AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Texas at Austin officials say 1,198 students took a COVID-19 test in order to get a football ticket before Saturday’s season opener. Those tests resulted in 1,103 testing negative and 95 testing positive.
UT’s current confirmed positive case rate for students and staff sits at 814. This number includes the additional 109 cases the university recently lumped in from students who didn't immediately report their results or took tests off-campus.
UT has been seeing cases pop up on and off-campus. In an announcement earlier this week, UT pinpointed three clusters in the West Campus area totaling up to 100 cases. West Campus is home to many off-campus housing options for students along with sorority and fraternity houses.
“I expected it to a certain degree,” said Nolan Pitts, a senior at UT who lives in West Campus. He said he wasn't surprised when he got the update from the university saying they were currently conducting contact tracing to find additional exposure in the area.
“Some people aren't taking it as seriously as others. It's disappointing, but you kind of know what's going to happen,” he said.
Some students say its harder for the university to monitor off-campus activity.
“Kids on West Campus, a lot of them have been responsible, wearing masks and social distancing because they know this is a serious thing. Obviously, it's a pandemic. I don't know what UT could be doing more, because it's not their jurisdiction is off-campus, but really pushing, I guess, safety guidelines,” said student Vojsaba Ramaj.
As UT was tackling the clusters, the university also hosted its first football game of the season and only required student fans to get tested. Students say UT should have had all fans tested or opted out of football altogether.
“They should be taking care of the students and the faculty. And those people are going to spread it around campus. Yeah, I'm really disappointed in school for having [the game],” said Ramaj.
Students hope people will start to take these numbers more seriously.
“I know if we actually all put in the work, you would, you know, the virus would slowly go away and we might be able to get back to normal sooner rather than later,” said Pitt.
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