SVSU launches program aimed at slowing spread of COVID-19

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Students will begin moving into campus residence halls next week at Saginaw Valley State University. That also means there is the increased potential for spreading COVID-19. The university, though is already ahead of the game.

“It’s a very essential feature if you want to contain a pandemic or viral infection on a campus community,” said Judy Ruland, Dean of College of Health and Human Sciences.

Ruland is talking about contact tracing. About 100 students, also knows as NEST ambassadors are involved in the program through Johns Hopkins University.

“A contact tracer will contact that person and ask them to describe as many people as they can think of that they have had close contact with,” Ruland said.

They then will notify those people that they potentially could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

NEST ambassadors have gone through rigorous training regarding confidentiality, ethics and also role modeling.

“What would you do if you’re among a group of students and they’re planning to go out tonight, and you are trying to get them to understand there are safer alternatives than going out and being in a situation where they might not wear masks,” she said.

But the program goes beyond identifying potentially positive cases. NEST ambassadors also help to connect people with resources while they anxiously await test results.

“I think students can be their best selves if we have faith in them and we can work together to get this accomplished.”

SVSU will begin welcoming freshman on campus starting Monday, August 24.

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