Only three new positive tests among students as of March 18


Mason’s positive cases of COVID-19 remain low as President Gregory Washington informed the community of new plans for some sort of in-person commencement celebration for spring graduates. No further specific details have been announced.

The announcement comes following preliminary guidelines from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. 

The governor’s office announced on March 17 the possibility of in-person graduation and commencement for K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, following specific outdoor and indoor capacity instructions. 

“After reviewing this new information, we are pleased to share that we will be able to expand on our plans for a virtual commencement by offering some in-person celebrations for our students and their families,” Washington wrote in the university-wide email sent on March 19. 

He continued, “We ask for your patience as we consider our options and expect to have more information for you in the next two weeks.”

According to Mason’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of March 18, three new individuals tested positive — out of a total of 3,369 students. These three new cases bring the total number of positive student tests within the past 14 days to 13. 

Daily positive employee tests remain at three or fewer since the start of the spring semester in January. Zero employees tested positive on March 18, and only three employee positives are currently active.

Comparatively, Fairfax County had 194 new cases of the coronavirus on March 20. 

Of the last three weeks, the largest spike in COVID-19 numbers came on Feb. 24, when 13 students tested positive. 

A total of eight students are currently in on-campus quarantine or isolation housing — which has an allotted capacity of 141 individuals — meaning that this housing is at 5.7 percent capacity.