Indiana Daily Student

Students express concern about COVID-19 spread in spring semester

<p>IU students Jessica Gutierrez and Ericka Alvarez work at a COVID-19 testing center Aug. 18, 2020, by Memorial Stadium. IU reported 58 positive test results out of 6,745 mitigation tests Jan. 13.</p>

IU students Jessica Gutierrez and Ericka Alvarez work at a COVID-19 testing center Aug. 18, 2020, by Memorial Stadium. IU reported 58 positive test results out of 6,745 mitigation tests Jan. 13.

As the percentage of COVID-19 case numbers rise at IU and students plan to return to campus in February, some students said they have concerns about COVID-19 exposure and spread..

Some of the main concerns students said they had were regarding the spread of COVID-19 while participating in classes, campus events and on-campus social situations.

IU reported 58 positive results out of 6,745 mitigation tests Wednesday, a 0.86% positivity rate.

Related: [UPDATE JAN. 20: IU’s COVID-19 mitigation positivity rate among lowest recorded as students return]

Sophomore Jason Nguyen said he worries about spread in in-person classes, but  trusts his classmates to be safe. He said he is glad for IU’s precautions on campus, such as mitigation testing and the mask mandate.

“It does lessen the stress,” he said. “But it’s still there.”

Sophomore James Gallo said the spread of the coronavirus through in-person classes does not concern him. He said he feels IU is taking the necessary precautions.

“I think they ran the hybrid classes and in-person classes really well,” he said. “Everyone was very distanced, and everything was properly sanitized.”

Gallo said he is worried about the possibility of the coronavirus spreading in social situations. He said he feels some students do not care if they contract COVID-19 and  do not realize the extent of the effect on others.

“People are going to do what they want,” he said. “That’s something that IU specifically can’t prevent.”

Students, like Nguyen and sophomore Taylor Robinson, said they are grateful for IU’s mitigation testing protocols, which will increase this semester.

Gallo said he is concerned about the time testing will take out of students’ schedules this semester, particularly since some students don’t have cars. 

IU plans on testing students living in residence halls and greek houses twice a week. It plans to conduct 50,000 total tests weekly across all IU campuses.

“I understand why they’re doing it, but that’s definitely one of my biggest concerns,” Gallo said. “Even if it takes thirty minutes out of your day, some days I have five classes.”

Senior Imani Kigamwa said she is more worried about contracting COVID-19 this semester. She said the rise in cases and the spread of a new strain has also been concerning.. 

Kigamwa said she felt students would be more relaxed about taking COVID-19 precautions this semester. She said she thinks the disregard is because of the arrival of the new year and how some expected the pandemic to be over by now. 

Robinson said she is worried about the risk of COVID-19 exposure in IU classrooms. She also said she will not be attending campus events because she is concerned about COVID-19 spread.

Robinson opted to take a virtual class instead of an in-person class to decrease her risk. She said she is nervous for other students taking in-person classes, but she thinks most students who attend them will be careful and take precautions.

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