The University of Georgia said Tuesday 154 people on campus, comprised of students and faculty, have tested positive for COVID-19. The news comes as both the state of Georgia and the U.S. have experienced a spike in confirmed cases.
Shannon Stevens, an Entertainment and Media Studies senior, found the news frightening, but not surprising.
"I would see frat house lawns filled with people — none wearing masks or social distancing," she said. "I also drove through downtown and saw the same thing."
As the pandemic set in, Stevens decided to study from home with family. Her grandmother and great aunt are both immunocompromised and she worried about their health.
"It will be my last semester at UGA and of course I would love to be there in person, but not at the expense of my loved ones and fellow students," she said. "It’s a scary thought."
UGA has yet to disclose how many of the 154 confirmed cases are staff and how many are students. The number of positive cases jumped by 11 from a day earlier.
"These individuals include students or employees associated with any of our campuses who have been tested by the UHC and those who have been tested elsewhere and reported to UHC," the university said in its press release.
The university moved to online classes for the spring of 2020 amid the pandemic, and has continued online instruction for the summer. The campus remains open to the public. Most staff are working from home to try to curb the spread of the virus. Social distancing measures are in place on campus, but students and faculty are not required to wear masks.
“The University System of Georgia (USG) has directed the University of Georgia, along with all other USG institutions, to strongly encourage — but not require — faculty, staff and students to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the university said.
News of rising number of COVID cases comes as the university plans to reopen in August for the fall semester. A plan released in late May outlined three scenarios for a phased reopening in hopes of returning to in-person instruction.