SAN MARCOS, Texas - Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on Texas State University to hold classes online in the two week period following spring break.
The petition's founder, senior Khan Le says the 14 days would serve as an incubation period for novel coronavirus.
“During spring break people travel everywhere, you know? They go to Florida, California — they’ll travel out of country,” he explained.
Texas State University spokesperson Jayme Blaschke tells FOX 7 Austin that Spring and Summer study-abroad programs are canceled. Currently, nine Texas State students and one teacher are self-quarantining following study abroad experiences. University-affiliated international travel for faculty, staff, and students to countries with a CDC level two or three travel warning is prohibited. Anyone who goes to a country with a level two or three warning is required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.
Le believes there is no way the school can enforce the 14 day self-isolation period without the 14 day period of online classes he is requesting.
“There’s 40 thousand students here, and if you expect people to go, and come back and travel, and every single one that’s traveled to these stage one, stage two, stage [three countries] to quarantine themselves — then they’re mistaken,” he said.
Blaschke tells FOX 7 Austin “faculty are being directed to develop a contingency plan for teaching remotely, and for making the transition to online classes as smooth as possible for TXST students if the need arises.”
“I think we definitely should act first before waiting to see something happen,” said freshman Joseph Reed, a student government senator.
Blaschke confirmed the student health center has requested COVID-19 testing kits. He says enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented at the university’s San Marcos and Round Rock campuses.
“It’s just, it’s just safer, you know just 14 days, just two weeks out of the year, it’s no big deal,” Le said.
Not everyone on campus was concerned.
“It’s more likely to get the flu than the coronavirus,” said sophomore Rudy Ambriz, who did not sign the petition and thinks its popularity has a lot more to do with class than coronavirus. “I’m pretty sure a lot of people just don’t want to show up to classes and stuff.”
The university has created a coronavirus webpage for updates.