COVID-19 cases rise with one month left of semester

According to the past several updates from the Emergency Response Team, there has been a steady increase of COVID-19 cases. There were three confirmed cases between March 12 and March 18, eight confirmed cases between March 19 and 26 and seven confirmed cases between March 26 and April 1. This brings the total number of cumulative confirmed cases to 52 and 43 total cleared cases thus far in the spring semester as of April 2. 

The VWU Emergency Response Team also mentioned that they will continue to restrict social gatherings on and off campus after Governor Northam increased the limited capacity for them. “We know our campus community is tired, and rightfully so, but we aren’t out of the woods yet and must continue to keep one another safe,” the email on April 2 stated. 

President Miller’s April 2021 issue of his monthly newsletter titled “A Spring of Optimism and Impatience” expressed the announcement that students, faculty and staff should plan on returning to fully in-person learning for the fall semester. 

“We are optimistic that the availability and prevalence of vaccines will greatly increase throughout Virginia and the nation by the summer and are impatient for the return of normalcy come fall,” Miller said. 

According to the Virginia Department of Health, as of April 6, Virginia has had over 627,000 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, over 26,000 confirmed and probable hospitalizations, and nearly 10,000 confirmed and probable deaths. Regarding localities near VWU, Virginia Beach has had 33,615 cases of COVID-19 and Norfolk has had 16,406 cases as of April 6.

Other universities in our region are facing this challenge as well. For example, Old Dominion University, which has 24,000 students, had 30 confirmed cases between March 26 and April 2. Norfolk State University, which has 5,000 students, has 65 positive COVID-19 cases as of March 31. As of April 6, Christopher Newport University, which also has 5,000 students, currently has five active student cases with a total of 282 cumulative cases in 2021. Also, William & Mary, which has 8,000 students, has 43 active cases as of April 6.

By Connor Merk