As COVID-19 cases rise, Princeton University increases coronavirus testing frequency and limits social gatherings

Princeton University will increase the frequency of COVID-19 testing for undergraduate students, cap non-academic gatherings to 20 people, and require face coverings in academic buildings in response to the increase in confirmed positive cases at the school and in the surrounding community. On Nov. 27, the campus COVID-19 risk status was raised to “moderate to high.”

A total of 39 members of the Princeton University community tested positive for COVID-19 for the week of Nov. 20 to 26, according to the university’s COVID dashboard. The test positivity rate was .37 percent.

Undergraduate students returning from Thanksgiving break were required to submit a COVID test as soon as they arrived on campus. Until receiving a negative test, undergraduates must wear face coverings around roommates.

Undergraduate students now will be tested for COVID twice per week regardless of vaccination status. Graduate students who are fully vaccinated will continue to be tested once per week, and those who are not fully vaccinated must get a test twice per week. Athletes participating in group practices and competitions must get a COVID test three times per week.

School officials are also recommending that all students get a COVID-19 booster shot when they become eligible for one six months after second doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two months after receiving the J&J vaccine.

Masks should be worn in classrooms for the rest of the semester. Professors who can maintain six feet or more of distance from students can, at their own discretion, teach without face coverings. All others should remain masked in all classrooms and other educational settings.

Non-academic student gatherings with more than 20 people will be restricted until COVID-19 cases decrease, school officials said.

The campus risk status, which is updated regularly on the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, is based on an analysis of a combination of both campus and local community indicators, including the number of cases, positivity and transmission rates, cluster cases, vaccination, testing, and care capacity.