SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Texas State University’s chief medical officer says his team is evaluating the coronavirus pandemic “on at least a weekly basis, and sometimes on a daily basis.”
Dr. Emilio Carranco says so far, the university has reacted to the rising positivity rates accordingly — especially among the young adult population.
The university has had eight working groups of about 120 students, faculty and staff to come up with back-to-school strategies, Carranco says.
The school recently released it’s ‘Roadmap to Return,’ with safety guidelines, like required masks and social distancing.
It also outlines a new class system, with a cap of 50% room capacity for face-to-face classes.
That means for some classes with high enrollment, students would stagger their in-person and online class days, with assigned seats to limit cross-contamination and allow for better contact tracing.
“It keeps me up at night,” says ” David Cardus, parent of two Texas State University students.
While he appreciates the university’s new rules for campus, he thinks it will be hard to control and enforce.
“I just cringe when i think of 35,000 kids together,” Cardus says. “If I don’t even see these protocols being taken seriously around the country in many cases, how do they expect that to happen in universities?”
Especially, he says, with an increasing positivity rate for COVID-19 and more young adults with the virus now than any other age group in the county.
Carrasco says he understands the concern, but is confident in the current safety measures.
“Would there be any point, doctor, where you see yourself making a recommendation to the president and to the cabinet that you guys should move back to fully online courses?” KXAN’s Tahera Rahman asked.
“I will tell you that if the situation worsens, instead of stabilizes and improves, then the university will absolutely make decisions to try to address those kinds of changes. And if it’s necessary for us to go back to online and remote delivery we will do so,” Carranco responded.
But Cardus says they should have already made that decision to slow the spread and reduce the financial impact a late decision would have on Texas State families.
“Next year, should there be some changes and they change course and decide to do 100% remote learning, then I’ve just committed– and I’m not the only one. There are many parents that are going through this,” says Cardus, who lost about $8,000 dollars on leasing two empty student housing units last semester.
He says this time, the university has a chance to be proactive.
“It’s quite concerning because it’s going to be a domino effect if something happens,” Cardus says.