COVID-19 cases rise in spots as students return to college, parties
Students at most Michigan public universities began classes this week, and even though schools have spent months preparing for a safe return amid the pandemic, what's happening off campus is causing heightened concern. The parties were inevitable, some say. They started happening at schools where students returned to campuses earlier than most, such as the University of South Carolina, which began Aug. 20 and now has more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19. All but nine positive cases are students. In Michigan, Central Michigan University now has 260 cases traced to the Aug. 17 return of students, including people living in and around the community, according to the Central Michigan District Health Department that serves six mid-Michigan counties. At Adrian College, the number of cases reached 152, which includes 138 cases that are active, the Lenawee County Health Department reported Thursday. At Wayne State University, President M. Roy Wilson sent a letter to students, asking them to behave. Dr. Teena Chopra, an infectious disease professor at Wayne State, said getting the younger generation to embrace safe behaviors is tough. "We can control what students do on campus," she said. "But when they are off campus, we cannot control that. These social gatherings are very good examples of how we are spreading the virus, and how the transmission can happen. Right now, students tend to gather outside, which is less risky. But once the weather changes and it's too cold to be outside all the time, Chopra doesn't expect schools to be able to continue in-person instruction. "We are going to be in a different situation," she said. "I don’t think the schools and colleges in the midst of winter will be able to remain open very long. It is impossible for younger kids to comply with 100% masking, and not be within 6 feet of one another."
September 4, 2020