EL PASO, Texas -- As the semester enters its third week, University of Texas El Paso officials tout their mitigation efforts to keep the spread of Covid-19 at bay.
Since the week of Aug. 24 there have been 25 positive virus tests from the university's proactive testing program. Another 16 self-reported cases have been announced in that same time frame.
University officials feel confident continuing the semester with limited campus activity, with most of the student population learning form home.
"We have a really good culture, where everyone wears their mask, they social distance and they wash their hands. Our numbers are significantly lower than the rest of the state because we have taken to heart these good practices," said Greg McNicol, the associate vice president for facility management.
He said UTEP took proactive steps to flatten the curve by looking to identify those students who are asymptomatic.
"We offer free testing, it's on campus and it's open to students faculty and staff. We are highly encouraging to do this testing because we are trying to find the asymptomatic person out there,"McNicol said.
High-traffic facilities like the student union and the library are cleaned up to four times a day, with disinfectants approved by the Centers for Disease Control. The campus has also installed sanitation stations, and students are asked to clean and disinfect after themselves.
Students told ABC-7 that the feeling of being on campus has been different from years past given that there are so few students there. However, the restrictions put in place have helped keep Covid-19 mostly out of UTEP's facilities.
"You wouldn't want to go to a campus where they have a lot of cases. I definitely think that all the restrictions and the guidelines that they have are very effective and it's shown," Celida Sanchez, a UTEP senior, said.
Ultimately, UTEP officials say it is a campus frequented by adults, not children. Officials are optimistic that students will be accountable and responsible with their health this semester, students we spoke to feel the same way.
"One decision can affect so many others, so it's very important to not be selfish in a sitation during a pandemic. If you are partying and doing whatever you want, you're not just risking yourself but also all those students that go to those classrooms" Sanchez said.
To keep track of the virus cases reported on the UTEP campus, you can follow this link.