It was supposed to be an answer to boredom after weeks of confinement as the nation came to terms with the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the off-campus luau is believed to have quickly turned into a super spreader event that saw more than 100 students test positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent to students.
The cases spiked again in August as TCU was grappling with how the semester could be carried on as a majority of faculty shifted their courses online.
Kaydianna Davis, a senior news and media studies major, said going to the luau was a lesson in the importance of thinking beyond herself.
Davis hadn’t left Fort Worth since March when classes transitioned to online. But after weeks of being holed up in her townhouse, she was ready to go out with her friends.
Another friend was hosting a luau at a rented home. Looking back, Davis said she never once thought about getting the virus. At the time there were at least 1,500 cases in Tarrant County, but the governor had loosened restrictions and there was no mask order.
Davis said she had no worries that anyone at the party might be positive for the virus.
At the time, much of the nation’s attention had shifted to the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after being restrained by a police officer, she said.
“I wasn’t even thinking about the virus, it never even crossed my mind to worry about getting infected because most of the attention and talk was on the protests,” said Davis.
A week later, everything changed.
“I really just thought I had a common cold,” said Davis. “I was pretty stuffy and had a cough of course but no fever.”
But then she started hearing from people who were at the party who had COVID-19. She and her boyfriend decided to get tested even though their symptoms were mild.
Davis had to be isolated for 14 days. During this time, she said she realized she had not been taking this virus seriously. Davis said she felt responsible for giving it to her boyfriend and she worried about transferring it to her older relatives.
“I was definitely worried about my family – they were supposed to come visit two weeks after,” she said. “I was pretty much cleaning everything down… I was worried about my elderly grandmother being exposed as well.”
These days, Davis said she’s taking multiple vitamins, using hand sanitizer and wearing a mask. She said she’s also extremely cautious with what she does and where she goes.
“I am a little bummed that we have to put these precautions in place,” Davis said. “But I definitely understand them.”