Rider positive coronavirus cases increase to a record high

By Austin Ferguson

Rider university has confirmed 25 positive cases of COVID-19 in a nine-day period, 20 of which came from students on campus, the university’s online dashboard reported on March 16.

Rider’s COVID-19 dashboard reported that 18 positive cases were returned between March 8 and March 14, the highest number of confirmed cases in a single week in the spring 2021 semester. All 18 cases came from students, 15 of which were on campus.

The university returned another seven positive cases between March 15 and 16 alone, all of which came from on-campus students.

Rider Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stasolla said that the positive cases have come from both the general student population and student-athletes.

“We had only a few [positive cases] via surveillance testing,” Stasolla said. “We have identified some student-athletes as well because of the interactions student- athletes have had with close contact, often living together, both on and off campus.”

Coupled with the semester-high in positive cases was a semester-high in isolated students, with 22 students isolated due to positive COVID-19 tests on March 16, almost doubling the previous record of 12. Of those students isolating, 15 are doing so on campus, more than doubling the previous on-campus high of six isolated students, according to Rider’s dashboard.

Up to 33 students were in quarantine as of March 12, however that number was lowered to 20 on March 16, with 16 students quarantining off-campus, the online dashboard reported.

While looking further into the positive cases and close contacts, Stasolla said that athletics practices have not been identified as a concern for spread of COVID-19, with interactions outside of practice as a focal point in identifying positive cases and close contacts.

Stasolla also said that Rider was making adjustments with students in order to monitor positive cases and exposures. According to Stasolla, the university has begun to use rapid antigen testing on symptomatic students in order to expedite the process of identifying likely positive cases.

Rider has also started to include a few student-athletes in the surveillance testing process outside of the tests they already take through NCAA protocols and has been monitoring and limiting interactions with student-athletes, according to Stasolla.

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