WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — While other colleges and universities in the state are seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases on campus, Eastern Connecticut State University is only reporting two cases a month into the fall semester, and officials are optimistic.
During a roundtable at Eastern Connecticut State University Thursday, Governor Ned Lamont opened up about what was going on behind the scenes during the pandemic back in March. He described the situation as a ‘fire brigade’.
During the first month of school, ECSU has only reported two cases of COVID-19 among a campus of 5,000 students.
Matt Driscoll, an ECSU student told the governor, “I hate the masks, but I understand the importance of them.”
Students at Eastern said they are adapting to COVID life on campus.
Karina Torres, an ECSU student said, “how we change and adapt to this will better prepare us to be future educators.”
Around campus, 6,500 signs remind students to be safe, and 500 hand sanitizer stations and daily cleaning by CDC standards have kept positive cases of the coronavirus to only a few.
ECSU President Elsa Nunez said, “our first priority is the health and safety of this community.”
Mark Ojakian, The President of the Connecticut State University System was optimistic about the results of the fall semester so far.
“I am very cautiously optimistic as we’ve reopened four regional universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak College and we’ve seen relatively few cases on our campuses.”
This issue is off-campus housing. The State Commissioner of the Department of Public Health says the data shows small social groups are increasingly spreading the virus. Recently, both UConn and Sacred Heart University have seen spikes.
Commissioner Diedre Gifford said, “People who are family or friends and letting their guard down.”
“This has to be a team effort. One slip and we are where we were in March,” reminded student leaders.
Gov. Lamont warned, “Don’t take it for granted. Let us know what other messages…what you are hearing from your friends to make sure we can round the corner this new year.”
President Nunez credits the contact tracing team. They were trained by John Hopkins University. She says they got to students immediately and stopped the spread.