141 ISU students test positive for COVID-19, while ‘801 Day’ parties spark concerns

By: - August 17, 2020 1:37 pm

The campanile is a symbol of Iowa State University and is located on central campus. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

As classes resume on Iowa State University’s campus on Monday, about 2% of the students who moved into residence halls over the weekend tested positive for COVID-19, according to the university.

Between July 31 through Aug. 13, 141 students tested positive. A total of 6,509 tests were administered, and the overall positivity rate was 2.2%, according to the university.

The PCR tests administered through Iowa State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory can provide test results within 24 hours, according to ISU. Because of the high sensitivity of the PCR tests, positive results are reviewed to ensure their accuracy.

Students with positive results are required to isolate and are temporarily living in Linden Hall where they can attend online classes.

“We understand that receiving news that you need to isolate or quarantine is stressful for our students and families, especially when this impacts participation in campus events and classes,” said Erin Baldwin, interim senior vice president of student affairs. “We have built systems to support our students during this time period and will provide flexibility while they navigate coursework virtually.”

News of the test results follows social-media criticism tied to photos and videos of alleged parties in Ames  prior to the start of the fall semester.

Snapchat images that circulated over the weekend show full bars and packed outdoor house parties as students participated in the Iowa State tradition of “801 Day,” where students start drinking at 8:01 a.m. the Saturday prior to the start of class.


On Saturday, an alert was sent out to students warning them to wear face masks and practice social distancing.



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