BOONE, N.C. — Colleges across the country are getting ready for the fall semester, but many of them are seeing COVID-19 cases before students even set foot on campus.
The New York Times collected data on numerous colleges, including several local schools. It said the virus has been tied to a science building at Western Carolina University, and it has been confirmed on the football team at Clemson University.
At UNC Charlotte, there are five cases tied to the athletic department.
>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.
There were at least 94 cases reported at Appalachian State University in Boone. Channel 9 reported earlier that at least 41 of those cases are tied to construction workers on campus.
There currently is no standardized reporting method for colleges.
One of the things App State is doing to keep students safe is requiring them to wear masks. The school will provide three of them to every student on campus.
The university told Channel 9 on Wednesday that it has spent more than $11 million on COVID-19 related supplies and expenses. More than $1.5 million is for items like the 72,000 face masks for students, 2,200 face shields and 163 no-touch thermometers.
Tens of thousands of masks are in storage, ready for students and faculty when they return. All across campus, we spotted hand-sanitizing stations set up in buildings such as the university bookstore.
Classrooms have also been altered to encourage social distancing, with plastic up around some of the seats limiting the number of students in classrooms.
Channel 9 spoke with a freshman and her mother who arrived on campus Wednesday excited about her going off to college. But they also expressed concerns about the virus.
“I’m pretty excited, but I’m concerned about class sizes and being close in contact with a bunch of people,” Sarah Oakman said.
“We’re very nervous about it, but we need to give it a try and see how things turn out,” her mother, Venice Oakman said. “App has done a good job at putting restrictions in place.”
A total of 47 students have tested positive for the virus, along with six employees. Currently, there are only 23 active cases involving those students and employees.
© 2020 Cox Media Group