As colleges begin fall semester classes, the unknown factor is 'to what extent' will the coronavirus impact students, faculty, and staff. Keeping college campuses safe and functioning is 'top of mind'. Having the proper plans and procedures in place will be essential to keep students on campus. As of August 1, Fourteen students and four faculty members at Murray State University have tested positive for COVID-19.
University President Bob Jackson sent out an email sharing with faculty and students the changes made in reporting cases. Prior to Governor Andy Beshear’s request for new reporting measures, MSU was included in the overall count for positive cases in Calloway County.
“Colleges and universities as with other institutions from K-12 education to long-term care facilities, will be required to notify the school community about new cases,” the Beshear Administration. “The KDPH will publish case reports for higher education, just as it does for long-term care reports.”
The current plan doesn’t include listing names, ages or genders of positive cases associated with schools. They'll be tracking COVID-19 cases based on individual universities.
In Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, Beshear said, “Students and parents of those students at universities and the faculty deserve to know overall the number of cases,” Beshear said. The administration has plans to look at positive cases to see if there are groups that could be quarantined as opposed to quarantining entire communities.
On Aug. 18, Beshear announced that Calloway County was considered to be in the "red zone" by the White House for Aug. 8 through Aug 14, meaning there is a 10% or higher positivity rate.
Jackson sent an email reminding students of Beshear’s executive order to NOT participate in non-university sponsored social gatherings on or off campus, parties, events and to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people. There is some concern regarding students not adhering to the guidelines set forth to keep everyone safe. There was no elaboration on the reference.
It's vitally important to have student reminders across college campuses to wear masks, wash hands, and avoid large social gatherings. Several colleges in various states have already shut down after starting in-person classes due to positive coronavirus tests.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 303 reported positive cases, 260 recovered, 35 isolated at home, two hospitalized, and six deaths.