With two coronavirus clusters, U of M postpones next phase

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 15, 2020 3:38 PM CT | Published: September 15, 2020 12:13 PM CT

The University of Memphis postponed its plans today to bring more students back for in-person learning starting next Monday.

That news comes as the Shelby County Health Department announced earlier in the day it is investigating two COVID outbreaks at the U of M totaling 36 cases.

“We will continue to monitor available data and consider any adjustments that would increase the density on our campus only after we are sure that the rates of infection are stable or declining,” read an official email from the school. A target date for its next review will be the beginning of October, at the earliest.

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One on-campus coronavirus cluster includes the football team and related staff. The other is a separate group, deputy director of the Health Department David Sweat said.

“Plus, we’ve identified sporadic cases that don’t connect to either of the clusters,” Sweat said. “We will be continuing the investigation over the next several days.”

The second cluster is still under investigation. Sweat said little about it, although he did say it was associated with a group of students who shared activities and were training together.

He also said the second group was not tied to a residence hall.

U of M delays next phase a week; 35% of CBU faculty teaching from home

“That investigation is still gathering data,” Sweat said. “We are still trying to build it out and understand it. I am not prepared to comment on it just yet.

“When we can share more, we will.”

He did not say how many cases each cluster involved or how many were sporadic and unrelated to the two groups.

As of Sept. 9, the university reported having 18 student cases on campus and 38 active faculty and staff cases. According to its website, none of the cases were contracted on campus. Currently, 1,836 students are living on campus.

The university did not immediately respond to questions about the clusters. 


University of Memphis David Sweat coronavirus
Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts

Longtime journalist Jane Roberts is a Minnesotan by birth and a Memphian by choice. She's lived and reported in the city more than two decades. She covers business news and features for The Daily Memphian.


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