University has highest number of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic


Photo by Josh Meredith

David Bower, chair of the COVID-19 task force, speaks before the Board of Trustees Thursday. Bower said the week of Jan. 2, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2022 marked the highest number of university COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Tegan Ruhl and Ian Young

112 students and 15 employees tested positive for COVID-19 between Jan. 2nd and Jan. 8th. David Bower, chair of the COVID-19 task force, said this is the highest number of university positive cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bower presented COVID-19 data to the Board of Trustees Thursday morning in the Griffin Center. “Please get your vaccines,” he said. 

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is in Vanderburgh County. The same week, Vanderburgh County had its highest rates of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic started with a daily average of 503 new cases every day and still rising.

“Spring 2022 will be a challenge without question,” President Ronald Rochon said. “We have a variant that we’re paying attention to, but USI is ready for the challenge.” 

Rochon said the university will try it’s best to keep in-person classes going and avoid shutting down while keeping everyone safe. 

The Spring 2022 Student Involvement Fair was rescheduled from Jan. 18 and Jan. 19 to Feb. 3 because of the high infection rate of COVID-19. The Student Involvement Fair will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 3 on the first floor of University Center East.

Student Government Association had their first General Assembly of the semester on Zoom Thursday. SGA General Assembly will meet at 5 p.m. every Thursday on Zoom until the cases of COVID-19 decrease. 

“Guys, this new variant is no joke,” said Anna Ardelean, president of SGA, at the virtual  meeting Thursday. “Cases are higher than they’ve ever been.”

Brittney Orth, an advisor of SGA, is one of the COVID-19 contract tracers in the Dean of Students Office. She said they were expecting to have a high number of self reports at the start of Spring 2022, but the high volume of COVID-19 self reports they have received surprised her. 

“I don’t say that to scare you all,” Orth said. “We’re still following our safety protocols. We’re still trying to make sure that we keep our students safe.” 

Orth said she encouraged SGA members and students to wear the Center for Disease Control recommended KN95 masks or N95 masks and take any extra steps to protect themselves. 

The university has ordered 25,000 N-95 masks to give to students and staff on campus. They are expected to arrive on campus the week of Jan. 24.