GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — It’s the third week of classes at East Carolina University and the look and feel of students on campus and in-person learning are much different compared to last fall’s semester.
Students are still in dorms and taking classes on campus, which is a big difference from the same point in the fall semester. ECU officials say they’re happy with case numbers and encouraged by students’ behavior. But they’ve still got a long way to go.
“I would say they are a lot different than last semester,” said Dr. LaNika Wright, director of Student Health Services.
This time last semester, university officials were already preparing to send students home from campus. But for now, students are still in town for spring classes.
There were 111 new cases among students and employees over the last week. ECU has a total of 356 cases since the start of the year.
“It’s meeting our expectations compared to other universities in the UNC system and what we’re seeing in the community,” said Wright.
Wright said the university’s protocols are working, and students are taking responsibility. ECU Police Captain Chris Sutton is also happy with what they’re seeing off campus.
“It was the first weekend after classes started and we saw a decent amount of large gatherings,” said Sutton. “We didn’t see extraordinary numbers like we had seen early in the fall semester.”
Sutton said he understands students want the full college experience, but he needs their cooperation.
“They’re being asked to do something that’s completely against their nature and everything that’s a part of the college experience,” he said. “They have to be helpful in this to be able to run this virus out of town.”
University officials say their goal is to keep students on campus the full semester. However, they need students to continue wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings to make that happen.