The end of the semester is rapidly approaching, and with it, has come a slight increase in positive COVID-19 cases on Samford’s campus and the promise of re-entry testing for the spring semester..
According to The Alabama Political Reporter, the positivity rate of cases in Jefferson County, the county for which Samford is zoned, is currently 3.7% as of Friday afternoon, which is considered “a moderate level of community transmission.”
Since returning from Thanksgiving break, there have been ten reported positive cases of COVID-19 on campus, five of which were reported as students. The other five were reported by employees, according to Samford University’s COVID-19 Dashboard. This number, while still lower than at other periods during the pandemic, is higher than it has been in months.
Ahead of the upcoming Christmas holidays, as well as the anticipated gatherings and related travel, the university is preparing pre-entry testing for the return of students and faculty in January for the spring semester. Samford’s Chief Strategy Officer Colin Coyne provided the Crimson with an update on the university’s plans. .
“The social patterns of the holidays will lead to some level of increased COVID cases,” Coyne said. “We also are tracking the prevalence of flu as a complicating factor. We again will use re-entry testing as a means for staying ahead of the curve, but we will be employing a different, more convenient approach.”
At the start of the spring semester, Step Sing will be in full-swing, something that is different from last year and hasn’t occurred since before the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked about the university’s plans for Step Sing, Coyne said that the university has “set aside a large number of rapid antigen tests” for pre-event testing, a strategy that has been successful in the past.
“Specific to Step Sing, we are keeping all options open to support its success with health and well-being as a critical part of that definition,” Coyne said. “We will develop protocols appropriate to the moment that addresses the close interaction of participants.”
Samford University continues to encourage students and faculty to be cautious in regard to their health and, according to Coyne, will soon be sending a detailed announcement with information on re-entry testing for the spring semester.