ECU puts plans in place to ensure student safety

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 8:23 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Heading off to college this year has some added challenges because of COVID-19, but students have their bags packed and they’re ready for class.

Thousands of students are making their way to Greenville this week and there is a chance they could bring more than just their school supplies with them.

Dr. John Silvernail with the Pitt County Health Department said in a press conference Wednesday, “I certainly expect that there will be some clusters and cases among the ECU Students.”

Many back to school traditions like Greek Life rush will look different this year. John Mountz is the Director of Greek Life at ECU and he said, “We’re not going to see the bid day with three or four hundred people to together. Rush groups will be smaller or pushed online. We’re asking all of our organizations when they are thinking about what I’ll call just in general event planning, that they’re following the guidelines from the State of North Carolina.”

While meeting new people is all part of the college experience, these days socializing can’t happen in groups that are larger than 25 people. Therefore, Greenville Police and ECU Police have teamed up to create the Responsible Behavior Initiative.

Chris Sutton is the Captain of the ECU Police Department. He said, “It’s important that Pirates protect Pirates and this initiative is a way for us to help protect our students and for the students to help protect themselves.”

Police will be patrolling common student housing buildings, including apartment buildings, and areas off 5th Street, otherwise known as the grid on the weekends. If they get a call or come up to a gathering of more than 25 people outside, they will explain to them the responsibility they have to each other. If they have to come back a second time, they may face campus sanctions. “If they still choose not to disperse and we have to go back a third time then it’s likely that we’ll have to start issuing citations and charges,” said Sutton.

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