Case Numbers, Positivity Rates Rise on Campus as Classroom Mask Mandate Lifted

UChicago Forward, which is discontinuing weekly email updates, recommended “getting a PCR test and masking vigilantly when in doubt” in addition to staying home when sick.


A Power, Identity, and Resistance class, mask-free, discusses the finer details of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

By Anu Vashist

In an email update sent Friday, April 8, UChicago Forward reported 180 new cases of COVID-19 and 607 close contacts for the period from April 1 to April 7. These data mark an increase in COVID-19 cases from last week, when there were 108 new cases and 176 close contacts from March 25 to March 31. 

UChicago Forward also reported 43 positive cases through surveillance testing conducted from March 31 to April 6. The positivity rate from surveillance testing was 6.56 percent for the same period, making it the highest rate since the January 7 update. 26 students are currently isolating on campus, and 86 off-campus students are in isolation.

The increase in case numbers and positivity rate comes as the University lifted its classroom mask mandate on Monday, April 4. Though masks remain optional in most campus buildings, UChicago Forward recommended “getting a PCR test and masking vigilantly when in doubt” in addition to staying home when sick. “Please remember that we are still in a dynamic COVID-19 environment,” the email read.

The email also suggested that upticks in COVID-19 cases across campus and the city are due to individuals with cold-like symptoms attending work or school. The city of Chicago’s seven-day positivity rate increased to 1.8 percent from 1.5 percent last week.

UChicago Forward announced that it was discontinuing its weekly email updates, instead opting to send two more updates in the remainder of spring quarter unless additional communication is necessary. The next update is scheduled for Friday, May 6, but the University’s COVID-19 dashboard, which will be updated weekly, remains accessible online.