Spike in COVID-19 cases prompts SDSU to halt in-person classes

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — San Diego State University has reported 64 student COVID-19 infections since the semester began last week, leading the university Wednesday to immediately move all in-person classes to an online format for the next four weeks.

The university has documented 64 confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases among students since the campus opened for the fall semester on August 28, said Vice President for Student Affairs Luke Wood, during San Diego County’s Wednesday coronavirus update. Most of the sick students live off campus, but many of them had come on campus to get treatment at SDSU clinics. None have required hospitalization.

Most classes at the university are already being taught online, Wood said, but about 200 lab classes and small seminars were being conducted in person. Those classes will now have to move online too, he said.

All students who have moved into campus housing would be able to move out if they so choose, Wood said

“Our students are welcome to stay,” he said. “And students who wish to move out can do so. However, if at any point they return, they will be placed under quarantine for two weeks.”

SDSU has more than 130 spaces for students to safely quarantine. Students can contact the Office of Housing Administration to discuss leaving campus housing.

Sports programs at the university are being run under a different set of guidelines, but all athletic programs will pause for the next two weeks as well, Wood said.

After the four-week period ends, administrators will re-evaluate the situation and decide how to more forward, Wood said.

While the majority of student COVID-10 cases are unrelated cases, a few are related to “off-campus, non-educational” activities, said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s director of epidemiology. Close contacts of all the students, including roommates and family members, have been notified.

“This is expected,” McDonald said of students from many different backgrounds coming together in one place. “We do expect more cases. There have been no hospitalizations yet, but the vast majority have had symptoms. Young people are less likely to suffer symptoms, but this is not the cold or flu. This is a very serious illness.”

McDonald said that university and county officials are not minimizing the danger of the virus spreading on campus. He said he had no doubt that the number of infections would quickly jump to triple digits.

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