Anger from students at the University of Georgia because they are told that they have to go to class despite the peak in the cases
The University of Georgia is reporting more than 1,400 new cases of coronavirus in the past week as the virus continues to spread in college.
The figures, reported Thursday, put the 39,000 student university close to 2,600 total infections in the past four weeks, according to the school.
The college outbreak is now the fastest growing among Georgia colleges publicly reporting numbers.
President Jere Morehead called the trend “troubling” after saying it was “troubling” last week. He reiterated to the students that it was their responsibility to follow health rules.
“Each of us must make sound decisions in the coming days and weeks so we can change the trajectory, as we’ve seen at other institutions in the state,” Morehead said in a statement.
But students hit back in the university’s student newspaper, The Red & Black, that wrote last week that while the blame should be on students who refuse to distance themselves socially, “the blame should not be entirely on the students.”
Attending a personal class a few times a week is a joke. The thought of Sanford Stadium with a quarter of the typical 92,746 fans is a joke. Takeaway from Bolton Dining Commons is a joke, ” the university wrote in the strongly worded editorial.
Students, some in face masks, walk the campus of the University of Georgia. The university now has the fastest-growing on-campus coronavirus outbreak in the state
The University System of Georgia has decided to start teaching in-person classes this fall, despite the glaring risk it poses to the residents of Athens-Clarke County.
UGA needs to stop pretending to maintain a ‘college experience’ that is simply unattainable during a pandemic.
“Even if bound by the guidelines imposed on them by the USG Board of Regents, the administrators of UGA did not devise a plan strong enough to protect Athens students and residents,” the statement added.
While Georgia College & State University has still recorded a higher proportion of infections among the campus community since August 1, the University of Georgia outbreak is now the fastest growing.
The increase is clearly reflected in the numbers for the wider Athens-Clarke County community, which, according to The Associated Press figures, ranks 23rd in the U.S. counties for the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days.
A rising positivity rate suggests it could get worse, with eight percent of the surveillance tests conducted to monitor the spread of the virus returning positive last week, compared with five percent the week before.
On Tuesday, the university announced it was stepping up its daily surveillance testing efforts, increasing the number from 360 to 450, and inviting randomized groups of students to take a test, prioritizing those in campus accommodations.
Pictured: A student wearing a face mask enters the University of Georgia school bookstore in Athens, holding a sign on the door requesting to wear face masks in the store
Pictured: Signs mark the entrance to the University of Georgia COVID-19 testing site in Athens. On Tuesday, the university announced it is stepping up its daily surveillance testing efforts and increasing the number from 360 to 450
Dr. Garth Russo, executive director of UGA’s University Health Center, hypothesized in a press release last week that since only one faculty member had tested positive, the virus was likely to be spread somewhere other than classrooms.
But not all employees feel reassured by his comments, he said ABC news, with more than 350 faculty members statewide signing a recent petition, organized by the state branch of the American Association of University Professors, calling for the system or individual institutions to move to full online education.
However, every university is mandated to have at least some in-person classes – as mandated by the Board of Regents – and dormitories and eateries that are opened at all schools.
Pictured: University of Georgia students wearing face masks gather to protest at City Hall at ‘Justice for Jacob Blake solidarity with Kenosha’ event in Athens
Freshmen from Georgia College and State University walk the campus. The university has seen 645 positive tests since August 1, which is still the highest rate of campus infections
Other universities in Georgia are also experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. Georgia College & State University has had 645 positive tests since August 1, which is still the highest rate of campus infections – but new cases have slowed.
Meanwhile, cases are still on the rise at Georgia Southern University, which has reported 942 infections in recent weeks, while Georgia Tech has reported 717 cases since the beginning of August.
George Tech is urging students sharing dormitories to move to single rooms.
The growing outbreak in college comes as the number of cases continues to decline across Georgia.
The state now records about 1,800 new confirmed cases every day – more than half of what was recorded at its peak in late July.
While this is still higher than the national average per person for new infections, Georgia has dropped from the worst state for new infections to number 11 since Tuesday.
More than 287,000 infections have been confirmed in the state, which as seen at least 6,128 people die from the virus.
But another positive sign is that the number of people hospitalized with the virus fell below 1,500 on Wednesday, from the peak of 3,200 in July.