University Reports 10 New Cases of COVID-19 in Eighth Week; Urges Students Not to Travel During Spring Break

The Provost and the Dean of Students urged members of the University community to avoid traveling outside the Chicago area during the week preceding the start of Spring quarter.


By Hamza Jilani, Deputy News Editor

The University reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 this week, according to an email sent by UChicago Forward to the University community on Friday, March 5. According to the email, one out of the 6,267 surveillance tests conducted since February 24 came back positive as of March 3. 

The University positivity rate for 8th week was 0.02 percent. There are 5 close contacts associated with this week's reported cases. Currently, there are no students in on-campus isolation housing. Seven students are isolating off-campus.

The City of Chicago's 7-day positivity rate decreased from 3.0 percent last week to 2.9 percent, while Illinois's 7-day positivity rate remained at 2.9 percent, with no change since last week.

This week’s UChicago Forward update also referenced a letter sent by Provost Ka Yee C. Lee and Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen on March 5, which urged members of the University community to avoid traveling outside the Chicago area during the week-long break between winter and spring quarters. 

“Travel can increase the risk of infection with COVID-19, especially during high-volume travel periods, and could raise the chances of bringing the virus back to campus or nearby South Side communities,” Provost Lee and Dean Rasmussn wrote.

On-campus housing and dining facilities, as well as University COVID-19 testing programs,will remain open during the break.

The University also provided details about COVID-19 protocol during the upcoming spring quarter. From March 29 through April 2, the first week of Spring quarter, classes in the College and most academic units will be held remotely, and students will be expected to stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19. During this time, Campus Dining will only provide takeout meals.

The email from UChicago Forward announced that registration for the University’s Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program will be available next week. The message also encouraged members of the University community to anonymously report concerns regarding compliance with COVID-19 health guidelines using the UChicago Accident/Incident Reporting (UCAIR) System. UCAIR received 17 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, and has received 798 reports since September 20.

Although the University is in phase 1b of their vaccination rollout, the email from UChicago Forward informed members of the University community that a federal vaccination site will open at the United Center on March 9, where general registration for eligible people under Phase 1b+ will open at 4 p.m. on March 7. The first appointments will be available for people ages 65 and over.