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U. Arizona found asymptomatic COVID-19 cases by testing sewage

Administrators at the University of Arizona last week announced that they successfully identified and isolated students who were infected with COVID-19 but not exhibiting symptoms by testing the wastewater of residence halls. University leaders said their ability to detect the virus prevented a potential outbreak on campus and that this episode lends credibility to the technique, which is not widely used. Researchers at the university have been collecting wastewater samples from sewer lines of university residence halls regularly since students returned to campus earlier this month. “We think this is going to be a very valuable tool to help us get out in front [of outbreaks],” UA President Robert Robbins said in a weekly briefing. Betsy Foresman has the details.

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OSU launches app to help blind students

Ohio State University announced a new service Thursday to assist blind and low-vision students navigate campus more easily by connecting them with remotely located assistants who can read signs and describe visual surroundings. “Using the camera of your smartphone, the agent can read to you any signage that you’re going to encounter and, in these days of COVID-19, signage on campus is going to become pretty important. It’s a big deal,” said Nolan Crabb, a university ADA director. The technology follows similar initiatives at other universities, such as an app for blind students attending Butler University and new accessibility updates to websites and the learning management system used by students at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Betsy has more.

George Washington U. CIO resigns amid layoffs, IT restructuring

The departure of Chief Information Officer Loretta Early comes as dozens of technology staff are being laid off as part of the university's IT consolidation initiative. The university, which serves 27,000 students, employs about 6,000 faculty and staff. The total number of layoffs is expected to be in the "low hundreds," the university said. “With the technology landscape evolving at an exponential rate, the time is now to reassess GW’s objectives and corresponding structure with respect to the technology space,” Mark Diaz, the university’s chief financial officer, told the university's student newspaper. See the details here.

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