PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) — Around 20 people are in self-quarantine after three Shawnee State University students showed signs of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Students got a text alert from the university on the evening of Monday, March 9, 2020, saying three students may have been exposed to the coronavirus. By Tuesday morning, some students could be seen wearing surgical masks around campus.
Health officials say the students returned from an international trip they took while on Spring Break last week. Health officials add that of the three students showing symptoms of the coronavirus, only one was tested.
“This is not a case of coronavirus, it’s a possible case of coronavirus,” said Dr. David Byers, M.D., the Medical Director for the Portsmouth City Health Department. Byers says the decision to test for the virus is up to the health care provider. The student who was tested for coronavirus went to a clinic on campus, the other two, Byers says, went outside of the community. Byers anticipates test results by Friday, March 13, 2020. “If the testing comes back negative, the quarantine would be lifted.”
“The most important thing we can get out to the community is that if someone is worried that they have an illness to contact their provider or the health department for additional guidance,” Byers said.
Students, on the other hand, had mixed reactions. One said she was nervous about attending classes while another one said he wouldn’t be missing class. “[My mom] told me to wash my hands and be safe,” said Spencer Spruch, a freshman at Shawnee. “I’m a bit worried, but I’m a bit of an apathetic person, so, whatever.”
Eyes are now on the university and the test results to calculate the next move. As of the afternoon of Tuesday, March 10, 2020, university officials said no decision had yet been made on whether to cancel all in-class instruction in favor of online instruction. However, officials say they are already moving more classes to the online format for the time being.