By: Sruli Fruchter  | 

Over 100 Students Tested Positive for COVID-19 Last Week

106 students tested positive for COVID-19 last week — broken down to 51 Wilf students and 55 Beren students — according to YU’s COVID-19 Tracker.

On Monday, Dec. 20, the Covid Monitoring Team announced that classes and finals would move online beginning that Wednesday due to concerns about the Omicron variant spreading across New York City. Public spaces on campus, such as the libraries, batei midrash and dining halls, remained open. The team’s email did not mention any restrictions on Wilf Campus’ morning shiurim, which still operated partly in person. The week prior, Dec. 12-17, only 10 students tested positive between both campuses. 

63 of YU’s cases,  23 of which were from Beren Campus and 40 from Wilf Campus,  came from its on-campus testing program, which requires students to test once every week.

This surge is the largest one YU has had since early October, when the university saw 75 cases in one week. Since then,  weekly positive cases have significantly dropped, hovering around 10 each week.

“The rise in cases is unsurprising. With the NYC outbreak right now, it makes sense. It’s a good thing YU went online when it did to prevent an even higher positivity rate,” commented Leora Baitner (SCW ‘24). 

As of publication, YU has not announced these latest figures, which were posted yesterday afternoon, to students. It is unclear how this outbreak will affect campus life over the next two weeks, as reading week begins on Tuesday and finals the week after. As of publication, Associate Dean of Students Joe Bednarsh did not immediately respond to The Commentator’s inquiries on the matter.

While the Covid Monitoring Team stressed the importance of mask-wearing on campus in its Dec. 20 email, the university has still not enforced the mandate, which it has not done throughout the semester.

Akiva Poppers (SSSB ‘22), Wilf president of Sy Syms School of Business Student Council, urged others to be mindful of the current COVID-19 guidelines. “​​It is not fun to be stuck in a room, unable to leave, for over a week,” he said, “so even if you aren’t concerned about catching COVID, please respect others’ concerns of becoming isolated and wear a mask until the present wave subsides.”

Aaron Afrahim (YC ‘24) appreciated YU moving classes online. “I’m happy to be on zoom at the safety of my home and happy that the university was quick to change to asynchronous with the rise of cases on campus and across NYC.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to remove the 4% positivity rate, which was incorrect. In fact, the 4% figure only represents the percentage from on-campus testing and does not include students who tested elsewhere. Additionally, this article originally stated that 72 positive cases were from on-campus testing, but the correct figure was 63.

Photo Caption: 72 of last week’s cases came from YU’s on-campus testing program.

Photo Credit: The Commentator