FGCU campus. Credit: WINK News.

Expert expects college campuses to become ‘hot spots’ in fall, worried about spread to vulnerable groups

Students at FGCU are planning to be on campus for in-person classes in the Fall. But it won’t be a typical semester.

We spoke to students Thursday about how they feel about heading back to FGCU after there have been students who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus the first half of the year. And we spoke to a health expert about the possibilities once students return in August.

When asked about college campuses in general, Phillip Coule, the vice president and chief medics officer of Augusta University Health System, said, “I think certainly it will become a hot spot.”

Coule is less worried about students becoming sick and more focused on spread after students were to become sick.

“The real risk of that group is not so much that they get it, it’s who they give it to,” Coule said.

That means older faculty and staff and students with underlying conditions.

“There’s a lot of people, including myself that could get the virus,” FGCU student Avalon Gordy said. “I have asthma, so that’s something that’s a concern to me.”

Gordy called going back to FGCU “scary.”

“I don’t really know how safe it’ll actually be,” Gordy said.

“Now, we’re like, ‘OK, this is real; you know, the symptoms are real; our friends are actually getting sick,” FGCU student Shealyn Cunningham said.

“It went from, ‘Oh, I know a person, who knows a person that has [COVID-19]” FGCU student Taylor Bouchard said. “To now it’s like, ‘I know multiple people that have [COVID-19].’ It kind of, I don’t know, put it into perspective and made it, not that it wasn’t real before, but made it a lot more nerve-wracking.”

All of them told me they’ve looked at FGCU’s plan to bring students back. They like the fact masks are going to be required.

“I know that this isn’t just a hoax,” Gordy said. “This is an actual problem.”

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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