Dayton, Ohio – We are seeing the struggle for one of the state’s more prominent universities to conduct, or even begin to have, in-person learning. The University of Dayton announced last night that the school has now reached level 4, the ‘warning phase’ of its five-tiered response, meaning cases of COVID-19 are increasing and classes will remain online.
Just a few weeks ago, students at the University of Dayton were starting to move in, hopeful for a school year with in-person classes. But even before the first day, the school already started to see an increase in cases. So, UD officials decided to make the first week of classes online.
“We really needed to understand the extent of those clusters before we put the students in another kind of setting in classrooms with faculty and staff,” Eric Spina the President of the University of Dayton said.
But in the last week, 148 new cases were reported, meaning UD went to a level four and all classes will continue online for at least another two weeks. At level 5- students would be forced to vacate campus. UD President Eric Spina says he still believes the majority of students are taking precautions seriously.
“UD students enjoy spending time with each other and we suspect with contact tracing and conversations that there were a number of smaller gatherings not socially distanced, not wearing masks,” Spina said. “And until you confront it face to face people don’t realize how hyper-contagious this virus really is.”
For Junior Jess Wenzel, she was looking forward to a new school year. But after being on campus for just one week, she’s already tested positive for COVID-19.
“I decided to get tested because my roommates had had symptoms and they were getting tested as well,” Wenzel said. “And the cases were rising at UD so I wanted to get tested just to know if I had it or not.”
Wenzel says she has no idea how she got the virus. Which is why UD is implementing new safety measures. The University has asked all students to wear masks outside, to not leave campus, and even turned all dining options into grab-and-go. Officials and students believe the community will continue to work together to slow the spread.
“We believe in our students, we really do,” Spina said. “We know they want to be here and we know how much they enjoy each other and the faculty. So we’re all working towards the same goal.”
“They do have the students best interest and they do want the students to stay on campus for as long as possible and to eventually go back to in person classes,” Wenzel said. “But that won’t be possible if we don’t all come together and try to get through this.”