A Student Dies, and a Campus Gets Serious About Coronavirus

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One graduate teaching assistant, Chloe Dorin, called on the university to cancel athletics, shut down the dorms, disband Greek life and return to online instruction, in a letter to university leaders that was posted on Facebook Saturday. “Our lives,” she wrote, “are in your hands.”

In a letter to students, Chancellor Sheri Everts said the school had added an extra pop-up testing event, expanded contact tracing resources and suspended football practice.

“Should we need to, we are ready to pivot to all-remote learning,” Dr. Everts wrote, urging students to wear masks and “hold one another accountable.”

As students absorbed the latest blows from the pandemic, the campus was quiet on Friday, bereft of the usual student crowds shuffling in and out of academic buildings. Signs posted in flower beds and around buildings warned students to wear masks. Most seemed to be complying.

Emma Metzger, a senior and communications major, said the death was “a big wake-up call for a lot of people,” though many students “still only wear masks because they don’t want people to think badly of them in public.”

Ms. Metzger said she had her own Covid scare about two weeks ago when her roommate’s boyfriend learned he had been with infected students. With her parents planning to visit that weekend, she said, she tried to get a rapid test on campus, only to be told she would have to wait four days. The closest CVS pharmacy offering rapid results was in Tennessee, so she called her family physician, who sent her to a health facility 90 minutes away.

She tested negative, she said, but the experience left her impatient with those who shrug off precautions. A friend texted her on Thursday, saying that he had tested positive, she said, “and then literally, two hours later, a girl in our sorority posted a picture, and he was in the picture!”

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