CU Boulder has third most COVID-19 cases in hard-hit PAC-12, joins shut-down trend

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University of Colorado Boulder campus.

BOULDER (KDVR) – The University of Colorado Boulder has the third-highest amount of cumulative COVID-19 cases in the PAC-12. With the caseload spike, it joins many universities and colleges in calling a freeze on the very in-person classes they’d only just opened back up to students.

Last week’s CU Boulder outbreak put hundreds of newly-arrived students into isolation units and prompted university officials to revert to online learning for another two weeks.

Roughly one-fifth of Boulder County’s infections now come from the university. With 757 positive COVID-19 cases, CU Boulder has outranked all its athletic conference rivals in overall infections but two in Arizona.

Virtually no colleges and universities have escaped some kind of altered schedule as a response to widespread on-campus infections, a precaution, or a response to government leaders. Some schools simply cancel homecoming, suspend students for not following social distancing guidelines, or forbid non-students from coming on campus.

Two-week hiatuses are less common than other management measures, but they are by no means uncommon. CU Boulder is far from the only university to put in-class learning on hold amid an outbreak.

Among others, the University of Arizona, the University of Notre Dame, Temple University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Wisconsin each stopped in-person classes for two weeks shortly after schools reopened and experienced rapid virus spreading.

Some made their decisions after very early virus spikes. University of North Carolina and Notre Dame both decided to close just days after opening. University of South Carolina is making closing plans after cases doubled in a day, largely from fraternity and sorority houses.

This has hit PAC-12 schools inland from the coast especially hard. At least three of the schools are implementing some kind of temporary closures, while others have not canceled classes but contributed to record-setting virus infection rates.

Last Friday, the University of Arizona asked students to shelter in place for two weeks after a virus spike brought the Tucson university’s cases up to 2,030 – the highest case number in the PAC-12. The UArizona COVID-19 caseload made up 85% of the Pima County total.  

The University of Utah will stop in-class learning for two weeks as well, though its reasons are slightly different. It will host a vice presidential candidate debate in October.

Washington State University’s cases, though not updated as clearly, have contributed to Pullman, Washington being one of the nation’s areas with the highest infection rates. The Washington National Guard was called in to administer tests.

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