UC Merced shares safety measures after campus consultant contracts COVID-19

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced is usually bustling with activity with more than 8800 students on campus, but now it's extremely quiet.

The semester just resumed Monday following the spring break, and classes are all being taught through remote learning tools.

Interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom says, "We have about 220 students who are on campus. I'm actually in the dining pavilion, which is still open for takeout food, but every other building is really shut down."

Two students who were self-isolating after showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 earlier this month have since tested negative.

Officials announced on March 27 that a campus consultant who was last at the university on March 16 tested positive for the virus.

A message to the campus community said that county officials reached out to those with whom the person interacted. No one reported symptoms, but they were still asked to self-quarantine.

Brostrom says, "The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are our top priority so we're doing everything as far as social distancing, personal hygiene, but also extra cleaning."

Along with custodial staff, construction crews are also still hard at work. They're finishing the 2020 Project, which is scheduled to be complete in early summer.

Some residents have raised concerns about protecting those workers from the virus, but the university says every effort is being made to ensure social distancing and sanitation practices.

Chancellor Brostrom acknowledges there are many challenges when it comes to coping with COVID-19, but he's proud of how the Bobcats are adapting.

"Any time you're trying anything new it's difficult, and there will be some missteps," Brostrom said. "But I just really appreciate the resilience and dedication of the faculty, students, and staff who are working really hard to make this all possible."

The university has set up a small number of classrooms and labs that instructors can reserve to create the content they're now sending out remotely, and students were able to borrow laptops, if needed.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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