College students throughout Texas are ramping up efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay.
Students just returned and already there are positive cases being reported.
In an effort to keep the numbers from rising, student leaders from 20 colleges and universities across Texas have formed the College Health Alliance of Texas. They hope to communicate the importance of public health guidelines, encourage students to do their part and collaborate with health and campus officials
“Our purpose is to help coordinate communications and engagement with students and ensure that our generation complies with public health recommendations to the maximum extent possible. The point is, we hold the key to our collegiate experience, we control our future,” Southern Methodist University Student Body Vice President Austin Hickle, who organized the coalition, said in a press release.
Organizers like Hickle believe that the pandemic is a defining moment of their generation.
Other schools include Baylor, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, the University of Houston, Dallas Baptist University, the University of North Texas, UT, UT-Dallas, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and UT-El Paso, and Trinity University, among others.
“Our collective actions will dictate how this semester works, and it will ultimately come down to our engagement in best health and safety practices,” said Texas Tech University student body vice president Faisal Al-Hummod.
Gov. Greg Abbott posted his praise on Twitter about the alliance last week.
Numerous campuses are reporting cases.
The University of Houston has reported 186 COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff members since March. The school’s case rate is 3.5 per 1,000.
Based on the UT COVID-19 dashboard, the total number of positive cases since March has been 304 among students, and 189 for faculty and staff members.
Since Aug. 1, Rice University has conducted 10,338 tests for the coronavirus, 13 have been positive, the positivity rate is .13 percent.
In early August, Baylor University mailed each student mandatory COVID-19 test kits. Based on the Baylor University COVID-19 dashboard, in the last week, there have been 3,270 tests administered. 408 of those tests came back positive. Twenty one Baylor freshmen are in quarantine on two residence hall floors after testing positive. Since Aug 1, the university has had 645 positive tests out of 21,541.
Last Friday, 17 new cases were announced by Texas State University.