Bowie State University monitoring COVID-19 outbreak linked to off-campus gatherings
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A disturbing rise in COVID-19 cases is sparking worries across parts of the DMV as Bowie State University is dealing with its own outbreak.
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Bowie University officials tell FOX 5 they have identified 80 positive COVID-19 cases. To get on campus, FOX 5 crews had to have temperature checks and be issued a specific wristband.
As new cases have spread, new policies are going into effect for students and staff on campus.
University President Aminta Breaux ordered enhanced cleaning protocols on campus, the dining halls have moved to takeout only and all social gatherings have been canceled.
Students in on-campus housing can only have visits from other residents and no outside visitors are allowed.
READ MORE: DC Health confirms first four cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant in the District
Bowie State officials say contact tracing points to this outbreak being linked to off-campus weekend gatherings, but that students are taking steps to flatten this curve.
"We’re really proud of how our students have been observing and complying with these COVID-19 protocols by monitoring their symptoms and coming to get tested, and if they test positive, complying with the isolation protocols and testing of any person they've been around," says Bowie State Director of Relations Cassandra Robinson.
Tuesday was listed as a reading day for the university as students prepare for finals. Bowie State officials say they will decide in the next 24 hours if they will proceed with in-person classes or hold virtual instruction.
Students tell FOX 5 they aren't happy about the outbreak, but they feel the university has been quick to respond.
Bowie State University | FOX 5 COLLEGE TOUR
"A lot of people are kind of paranoid at the moment, but I think we’ll get through this even though a lot of people are going home, and I think that’s a great response," one student said.
"I kind of am surprised because we have so many procedures and stuff like that, everyone has to get tested twice a week if you’re not vaccinated and the people who are vaccinated get tested once a month," another student remarked.
"I think it’s a great reminder, you know," said another student. "Some students have been partying and doing a lot of stuff and haven’t been taking it seriously, so it just reminds them."
The Prince George's County Health Department says they are monitoring the outbreak.
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The basketball game between Bowie State and Johnson Smith University will be played on Tuesday night, but due to the outbreak, the university has decided to hold the event without spectators.