COVID-19 at Virginia Colleges and Universities: What Do the Numbers Say?


As many colleges and universities in Virginia continue on with in-person instruction for the 2020 fall semester during the coronavirus pandemic, the schools’ COVID-19 dashboards offer insights into how the pandemic is affecting those institutions.

Since the global pandemic hit the United States back in March, more and more schools have created online COVID dashboards that present a plethora of data on total tests, case counts, positivity percentage and 7-day moving averages for positive tests.

In Virginia, most of the larger and well-known schools have been using COVID dashboards since July or August, or when students first arrived to campus.

Virginia Tech, University of Virginia (UVA), James Madison University (JMU), Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University are among some of the colleges to have their own unique dashboards, which the schools operate and update.

Now that most colleges are almost a month and a half into the semester, those dashboards reveal a glimpse of how the virus has impacted different schools thus far.

Take UVA for example. As of Friday, UVA has reported 840 total cases since August 17, according to the UVA COVID-19 dashboard.

In comparison, Virginia Tech has reported 1,067 cases since August 3, while JMU – who temporarily sent students home and switched to online classes after a rise in positive cases and not enough quarantine/isolation rooms available for students – has reported 1,464 cases since July 1, according to the school’s COVID dashboards.

Overall, the number of cases on college campuses in the Commonwealth has reached 5,300, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

What separates UVA from the rest, however, is the fact that they are the only Virginia college that reports hospitalizations.

Since August 17, UVA has reported 23 total hospitalizations, as of Thursday, with three of those occurring on Wednesday. As of October 1, the 7-day moving average for hospitalizations is 1.43, according to the UVA dashboard.

It is important to note that UVA does not distinguish between faculty, staff, students or contracted workers for their hospitalization data.

The Virginia Star reached out to Dr. Lilian Peake, state epidemiologist for the Virginia Department of Health, for comment on this story, but did not immediately hear back.

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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]










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