live on campus were required to be tested before moving into their rooms.
SLU said of the 3,500 students that were tested, 22 students – or 0.63% – tested positive.
This is lower than the 1-2% the school anticipated, President Fred Pestello said on the school’s website. An additional nine students who had recovered from the virus also tested positive.
“These testing results are heartening. It is now imperative that our students actively practice our public health safeguards. A negative test result is merely a snapshot in time. The COVID-19 virus spreads opportunistically from person to person, whenever people let their guard down. We have to be vigilant — each of us, all of the time,” Pestello said.
Students told 5 On Your Side they were grateful the university released the numbers.
"Already within the first week of school we've heard Notre Dame and UNC shutting down campus because of 100-plus students testing positive, so it's nice that that number is low," senior Need Matiwala said. "But I'm also a little skeptical just because a lot of tests might not be recording all the positive cases accurately because the false negative rate can be high."
Testing is optional for students like Matiwala who live off campus, but he said he got tested anyway, and it was negative.
Masks are required on campus, and a 5 On Your Side crew at the school Tuesday didn't see a student without one.
"Everyone's been wearing a mask outside. Even if they're kind of off to the side by themselves, they still have a mask on. So people are doing what they can I would say," junior Casean Tebbe said.
The majority of students who tested positive chose to isolate at home, SLU said.
SLU set aside 150 beds for isolation and quarantine housing. Isolation housing is for students who have symptoms of or tested positive for the virus. Quarantine housing is for those who may have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive case.
“I want to thank our Billikens who have either tested positive or who have been told by our contact tracing team that they need to quarantine due to exposure to someone with COVID-19," Pestello said. "Their diligence and honesty during this stressful time is appreciated and truly makes a difference."