As the long weekend approaches, Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh sent an email to students updating them on COVID-19 efforts and thanking them for their support during the start of classes.

McCulloh thanked students, faculty and families for taking the proper precautions as move-in and the first week of classes started.

“While it has taken some adjustment and trial-and-error, people have clearly taken the need to care for themselves and each other very seriously, and it shows,” McCulloh said in an email. “So let me begin by saying, ‘thank you.’ Thank you for your commitment to health, safety and welfare in the face of this pandemic.”

In a new effort to keep the GU community safe, GU is implementing a new phase of testing.

“We are going to be reaching out to a sample of randomly-selected students each week and ask that they be tested, at no cost to the individual,” McCulloh said. “This approach will help us understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and we ask for your assistance and support in this effort.”

Since the GU School of Law started classes on Aug. 24, McCulloh said there have been four confirmed COVID-19 cases among the student body. One self-isolated on-campus and has since been cleared and the other three people are currently self-isolating off-campus.

COVID-19 tests are available for on- and off-campus students.

“Of the nearly 1,500 tests for which results have thus far been received, one (1) came back positive (and that student is currently isolating), and one (1) was inconclusive and ultimately negative,” McCulloh said.

McCulloh said he appreciated GU students working together to combat this virus by obeying guidelines set forth by the university and local health officials. He asked that students keep these actions up going into the holiday weekend.

“As we move into the Labor Day weekend, I want to again ask for your help in continuing to help us and one another by keeping gatherings small, wearing face coverings, and caring for each other,” McCulloh said.

GU has also added a new webpage on the GU “Zag On 2020” website where an updated list of the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases at GU, since the first case on July 17, can be found.

McCulloh finished by thanking students again.

“It is obvious that we all want this to be the safest and most successful semester we can possibly have,” McCulloh said. “Don’t hesitate to reach out if there is something you need: Be safe, be smart, and remember Zags Help Zags.”

Hannah Hislop is a news editor. Follow her on Twitter: @hannahvhislop.

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