BISMARCK — Health and higher education officials in North Dakota are encouraging college students to remain on campus during the Labor Day weekend, fearing that if they go home, they could bring COVID-19 with them.

North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott said young people have a higher likelihood of not showing symptoms if they have COVID-19, putting them at risk for unknowingly exposing their family members to the illness.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told North Dakota officials last weekend on her visit to Fargo that keeping college students from traveling during the three-day weekend would help slow the spread of the virus in the state.

North Dakota State University in Fargo has reported 92 student and employee cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks, while the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks has announced that 223 students, faculty and staff self-reported testing positive.

Higher education officials spoke last week about a "troubling" lack of turnout for testing among students. Officials chose not to make COVID-19 testing mandatory for students returning to campus.