Three more universities — Christopher Newport University (CNU), William & Mary University, and the University of California, Berkeley — are struggling with a spike in coronavirus cases mere weeks after the start of the spring semester.
CNU Students Outraged at VP’s Comment on Largest Spike
The CNU coronavirus dashboard reported that as of Thursday, 131 students and 6 employees had active cases of COVID-19. This is the Virginia university’s largest spike of the school year. Vice president for student affairs Kevin Hughes attributed the rise in cases to students that refuse to follow social distancing guidelines rather than the return to in-person classes.
“What is happening on our campus right now is a stark reminder that individual behavior can have a profound and lasting impact,” Hughes wrote. “When you socialize with little concern, and in some cases reckless disregard, for who it hurts, everybody is impacted.”
The comment outraged students, who immediately posted critical comments on Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook. Alumna Clare Halacy, in particular, has been one of the most vocal critics of the university.
my contribution: pic.twitter.com/7pkfhAfNBD
— clare halacy🦓 (@dontclareenough) February 9, 2021
CNU’s Facebook Page has also been flooded with comments slamming the university’s response to COVID-19.
Neighboring university William & Mary is also grappling with a rise in cases. The school reported on its coronavirus dashboard that it was dealing with 88 student cases and 9 employee cases from the start of the semester to date. According to US News, these numbers already surpass the number of cases that the university faced last semester.
Extended Lockdown, No Outdoor Exercise for UCBerkeley
Meanwhile, UCBerkeley has extended lockdown on around 2,000 students living in residence halls. The administration has also banned outdoor exercises to mitigate the risk of transmission, after more than 500 tested positive since an outbreak in mid-January.
Most of the positive cases are undergraduate students, and a weekly breakdown of cases on their COVID-19 dashboard indicates that around 200 people have tested positive since the start of February.
The initial plan was for students to self-quarantine during the first week of February. However, the timeline has been extended until February 15. US News revealed that this extended lockdown will be more strictly enforced. The university has increased the number of staff and security guards monitoring the residence halls, and students who violate the rules can either be kicked out or suspended.
This is a notable departure from the guidelines issued by the state, as California Governor Gavin Newsom still encourages outdoor exercise, even during strict lockdown periods.