Coronavirus: Wittenberg resumes in-person classes following spike in cases

Wittenberg University students returned to in-person learning Monday after going to remote learning on Sept. 8 following a rise in coronavirus cases on the campus. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

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Wittenberg University students returned to in-person learning Monday after going to remote learning on Sept. 8 following a rise in coronavirus cases on the campus. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Wittenberg University resumed in-person classes Monday after temporarily moving to remote learning for two weeks following a spike in COVID-19 cases on campus.

“With the positive cases and quarantine numbers decreasing, we are restarting in-person classes as scheduled on Monday after consulting with the CCCHD," said President Michael Frandsen.

Wittenberg has 7 active cases, 2 probable cases, 162 resolved positive cases and 171 total positive cases as of Monday, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

“At the peak over last weekend, there were more than 250 students who were active cases or who were in quarantine because they were close contacts,” Frandsen said.

ExploreRELATED: Coronavirus: Wittenberg temporarily moves to remote learning

The university, especially students, “must do better," Frandsen said.

“The cases we are seeing are traceable to student social gatherings and living environments. In my walks around campus, I see students choosing not to follow what we have clearly outlined in every communication, sign, conversation, policy and activity,” he said.

Casey Gill, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students, also added that the cases to date are “not among faculty or staff, not in classes, not through organized campus activities, and not in the dining hall."

"What this means is that our risk-mitigation strategies are working, but only if you follow them where you live and as you connect with friends,” Gill said.

ExploreRELATED: Coronavirus: Clark County high virus occurence rate attributed to rise in cases at Wittenberg

Although there has been signs of success in handling cases, the university will implement stricter policies.

“We have signs of success in managing the initial wave of cases, but let me reiterate: if we are to be together on campus, we must do better,” Frandsen said. “We are planning stricter enforcement of our policies and procedures.”

Gill said, for example, if someone violates health or safety expectations, they could be at risk of being suspended for the remainder of the semester.

Students, staff, faculty and those on campus are still expected and required to follow safety and health protocols, including washing their hands, wearing a face covering, staying at least six-feet apart, self-monitoring their health, not gathering in groups of 10 or more and doing things safely outside when possible

More than 850 cases of coronavirus were reported in Ohio in the last day, bringing the total to 145,165, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Deaths increased by eight to 4,623.

Clark County had 1,742 total coronavirus cases and 38 deaths as of Monday, according to ODH. Champaign County had 294 total cases and three deaths.

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