YSU has COVID-19 testing, contact tracing plan in place as start of semester approaches

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The university will support any faculty member, staff member or student who wants to be voluntarily tested

Youngstown State University, Ohio

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Monday, Youngstown State trustees got an update before the start of classes. It looks like all systems are go for students to be on campus.

The campus has put various guidelines in place. Among them, students will have to clean their work spaces before and after class.

The university will support any faculty member, staff member or student who wants to be voluntarily tested. It can be done on campus through Mercy Health and test results are usually available within 48 hours.

COVID-19 tests are not mandatory.

“Protocol, overall, for everyone — test as appropriate,” Julie Gentile said. “We’re working with the Mahoning County Health Department and city health district, and their recommendation has been to test symptomatically, not asymptomatically. So that’s what our plan will follow at this time.”

Gentile also mentioned that the City of Youngstown has agreed to hire a specific person who will work with the university to help with contact tracing.

President Jim Tressel talked with Gov. Mike DeWine Saturday, as did the other state schools in Ohio.

“He’s very concerned that it’s going to be ‘an immense transition’ as K-12 goes back, higher education goes back and he just wanted to hear our plans again,” Tressel said. “I think he’s very confident in the variety of plans that we all have.”

YSU anticipates 11,252 students when classes start next Monday. That’s a decline of 622 — 5% — from the previous year.

The university found out in the spring that online education could work, but Provost Brien Smith told trustees the faculty and students wanted to return to campus.

Tressel will give a State of the University address Wednesday morning. He hinted that he wants students to know that it’s not going to be college as usual — that a safe scenario has been created and now the campus has to work together to keep it that way.

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