Texas State University is moving forward with plans to have students back on campus for summer classes that start July 6. But as the number of COVID-19 cases in the county grows, many students are concerned about going back to school.
“A lot of us often work in either retail or customer service, where we're interacting with people physically," said Matthew Gonzales, a rising senior studying public administration. Gonzales works at CVS to help pay for his tuition, making him an essential worker as well as a student.
"With the increased number of people allowed in buildings and stores, the more people we come into contact with who may not be taking the same precautions that we're taking,” he said.
Over the weekend, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra urged residents of San Marcos to keep social distancing when possible.
"The numbers are so high back to back to back that we don't even have a chance to properly report all the numbers," he said in a video posted on Twitter Saturday.
#COVID-19 Update: 142 new cases today in @hayscountygov. Due to the sheer volume of new cases, specific details about cities, age, gender and ethnicity will be included on Monday's report. pic.twitter.com/kAfu059Dkz
— Judge Ruben Becerra (@rubenbecerrasr) June 14, 2020
The Hays County Health Department reported 142 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 54 new cases on Sunday. The total number of active cases in the county is 666.
In a letter to the Hays County Commissioners Court and health department, State Rep. Erin Zwiener asked the county to increase work on testing and contact tracing in the wake of so many new cases.
Texas State University said it is implementing protective measures for the return to campus, including requiring students and staff to wear face coverings; decreasing capacity in classrooms and shared offices; and improving cleaning and disinfecting.
Spokesperson Jayme Blaschke said the university plans to release its re-opening plans by the end of the week. The plans are coming from several working groups tasked with preparing recommendations on how to safely resume in-person instruction.
Gonzales said he doesn't feel heard by the university. He found almost everyone who responded to an informal poll he conducted online said they didn't feel comfortable going back to class, either.
"If I get sick, you know then I may not be able to go to those classes," Gonzales said. "I'll have to take a two-week break and given that summer classes are four weeks long, that would obviously have an impact."
Free mobile COVID-19 testing will be offered in San Marcos on Saturday at Bowie Elementary from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional mobile testing in Hays County will be available throughout the week.
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