BREAKING: The White House Task Force alerts Idaho colleges to switch to online learning due to increase in COVID-19 cases

Boise State sent an email to students on Oct. 9 regarding the White House Task Force suggesting Idaho colleges switch to online learning due to increasing amounts of positive COVID-19 cases. 

“Test positivity in 18 to 24-year-olds is 80.7% in Latah County (University of Idaho), 22.9% in Madison County (Brigham Young University-Idaho), 15.6% in Ada County (Boise State University) and 10.3% in Bannock County (Idaho State University),” according to a report given by the White House. 

This report was given on Oct. 4 and reflects positivity rates for Sept. 17 through Oct. 2.

According to Boise State’s COVID Tracking Dashboard, there have been 53 new positive COVID-19 cases for the week of Oct. 2 through Oct. 8, which is a drop by 44 cases from the previous week. The university suspects that the increase of positive COVID-19 cases during the last week of September is due to Labor Day gatherings and an increase in testing asymptomatic residential students. 

Boise State has seen 402 total positive COVID-19 cases out of a campus population of 14,696. As of Oct. 8, 2.74% of the campus population has tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to switching to online learning, the White House Task Force recommends that Idaho colleges reinforce social distancing and the use of facial coverings, expand COVID-19 testing, increase contact tracing efforts, implement wastewater testing and implement stringent mitigation strategies, according to the Boise State email

At this time, Boise State continues to follow its reintegration plan, which includes transitioning to remote learning after Thanksgiving break. 

“In-person instruction gives students the opportunity to make connections with faculty, staff, and peers that we know are so critical to our students’ academic success and mental health,” wrote Alicia Estey, vice president for Compliance, Legal, Public Health and Audit. “Our contact tracers have not identified any outbreaks tied to classroom exposure. Data supports that the classroom is the safest place for our community because of our university’s widespread compliance with public health measures and our comprehensive institutional approach to campus wellbeing.”

Photo by Mackenzie Hudson

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