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COVID-19 cases on the rise as Baylor wraps up first week of classes

Posted at 8:23 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 21:23:18-04

WACO, TX — This is the first week of classes for Baylor students.

"I look forward to furthering my education. I am here I study hard," said Baylor sophomore Will Layton.

The university welcomed students with some new rules to prevent the spread COVID-19.

"Everybody has their masks on, and my classes we all stay six feet apart from each other," said Baylor Junior Charisma Ulrich.

But the university has had issues with large social gatherings. This weekend, a student who attended an off-campus party tested positive for coronavirus.

"You've already heard that the cases have gone up, people have been partying. I'm worried about them completely not letting anyone on campus," said Layton.

Since students have arrived back on campus, Baylor University has seen a steady increase in coronavirus infections. At the time of publication, there were 219 active cases.

"Anytime you get 14,000 students onto a campus, you're going to anticipate you are going to have some positive cases," said Jason Cook, the Vice President of Baylor University.

Cook says the majority of the new cases have occurred off-campus.

Because Baylor is such a diverse university, the primary focus is educating students on what the rules are at Baylor for coronavirus safety.

"If people do not follow those rules, we do have enforcement means in place for individual students. That could mean suspension or expulsion," said Cook.

He says overall, week one has been a success, but this week they did have to suspend a fraternity from campus for not following the rules.

"I just think that we should all work together and do our best to keep this decreasing and I think it'll be good" said Ulrich.

A lot of people question how many coronavirus infections would it take to shut down the university. Cook says it'll take many factors beyond just what's happening on campus.

The university would have to asses a wide range of data, including availability of local health resources and other economic factors.

Starting next week, Baylor University is going to start "surveillance testing," meaning 5% of students faculty and staff will be randomly selected each week and be required to get tested for coronavirus.

Those selected will receive an email at the beginning of the week with an appointment time for the testing.

The university has incentives in place, from food coupons up to $5,000 dollar tuition scholarships, for people who participate.