Pitt State to test all incoming students living in residence halls for COVID-19

PSU is expecting around 600 students to move into residence halls this weekend.

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State is expecting around 600 students to move into residence halls this weekend – ahead of next week’s first day of classes. 

“Rresidence halls are high capacity living areas,” says Timothy Stebbibns, Crawford County Health Officer, “If a COVID infection were to occur in that situation, you could rapidly create an outbreak with a larger number of people.”

The Crawford County Health Department has ordered the school to test all incoming students living in residence halls for COVID-19 this weekend.

The school says results will take about 24 hours.

Students will be allowed to move in, but are encouraged to stay away from others until those results come back. 

“We know that will be the biggest challenge as people arrive for the first time and want to interact,” says Steve Erwin, VP for Student Life at Pittsburg State, “But if they practice social distancing and wear their masks in the process, we don’t think we’ll have a big issue.” 

“Each one of those students has a personal responsibility to themselves, their family, their community and our community in doing the right thing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Students who test positive and those who choose not to get tested must participate in a 14-day structured quarantine, which will be supervised by the school’s health center staff. 

“It couldn’t be conducted in the residence halls, obviously,” Erwin adds, “It would have to be done either at home under strict prescriptive guidance or at a location that we would determine and collaborate with that student upon.”

The health department says these measures, plus social responsibility, are important to make sure the school year proceeds as smoothly as possible.

“We’re excited to have kids back at school. We’re excited to have the college students back at school,” Stebbins finishes, “If we continue to take that personal responsibility we can keep all of those open. If we don’t, and it won’t take much, all of that comes crumbling down.” 

The school has also made other changes to move-in weekend to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The check-in process will be at the performing arts center to allow students to properly social distance, and students are asked to only bring two people to help them move in this weekend.