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Thousands Of Students Will Live In College Dorms. Can They Avoid An Outbreak? 

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With college dorms reopening around Southern California, campus leaders are taking more stringent measures to avoid COVID-19 outbreaks.

At UCLA, 5,000 students are expected to move into the dorms by the first day of classes on October 1. The university plans to administer COVID-19 tests to all of them; those who test positive will have to isolate for two weeks.

UC Irvine also starts classes on the same day and will require students who move into the dorms to show written proof of a negative COVID test. Administrators say the steps are needed to avoid outbreaks like those plaguing college campuses across the nation.

“We have to have a common goal, hopefully we’re all focused on being here to better our lives,” said UC Irvine senior Dominic Pastorelle, who plans to move into the dorms.

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Cal State campuses are not requiring COVID tests but schools in both systems are banning outside visitors to on-campus housing.

Administrators are urging students to practice social distancing, but seven Cal Poly Pomona students who’d just moved in to different dorms a few weeks ago ignored that advice. They had a Friday night party.

“In all honesty, I was a little disappointed,” said Jestin Kiriu-Dela Cruz, a third-year student who lives in the dorms as a resident advisor.

“But at the same time I feel for them, you know, you want to have that first-year college experience,” he said.

Administrators at Cal Poly Pomona said a COVID-19 outbreak in their dorms has higher consequences. It’s opened a limited number of dorm rooms to students who are homeless, low income, or have poor wifi where they live. If the dorms close because of an outbreak, they’ll have few, if any, options.

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