‘Don’t stop now’: ECU officials encourage COVID precautions as case numbers continue to drop

Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University is one of several college campuses across the state reporting declines in COVID-19 cases.

Officials report 30 new cases among students and employees in the past seven days. That’s down from 41 new cases in the week before.

ECU officials say increased testing and better communication about the virus are some factors that are driving COVID numbers lower on campus. But they also say students deserve some credit for the decrease.

“With next year being my last year, I really want to be able to have like the full college experience again,” said Brendan Hill, a junior at ECU.

That’s the goal for Hill and many other ECU students.

“Hopefully by that point, it’ll just be back to the normal school stuff,” said Justin Briggs, a senior at ECU.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Chris Stansbury said students are doing their best to make that happen.

“It’s difficult to not hang out with your friends and enjoy a social setting, but I think just looking at that longer term goal has kind of been key for everybody,” said Stansbury.

Students have noticed more classmates acting responsibly.

“The big gatherings don’t seem to be as big of a deal,” said Hill.

ECU had a 1% COVID positivity rate in the past seven days. State health officials have said anything below 5% is good.

Stansbury said he’s proud of students, but the fight isn’t over yet.

“We’re not quite to the finish line, but we’re getting closer,” he said. “Don’t stop now.”

With progress this semester, students are hopeful things will be back to normal by next semester.

“I just want to be able to have like everybody living on campus again and walking around, seeing people,” said Hill.

University officials said it’s too soon to say what the fall 2021 semester will look like. Those plans will depend on case numbers, Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders and CDC guidelines.

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