ECU returns for spring semester as COVID-19 concerns loom
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - East Carolina University students returned to campus for the first day of the spring semester Monday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the East, statewide, and nationwide.
The college with more than 28,000 students had to be cautious about the delta variant in the fall. Now they have to worry about the omicron variant, which scientists say is nearly three times more transmissible than delta.
ECU junior Makayla Layne says the return to campus has been a little rough.
“I know there’s some people in my building that have it. It’s spreading pretty quick. It’s kind of scary,” Layne said.
In the past seven days, 83 students and nearly 100 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. It is a number that concerns Layne.
“ECU was prepared with it, but not as much as they should’ve been... in my opinion with the testing.”
Meanwhile, Virginia Hardy, ECU student affairs vice chancellor says testing is a responsibility that falls on students and that the university has provided locations on campus for them to do so as they return to campus.
While schools like Elizabeth City State University decided to delay classes until Jan. 18th, ECU made the call to proceed as planned.
“What the trend is telling us and what we’re seeing across the world is that it’s a high peak and then it plateaus and then it comes down relatively quickly,” Hardy said.
Another duty students must follow is wearing masks in the classroom to try and limit the spread of the virus. It is a duty that Layne hopes everyone participates in.
“I know a lot of people hate them, but it’s going to help,” Layne said.
Dr. Paul Cook, ECU infectious diseases chief, predicts the omicron variant surge could peak sometime in late January or early February.
Saliva testing will be available starting on Jan. 18th in the main campus student center for all students. No appointments are needed.
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