• White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator visits campus, applauds Baylor’s efforts

    Dr. Deborah Birx speaks with Baylor students

    “People ask me, ‘What is the “secret sauce” in universities that have opened and stayed open?’ It’s the ones that took the summer to plan, that had transparent communication between their staff, faculty and students. … There’s a level of detail needed for planning that we’ve found in successful universities, and that’s what Baylor has here.”

    That was the message Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, shared Monday after spending the day on Baylor’s campus meeting with local government officials and Baylor leadership, students and faculty. Birx’s visit to Baylor is part of a tour of 15-20 college campuses that have kept students on campus this fall; she says she’s looking to see what universities that have succeeded in staying open have in common that can be shared with other schools nationwide.

    “We went through testing, wastewater testing, surveillance testing, symptomatic testing, targeted testing,” Birx said of the day, “and I think [Baylor] has really put together a plan that brings testing and care for the students together to really meet the needs of both the students and the community.

    “These universities that opened and stayed open are providing the playbook for universities across this country to be able to open in the spring. … What I think Baylor will provide to the nation, which I think is critically important, is what to look for, how to find it, and how to care for those students in community.”

    President Livingstone invited Birx to campus following a conference call a couple of weeks ago that Birx held with university presidents and chancellors. Dr. Livingstone’s invitation noted Baylor’s successful reduction in COVID-19 positives among the campus community; as of this writing, the latest data from Baylor’s coronavirus dashboard shows just 74 active cases among a campus community that includes more than 20,000 students, faculty/staff and contract employees.

    Sic ’em, Dr. Birx, and #SicCOVID!

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