Restrictions in place at North Carolina A&T amid COVID-19 concerns

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — College students are creating COVID-19 fears on campus.

As they enjoy life, their lifestyles have university leaders now concerned about more clusters, which could lead to canceled graduations and other important events.

North Carolina A&T State University administrators have made changes on campus after they learned that students were not following COVID safe protocols at some off-campus events.

On Wednesday, there were a reported 17 active COVID cases on campus.

That’s more than the number of cases at Elon University, UNC-Greensboro, High Point University and Wake Forest University combined.

Administrators sent an email to students on Tuesday, saying they’re reinstating some strict restrictions.

“Basically, they shut down parts of campus. We can’t sit in the [cafeteria] anymore and we can’t sit in the student center and do work and hang out with friends anymore,” freshman Amyah Solomon said.

Effective immediately, Chancellor Harold Martin eliminated in-person dining on campus and eliminated inter-residence hall visitations at North Carolina A&T University.

Students must stick with socializing with people in their dorms, or outside and six feet apart.

Four confirmed COVID clusters were reported on campus since Monday, April 12.

“What we’re seeing with some of the clusters is some of our students have been at parties and large gatherings, not wearing face masks,” said Travis Auman, the emergency management director for the university.

Auman explained that these gatherings happened during Aggie Fest, a spring homecoming celebration for the school.

“We’ve seen a lot of things on Instagram and Twitter,” he said. “We’ve also had word of mouth from our students when they came and got tested.”

The events were not school sanctioned.

“I guess we were partying a little too hard for Aggie Fest,” freshman Arlesia Johnson said.

She told FOX8 she was at some of the gatherings.

“I like to be in the sunlight and stuff, so that’s why I went. It was fun,” Johnson said.

FOX8 crews showed her a video of a recent party in Greensboro.

Johnson wasn’t too concerned with the lack of face coverings.

“When you’re at an event, it’s hard to keep your mask on all the time, but I tried my hardest because COVID is very real,” she said. “It concerns some people, but it doesn’t concern me a lot. That’s their health.”

Johnson is vaccinated, so she feels safe.

Other students, like Solomon, feel that the shot is not enough protection.

“Those who are infected, and they don’t have their mask on, it’s easier to spread. So, it’s a bit concerning,” she said.

Solomon understands why administrators are cracking down, but she hopes COVID will not continue to control their lives.

“I’m basically 100% sure that there’s not going to be any more in-person events because of that, which is understandable because they want to help us stay safe and stuff,” she said. “I’m ready for next semester when things are more normal.”

Other colleges in the Triad who FOX8 crews contacted, do not have additional COVID restrictions in place.

A representative from Winston-Salem State University told FOX8 that they are in the process of launching a new reminder campaign to help combat COVID fatigue.

At North Carolina A&T State University, dining gift cards are being offered and raffles for free parking passes and meal plans are being held, to encourage students to get vaccinated and avoid more cases, which could cancel in-person graduation and prompt more restrictions.

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