Students come back to school for the Fall 2020 Semester.
Students walk to class in their first week back to campus for the Fall 2020 Semester. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)
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TCU raised the possibility of shifting all classes online as the number of COVID-19 cases more than tripled during the second week of classes.

On Friday, the university reported 447 active cases up from 112 on on Monday.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull emailed students Thursday night, urging them to avoid parties. Cavins-Tull wrote, “our resources (physical and human resources) are finite.” She said the university wouldn’t be able to keep up cases if they continued the sharp spikes seen this week.

With isolation bed capacity at 42%, Cavins-Tull said student behavior must change or the university will be forced to go to fully remote learning.

The University of North Carolina transitioned to fully remote learning after 130 students tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of classes. On-campus cases at TCU rose by 196 this week.

Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana shifted to fully online for two weeks after seeing a spike in cases.

Cases have gone down since the quarantine was imposed and the university has announced that it will begin resuming some in-person learning next week.

University releases new case dashboard

TCU began the week by releasing a new COVID-19 dashboard.

“Our COVID-19 reporting has been updated to provide our community with a more comprehensive view of our COVID-19 response and ability to support a healthy campus,” Cavins-Tull wrote in an email Monday.

The dashboard shows daily, weekly and monthly case numbers as well as the availability of isolation beds and protective equipment.

The dashboard also changed from reporting student cases as either having a “direct or indirect campus impact” to reporting them as “students living on or off campus.”

“There is no standardized reporting for colleges and universities, so after reviewing many other universities’ reporting methods, our Infection Disease Response Team and task force’s needs, it was determined to distinguish between positive cases living on campus and off campus,” TCU spokesperson Holly Ellman said.

The reporting system starkly illustrates the rise in cases this week.

The week has brought 336 new cases, compared to 112 last week, and one day alone had more than 100 students reporting positive tests.

Two sorority chapters are on a 14-day quarantine to help limit the spread within their organizations.

Read more: Two sorority chapters to quarantine for two weeks

Cavins-Tull concluded her message to students on Thursday night by asking them to respect the protocols that keep each other safe.

“Y’all came to campus because you wanted to learn with others,” she wrote. “The only way that we can do that is to commit, as individuals, every day and every night (even on the weekends) to slow the spread in our community.”

Chancellor calls on students to follow protocols

Chancellor Victor Boschini joined the vice chancellor in calling for students to follow the rules and help the university stay on campus.

Boschini posted his message on the COVID-19 information page Friday and stressed the need for students to not gather in groups larger than nine.

“Social distance, wear your mask the right way, wash your hands a lot and most of all, don’t gather in groups of over nine,” he said. “That is our biggest problem right now because it helps spread everything so quickly.”

Boschini added that it is in the best interest of everyone’s mental health if they can stay together on campus, but that this won’t happen if protocols continue to be broken.

“Follow the rules, help us out, stay on campus, stay strong,” he said.