The most recent update provided by the University included the announcement of seven confirmed cases between Feb. 5 and 11, one confirmed case between Feb. 12 and 18, and two confirmed cases between Feb. 19 and 25. This brings the total number of cumulative confirmed cases to 29 and 26 total cleared cases.
President Scott D. Miller and the Emergency Response Team are hopeful that come August, the stringent policies will be lessened. “That does not mean that we’re going to entirely let the guard down. You can anticipate that masks will be a part of the picture, going into the new academic year, but if everything trends, according to the way the state authorities are sharing with us, we could have the new normal by August,” Miller said. “There will still be safety precautions in place, but it should make college, once again, reasonably enjoyable.”
He also commended the VWU community for following the guidelines and mitigation regulations in these unusual circumstances. “We have done much better than most of the institutions in the state, because true to the Marlin tradition, everybody, you know, knock on wood except for a few, most have been very cooperative and we do thank the student population for that,” Miller said.
According to the Virginia Department of Health as of March 2, Virginia has had over 578,000 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, over 24,000 confirmed and probable hospitalizations, and nearly 9,000 confirmed and probable deaths. Regarding localities near VWU, Virginia Beach has had 30,739 cases of COVID-19 and Norfolk has had 14,970 cases as of March 2.
Other universities in our region are facing this challenge as well. For example, Old Dominion University, which has 24,000 students, had 10 confirmed cases between Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. Norfolk State University, which has 5,000 students, has 58 positive COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 24. As of March 2, Christopher Newport University, which also has 5,000 students, currently has six active student cases with a total of 215 cumulative cases for the month of February. Also, William & Mary, which has 8,000 students, has 17 active cases as of March 1.
Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Operational Management Jason Seward also hopes that individuals continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. “If you feel under the weather, complete the daily health screening and stay home!” Seward said. “Also, please refrain from riding in vehicles with others for an extended period of time. The smallest safety practice can have a lasting impact.”
By Connor Merk