Rider records increase in positive COVID-19 tests

By Shaun Chornobroff

The most recent update to Rider University’s COVID-19 dashboard recorded the highest amount of single-week positive cases since March 22-28 of 2021.

The dashboard documented nine total cases from Sept. 11-17; six from on-campus students and three from on-campus faculty.

The nearly double-digit cases bring the fall 2021 dashboard’s cumulative count to 13 cases. In the last six weeks of the spring 2021 dashboard, the university recorded a total of 10 cases.

However, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning and Secretary to the Board Debbie Stassola insisted that there is no reason for panic.

“I’m not worried about rising cases right now,” Stassola said. “The reason is that we’ve got our procedures in place. We’re going to have to recognize that now that we’re back for a regular semester, we are going to be dealing with COVID cases, and we’ve got the appropriate procedures in place to try to mitigate spread across campus. But we all have to recognize that we’re going to have positive cases.”

The university saw a positive increase among its vaccinated faculty, with 98% of full-time faculty reportedly being vaccinated and 90% of overall staff being vaccinated, Stassola told The Rider News in an email.

Rider took its surveillance testing into full effect, reporting 176 tests through the weekly surveillance program. While the number may seem staggering, Stassola affirmed that the number will be even higher due to unvaccinated students and faculty required testing every week.

“That will rise because we just got through our first week of testing. So as you can imagine, we had some people who did not show up for testing that we were following up. So that number will continue to rise over the next couple of weeks, particularly as we begin to test our adjunct faculty as well,” Stassola said.

In addition to the surveillance testing, 43 additional tests were administered through the Student Health Center, bringing Rider’s weekly total to 219 tests administered.

Stassola explained that tests administered through the Student Health Center are “students who are symptomatic, where we may suspect that COVID may be the source of the symptoms, and also the student health center is testing students who have been identified as close contacts who require testing.”

Rider’s quarantine numbers continue to remain low, with only a total of three members of the student body being in quarantine, according to the dashboard.

The dashboard stated that the university had eight students and four employees in isolation as of Sept. 17.

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