Colleges in Mass. Have Had Lower Coronavirus Rates Than Elsewhere in the US

In other parts of the country, COVID-19 has spread on college campuses at a higher rate, while so far, Massachusetts schools have had more success curbing coronavirus cases

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As students have begun returning to campuses and taking classes at colleges and universities across the country, schools in Boston and throughout Massachusetts have seemed to fare better than many in other parts of U.S.

"We have been in a place where we have been following public health guidance," said Kenneth Elmore, associate provost and dean of students for Boston University. "Some other schools are in different states that take a different approach to that, and many of their students may be local students."

In fact, among larger schools with student populations above 30,000, the University of Alabama and University of Georgia have both seen more than 500 positive cases, while BU has had just 28 positive test results.

Elmore says the school's ability to set up testing centers on campus and use its own labs to analyze results has been critical to keeping case numbers low.

"We're able to get those results back relatively fast, within a 24-hour period, and so that helps tremendously in our effort to manage positive cases," said Elmore.

Meanwhile, at schools with enrollment generally between 20-30,000 students, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has had more than 800 positive results, whereas Harvard University and Northeastern University have seen fewer than 10 cases each for the start of the school year.

And in colleges with about 10-15,000 students, Notre Dame has had more than 400 positive tests, while Boston College has had just six positive results.

"We're fortunate to be in a state and in an environment and a city where there's a whole lot of testing," said Elmore. "It's not just about the number, it's about our ability to manage and deal with the positive cases that come in."

Local colleges and universities we heard back from said they believe frequent testing and contact tracing will continue to be key to containing the spread of any positive COVID cases on campus.

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