GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The troubling trend in COVID cases has Colorado Mesa University transitioning to 100% online learning starting next week. This semester, CMU has been very COVID cautious, which has prevented a severe viral outbreak on campus, but the increase in community transmission in Mesa County, as well as the slight increase in positive cases on CMU’s campus, has prompted this shift.
According to the latest update from the university’s dashboard, CMU reported 150 new cases over a two week span, and a positivity rate of 2%. Still, the county’s current COVID surge remains concerning, and with Thanksgiving a few weeks away, CMU’s number one priority is to ensure students return home safely.
Therefore, CMU is shifting to virtual learning next week, which is sooner than the university expected, and before students go home for Thanksgiving, CMU is encouraging students to get a final COVID test, even if they are not showing symptoms. John Marshall, Vice President of CMU, says students should test negative for the virus before they go home, so they do not inadvertently pass the disease onto their families and others, and many students are not against this additional safety measure. Robert Butler, a CMU student, says, “it’s better for others, better for family members, so we’re not transmitting it to others. It’s really just helping out the overall cause.”
In addition, CMU is hoping to have classes in-person once again in January 2021. However, not all students are excited to be welcomed back to campus. Tricia Morlend, a CMU student, says, “I don’t think it’s worth risking people if we can’t get it under control.”
Lastly, CMU officials says they will not kick anyone off campus if they choose to stay while learning online, and if a student does test positive for coronavirus, he or she will have to isolate and quarantine before going home.