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Colleges ask students to stay put during spring break this year

Spring break is next week for a lot of students. Some schools are ramping up COVID-19 testing and encouraging people to stay home.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's finals week at Portland State University (PSU). In just a couple days, the always anticipated spring break begins. But, this year, many students are spending their break by staying put.

"For spring break I'm going to go outside a lot and enjoy the weather," said PSU senior Gabrielle Allegri.

"I know I'm staying and I'm having my mom come up and visit me, but I think most people are staying actually," said junior Nico Willis.

The university is asking students and staff to stay close to home. PSU's Center for Student Health and Counseling will remain open over the break to offer COVID-19 testing, but the school is not requiring students to get tested.

On the other hand, Oregon State University has required all of its residence hall students be tested and will do so again post-spring break. 

"Our residence hall students will continue to be required to be tested within three days of their returns," said Steve Clark, vice president of university relations.

In recent weeks, Oregon State University ramped up its COVID-19 testing. It's been testing about 3,500 people per week.

And while a recent sampling of wastewater in Corvallis found an increase in the amount of COVID-19 virus in the area, the school said cases on campus are declining.

RELATED: Wastewater sampling shows COVID virus declining in most areas, but not all

"The number of positive cases involving our students on our Corvallis campus have numbered 28 or 29," said Clark. "That's down from 119 in February."

Still, the school is asking students and staff to stay close to home for spring break. And if they travel, students are told to self-isolate for seven days when they return, in addition to taking a COVID-19 test. Because while COVID-19 cases on campus are declining, the risk continues.  

"Continue to wear face coverings, continue physical distancing, observe symptoms," said Clark. "Do not let your guard down."

RELATED: After telling visitors to stay away last spring break, coastal towns are welcoming people this year