Running the numbers of on-campus COVID-19 infections

How SPU’s case numbers compare with neighboring universities

Carlos Snellenberg-Fraser, Staff Writer

Data visualization by Gabrialla Cockerell

So far this quarter, Seattle Pacific University has navigated their COVID-19 response to where the school has some of the lowest case numbers amongst Washington State universities.

According to the universities’ websites for tracking COVID-19 cases on campus, SPU has had 13 cases (0.33% of student population), UW Seattle has had 821 (1.78% of student population), UW Tacoma has had 25 (0.48% of student population), UW Bothell has had 13 (0.22% of student population), Gonzaga University has had 161 (2.17% of student population), and Seattle University has had 55 cases (0.74% of student population).

Jeff Jordan, the Vice Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement, described collaborative efforts as being the most impactful actions in keeping case numbers down on campus.

“One of the things I said very directly was the only way this is going to work is if our students take this seriously, if they care about themselves, they care about others, and they care about this journey through SPU. The reality is that if our students chose to not take this seriously, we would not be successful,” Jordan said.

Jordan said that the ability for students and faculty to collaborate together on these efforts allowed individual students and the community to remain relatively safe.

“The ability to work together collaboratively with our students, with our departments, to address the issues as they would arise, was incredibly significant in regards to keeping our individual students and our community as a whole as safe as possible,” Jordan explained.

Jenna Gillam, a first year student living in Ashton, described her experience being on campus and how she felt the university was able to keep students safe in the midst of a pandemic.

I think the university has overall done a great job of keeping students safe. We’ve only had a total of 9 positive cases for this quarter which I think is a really low number so all of the policies the university has put into place have worked really well,” Gillam said. Since this interview was performed, on-campus cases have gone up to 13.

Gillam went on to describe the various ways that the university has been making efforts to keep students safe in residence halls.

“In my dorm, we must be wearing masks at all times unless we are in our rooms alone with the door shut. This includes wearing masks in the bathroom, except when showering, brushing your teeth, and or washing your face. We are allowed to have only one other guest in our room but we must be wearing masks, stay six feet apart, and leave the door open,” Gillam said.

Zach Nacke, first year student living in Hill, believes that there could be more visible support for RA’s and RLC’s in dorms, in order to make SPU’s campus even safer in the winter quarter.

“Sometimes the RA’s seem stressed out trying to remind people to stay socially distanced and to keep their mask on,” Nacke explained.

“However, I feel like so far the administration has done a pretty good job with promoting safety and the socially distant guidelines and testing,” Nacke said. 

Many students believe that the administration has taken effective steps to keep students safe during the pandemic. 

Jeff Jordan says none of this quarter would have been possible without the efforts of students. 

“I have been very proud of our students and I have been very proud of our community for their way of working together through this… I have been very proud by the way that our students in particular have been thoughtful, been rational, and have really figured out, ‘Hey let’s keep on working as much as we can together.”