OSU to begin random COVID-19 student testing after spike in cases

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STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) — Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases at Oklahoma State University, the university is launching a new randomized sampling testing program this week.

“We have seen a spike numbers, which was anticipated bringing 20,000 students back,” Doug Hallenbeck, VP of Student Affairs for OSU, said. 

Right now, OSU has 279 active cases of COVID-19, from testing done from August 24th-30th. That’s a 77% increase from the previous testing period, which is why the university launched a new testing program this week. 

“The idea is to do some randomized testing, about 500 a week, to give us a good picture of the health of our campus,” Hallenbeck said. 

Each week, those 500 students, randomly selected, will receive an email from the university saying they’ve been chosen to be tested. 

Hallenbeck said it is voluntary. 

“It’s just recommended. It’s not mandatory but we strongly encourage it because again, it gives us a good picture of the health of the campus,” he said. 

Students on campus who News 4 spoke with are all for it. 

“Probably a good thing, because I’m not trying to have the school shut down,” Hayden Barry said. 

“I don’t see it as a bad thing,” Taysia Rhyman said. 

Hallenbeck said the goal is to protect the students from the virus by increasing their total sample collection. 

“Protecting them is the most important part but also to protect the in person, on campus experience and we find a lot of value in that,” Hallenbeck said. “We feel like that’s an important part of their experience and the life of the institution. We’re all in this together and this is just part of it.”

If you’d like to see the OSU online COVID-19 cases dashboard, click here.

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