Janurary 22, 2021

Campus Update from President Bresciani

NDSU Community,

A few items of note for this week:    

1. Masks. In November, Governor Burgum issued an executive order with a statewide mask mandate, but it expired on January 18. Please know that this does not change NDSU’s face covering guidelines. Our guidelines were put into place prior to the start of the fall semester, and before both the state mandate and the City of Fargo’s mandate. We believe that these guidelines helped to keep NDSU’s active cases and positivity rate relatively low throughout the fall semester. At this time, we continue to feel that the mask mandate will be beneficial for our students and employees. 

However, vaccines are being delivered, which should change our position at some point. As North Dakota’s active cases drop and the number of vaccinations increases, we will revisit this issue, and our decision will be guided by the advice of our public health experts.   

2. Vaccination Information. Under North Dakota’s vaccination distribution priorities, all teachers and employees of K-12 institutions are included under Phase 1B, but not higher education personnel.  Both the NDUS and NDSU are attempting to get the priorities modified to include higher education staff and faculty. I will keep you posted if we are successful in that effort. 

3. Testing Results. Although the total number of tests administered during our last few mass testing events was lower than normal, this was not unexpected because of the mid-year break. However, there were very few positive tests which was extremely good news:

COVID tests

Date

Number of Tests

Number of Positives

Positivity

12/31

222

3

1.4%

1/7

344

1

.3%

1/14

373

4

1.1%

Type of COVID test

Date

Number of Tests

Number of Positives

Number of No Result / Inconclusive

Positivity excluding No Result / Inconclusive

1/21

PCR

 

 

 

 

21

TBD

 

TBD

 

BinaxNOW

 

 

 

 

494

2

7

.4%

 

4. Weekly Testing.  Our regular asymptomatic mass testing events will now be adding the use of BinaxNOW. There are a few significant advantages to this method of testing. First, the swabbing process is not nearly as invasive and uncomfortable. Secondly, this is a rapid test meaning that the results are available in approximately 15-30 minutes, and you do not need to wait at the site for your results. They will be sent to you via text message. While not as sensitive as the PCR test (the method that was conducted all last semester and which is still available for certain circumstances), the speed and increased ease of the BinaxNOW test are highly beneficial.

The testing events will continue to be at the SHAC on Thursdays, and you should enter using the south doors. The dates and times are as follows:

January 21: 1-5 pm

January 28: 1-5 pm

February 4: 1-5 pm

February 11: 1-5 pm

February 18: 1-5 pm

February 25: 1-5 pm

For students only, in addition to the Thursday asymptomatic testing at the SHAC, asymptomatic testing is also available at the Student Health Service on Tuesdays from 8:30am - 4:30pm. No appointment is needed and students can walk-in.

We would like every employee to get tested at least every other week. However, if you are working in an area with significant exposure to others, it would be better to get tested every week. As always, being tested at these events should be considered work time, and I’m asking supervisors to be flexible to allow for employee testing.

Some final points about testing:

• Testing is free.

• You can preregister here. However, if you have already registered for a prior testing event, you do not have to re-register. 

• It is not limited to people living on campus. All students, including off-campus students, are encouraged to participate.

• You do not have to have symptoms in order to get this testing. In fact, this testing is only for individuals who are asymptomatic. If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact Student Health Service or your local health care facility to determine next steps.

Dean L. Bresciani, President

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