Students fail to report positive COVID-19 cases



Three Greek chapters were placed under a quarantine last week. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)

By Renee Umsted

TCU reported a surge in COVID-19 cases last week, but university officials worry the situation may be worse because some students are failing to report positive test results.

Total active student cases dropped to 415 on Monday from 444 on Friday. However, cases are still climbing, with 11 new cases added between Friday and Monday.

In addition, almost 100 individuals have recovered since Friday.

Students’ failure to share positive test results with TCU became clear early last week, when blanket quarantines were imposed on several Greek chapters.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull said some of the more than 40 case increases from Aug. 23 to Aug. 24 were a result of large, off-campus gatherings.

“If we don’t know that there’s spread here, we don’t know how to control it,” Cavins-Tull said.

The rapid increase in cases has started to exhaust some of TCU’s resources, such as isolation beds. In her email Thursday, Cavins-Tull reported the availability for the beds was 42%. In addition, if cases continue to rise, the university will be forced to move to distance learning.  

“It’s my job to be sure that one, we’re taking care of our students and their health and safety is my first priority, and also we’re accountable to the health department to try to control and maintain health and safety on our campus,” she said.

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), health information can’t be used for purposes not directly related to a person’s care without the patient’s permission.

TCU has asked students to report positive test results using the COVID-19 self-report hotline.

TCU is the latest in a series of universities across the country dealing with a spike in cases as students return to campus and gather in large groups. For example, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, outbreaks emerging from a party hosted by a fraternity contributed to the school’s decision to move to fully online instruction.

After an email from Cavins-Tull saying TCU “literally cannot keep up with the pace of the spread,” Chancellor Victor Boschini asked students to take measures to slow the case increases.

Chancellor Victor Boschini’s message to TCU students.