COVID-19 Update for the Texas State University Community
Dr. Emilio Carranco, Texas State University Chief Medical Officer | September 9, 2020
Dear Texas State Community,
As we begin the third week of the fall semester, I want to update you on the COVID-19 situation at Texas State University, and tell you about proactive measures the university is taking to further protect our community.
First, thank you for following the health and safety measures that were implemented to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on our campuses. Compliance has been very good overall.
When we prepared for students to return to campuses for the fall semester, we anticipated COVID-19 case counts would increase and planned accordingly. As of September 8, 2020:
- 71 positive student cases were reported from testing performed at university and non-university sites during the first week of classes
- 84 were reported the second week
- Five faculty and staff positive cases were reported across both weeks
Texas State has created a COVID-19 Dashboard located on the university’s Roadmap webpage that is updated regularly to provide the campus community an overview of positive case counts.
Our contact tracing indicates that the majority of positive cases are the result of exposure to COVID-19 during social gatherings with family or friends and not attributed to contact within the university community. It is important to wear face coverings and practice social distancing any time you are around others who are not part of your household—even extended family members or friends.
Students, faculty, and staff have been reporting positive cases and close contacts using the secure Bobcat Trace web application. This has helped the Student Health Center begin contact tracing quickly to identify others who may have been exposed. Those reporting are provided with instructions on how to safely isolate (if they test positive) or quarantine (if they are a close contact to a positive case).
Contact tracing has identified some students who attended classes before they were aware of being infected, but there is no evidence of transmission due to exposure in the classroom setting.
While we are seeing positive cases scattered across several residence halls, there is no evidence of significant transmission or outbreaks. To further enhance the safety of students in the residence halls and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the university’s Department of Housing and Residential Life will no longer allow residents to have visitors in their rooms. Instead, they can meet with friends in common areas or outdoors where social distancing can be maintained. Face coverings are still required in all indoor spaces and outdoors when not alone.
The university is providing accommodations on empty floors in designated residence halls on the San Marcos Campus for students who need to quarantine, and in university-owned apartments for those who test positive and are required to isolate away from residence halls. As of September 8, 29 students from residence halls are in isolation and 37 are in quarantine in university facilities.
Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, recommended that university students not go home for isolation or quarantine. To comply with this recommendation, more space for isolation and quarantine will be needed on our San Marcos Campus. In consultation with President Trauth and the president’s cabinet, the Department of Housing and Residential Life is identifying additional space in university-owned facilities for students to safely isolate and quarantine. The university will work with some students to relocate to other residence hall rooms or apartments over the next few weeks.
We are taking these additional steps so Texas State can continue to provide the safest environment possible for our students, faculty, and staff. The university will monitor the COVID-19 situation on our campuses and in the surrounding community and make adjustments as needed to protect the health and well-being of our Texas State community.
Dr. Emilio Carranco
Texas State University Chief Medical Officer
Director, Student Health Center