Kent State University students express frustration as COVID-19 exposures rise on campus

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KENT, Ohio (WJW) — Students at Kent State University are expressing frustration with their fellow coeds as the Kent City Health Department recently ordered 138 students into quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure.

“You have all of these socially starved young adults that have been away from each other for around nine months and you put them all together in a place and some of them are just gonna meet up and defy the suggestions from the health department,” said sophomore Ellie Benedict.

According to the university, the order impacts students living at four different residence halls. The university has 279 residence hall rooms set aside for quarantine: those who have come in close contact, and for isolation: those who test positive.

“We feel very comfortable about the quarantine isolation space we have. The availability of staff, the availability of dining services to handle this situation,” said Manfred van Dulmen, the University’s reopening chair.

Some students expressed confidence in how the university is taking care of those in quarantine. 

“They’re dropping food at the door, breakfast lunch and dinner. When one person tests positive, they shut half the floor down. You know, I really think that they’re doing a lot and they’re doing the best that they can,” said freshman Holly Latkovic.

Testing has been increased on campus and in the city, with the state setting up a pop up site at a local middle school on Sunday.

“We have seen an increase in numbers at the university and that’s something that’s obviously concerning to us. So the city and university are working very well together and we have been since the beginning of this,” said Lt. Mike Lewis with the City of Kent Police Department.

Benedict lives at home and only comes to campus one day a week.

While she says most of the student body is cooperating with health precautions, she sees groups on campus that aren’t.

“My mom’s immunocompromised so, like, I’ve been trying my best not to expose myself to stuff and then I see that and it’s a little disheartening coming to campus and fearing for my health and my mom’s health,” she said.

Benedict says partying is still a problem and is concerned about events happening around Halloween.

 “I’ve even been invited to a few, which I’ve had to decline because I just don’t feel safe,” she said. “Even if it’s a small group I just don’t think it’s a good idea to get together in gatherings without masks inside.”

The university also expressed concern and say they are continuing to ask people to not attend gatherings.

They say they are focusing on their Halloween strategy with the city.

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