San Diego State moves all classes online for 4 weeks as student cases rise

Posted at 3:22 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 02:46:50-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In response to a rise in coronavirus cases among San Diego State students, the campus said Wednesday it will move all its classes online for the next month.

The school says it has recorded 64 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in students since the start of fall classes on Aug. 24, but that doesn't mean there is an outbreak on campus. Many of the cases have come from students living off-campus. The school says 15 cases out of 7,997 on-campus students have been reported since the start of the semester.

A little more than 100 students are currently quarantined out of an abundance of caution, said Andrea Dooley, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs.

One of the positive cases arrived in San Diego from out of state, according to County Medical Director Dr. Eric McDonald. McDonald said there is one off-campus gathering under investigation as to whether it meets the "outbreak" designation.

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In response to the growing number of students testing positive, SDSU moved all classes online for the next four weeks. The campus had been hosting about 200 classes in-person, many of which were lab classes that were determined to only be possible in person.

Starting Sept. 3, all athletic events have also been paused for two weeks.

"We understand there may be some frustration with this decision ... the shift to the virtual space does not impact our students who are living on campus," said Luke Wood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity. "Any students who wish to move out, are permitted to do so."

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If any undergraduate students choose to move out and decide to return later, they must quarantine for 14 days. Indoor access to the campus' library will also be restricted, but outdoor seating will remain open.

Wood added that the rise in cases among students is expected when people from different backgrounds and locations are coming together.

"SDSU has been proactively prepared for this, really since, the spring and all through the summer with the onset of the pandemic," Wood said.

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When the school becomes aware that a student resident has tested positive or is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, an Assessment and Response Team is used to isolate the sick student and, if needed, close contacts are notified.

Several campus apartments have been designated for isolating students when needed. For those isolated, a hygiene kit and food and meal delivery are provided by SDSU to those isolated students, Wood says.

To address off-campus students testing positive, the school had banned fraternity events and instituted several policies to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Those policies include hiring security to patrol the campus after hours, document violations, and report to staff who handle disciplinary action. Greeters, or wellness ambassadors, are also on campus to remind students of COVID-19 policies.

San Diego State began its fall semester last week.