SDSU To Move All Classes Online After 64 Students Test Positive for COVID-19
Speaker 1: 00:00 Just nine days after bringing nearly 8,000 students back to campus. San Diego state university officials pulled the plug yesterday. The move came as 64 COVID-19 cases were reported and 100 other students went into quarantine KPBS reporter. Matt Hoffman has been covering the campus reopening and joins me now. Hi Matt. Hey Mark. So do we know how the students, the 64 students we're talking about at SDSU contracted the virus? Speaker 2: 00:28 So not exactly. I mean, so we know there's 64 confirmed or probable cases since the semester began. That was last Monday. We know some are related in some art and we know that there's at least one outbreak it's been identified by County health officials. So that's three or more cases. Um, and that's an off campus apartment building. Now it's unclear exactly how many cases they found there. Um, but we know that County health officials are investigating links between other cases and we could see more outbreaks named. So while we don't know exactly like how these cases have been spreading, there have been lots of reports from students and people around the college area of some parties and large gatherings people just in general, not wearing face coverings, not following the rules, uh, mingling with, with other cohorts. Um, and we know that County public health, dr. Eric McDonald, uh, pointing to off campus socializing sort of warning the students about this dramatic increase in cases was just 20. The other day. Now is 64 is a sign of how quickly this virus can spread. You should not be scheduling or attending, Speaker 3: 01:23 Uh, social gatherings that are not essential. And the essential job of a student is to participate fully in education. And most of that is online. Speaker 1: 01:32 Last week on midday, we spoke with union Tribune, reporter Gary Robbins about him seeing many students without masks and mingling on and around campus over the last few weekends, how has the university warning students and enforcing the wearing of masks and social distancing? Speaker 2: 01:48 I mean, just in general, they've been sending out a lot of info to students, whether it's via email, via social media, you know, about the requirements as they've been changing from the state, from the County. Also, if you go on campus, um, for those that have those limited number of classes on campus, um, and keep in mind, we're only talking about like 200 or so in person classes, the university was mainly online and those in person classes are like chemistry 100 and which is typically a sort of a freshmen class there, but a lot, lots of signage on campus. Um, and we know that just recently SDSU now, uh, contracting with private security guards. So some of these elite security guards wearing the red tops, you typically see like at an SDSU sporting event, a basketball game, they're now walking around campus, uh, reminding students, Hey, you know, make sure we have a mask, make sure your social distancing and they can report like violators to the school and they can do everything from, you know, suspending somebody to an extreme cases, uh, expelling them. Uh, they said that I think in a three day timeframe before this, like 64 cases were announced, they issued 40 citations to both students and on campus organizations. And so there's investigations underway following those sort of like administrative violations. Yeah. Speaker 1: 02:55 How is the university responding to this big jump in cases? So I think we're seeing Speaker 2: 03:00 This response right now. I mean, they're putting the pause button, right. They're going for a four week pause. Um, and that applies also to things like athletics. Um, but athletics, you know, they're, they're not doing a four week pause. They're going to do a, just a two week pause that actually goes into effect starting today. And you know, also part of this too, things like the library are closing that which has been opened, which I know talking to students earlier this week is sort of a bummer for them. I mean, they like to go to the library, you know, even if they have to go there, they say to be temperature checked and wear their masks. They'd rather go there as a quiet place to study. So the library is closing down, um, also something to keep in mind, Mark to SDSU officials and County health officials saying as of yet, no hospitalizations have been found among students. Uh, but majority of them have had symptoms. Speaker 1: 03:43 And when you're talking about athletics, we're talking about practices, right. Because they're pushing the football season back. Speaker 2: 03:50 Yeah. So we are talking about practices and so they have to put everything on hold for two weeks. Um, and then they're going to reevaluate and sort of, you know, it's sort of like, where do we go after this sort of four week period? Now SDSU says that they're going to be looking at sort of a number of factors, including, uh, the number of cases that happen, you know, in the next few weeks also looking at the positivity rate and the availability of testing, which SDSU says that they they're in the process of beefing up with the County. Um, there's at least one testing site in a parking lot and it's all free. Um, and the health officials say, look, you know, that this is going to go in the triple digits. Is that 64 right now? But, um, they're just starting to, to trace are starting to test, excuse me, the close contacts of those, uh, 64 cases that have, uh, tested positive. So we're likely to see more cases, right? Speaker 1: 04:33 And you spoke to a few SDSU students about this what'd they have to say, Speaker 2: 04:37 I did speak to some students earlier in the week. And that was when they had 20 cases that have been reported since campus had started. And a lot of students were saying, you know, what did school officials expect? You know, like it's college kids, a lot of them aren't following the rules. Now they're saying there are people that are definitely following the rules, but people sort of pointing to SDSU party reputation is sort of carrying through the pandemic. They say, I'm just walking around, talking to people. There's lots of parties going on, still gatherings going on. And they say that's sort of college it's sort of expected. Speaker 1: 05:07 So finally, what's the university plan going forward? When might they give the green light for some students to come back to campus again? Speaker 2: 05:14 Right. So as of right now, this is just a four week pause. Now this is different from like what Chico state did. Um, uh, last week when they said, Hey, look, we're going to, we're going to put the whole kibosh on our, um, minimal, um, in person classes. Um, now we have SDSU saying, we're going to do a four week pause. So they're not, you know, they're not going out of the in-person class game yet, so to speak. Um, so being streamed to see, like we said, when they look at these, you know, whether it's, they're looking at things like number of cases, the positivity rate and the availability of testing in the coming weeks. Um, it'll be interesting to see, you know, whether the numbers really go way up or if they, um, go up a little bit and start to stabilize. So a lot of unknowns here, Speaker 1: 05:52 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Matt Hoffman. Thanks, Matt. Thanks. Bye. Speaker 2: 05:56 Okay.