Students, businesses hope students can remain on campus after UD bumps up to Level 2 COVID-19 status

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The University of Dayton is reporting a large jump in COVID-19 student cases one day after the university moved to a “Level 2 – Localized” status regarding coronavirus cases on its campus.

The university reported 12 new cases in the past 24 hours pushing the number of active cases to 25 and classes haven’t even started, they’re scheduled to begin Monday.

But Thursday, UD’s President sent out a letter to the campus, saying “this new threat level poses a serious threat to the ability to remain on campus.”

This is the students’ first return to campus since they went virtual in March.

“We kind of do need to get back to a sense of normalcy and for college students that social aspect of our lives is really important so we’re just trying to get back to that,” said Betsey Fisher, a graduate student at UD.

This week, the campus got moved to a “Level 2 – Localized” risk, and Friday, several new COVID cases were confirmed. UD President, Dr. Eric Spina, said in a letter this means small outbreaks are being detected.

“It was a little shocking at first but also I know when you have a bunch of kids come back from college during a pandemic, I think there’s definitely going to be an increase,” said UD Sophomore Caroline Kozeny.

Spina said in the letter the outbreaks have been traced to students not practicing safety protocols. He added, “Students whose behavior violated our safety measures have moved us one step closer to studying remotely for the fall semester.”

It’s a move students and nearby businesses on Brown Street don’t want to see.

Jason Dobbin co-owns Back Home Tavern and Table that just opened for the first time in January.

Dobbin said initially business was going great.

“We opened up right at the peak of the UD season and then the pandemic hit in March and we shut it down and went to carryout only,” said Dobbin. “Since the kids have come back, we definitely see a little spike back in business.”

Dobbin said they’re one of just a handful of bars that have reopened around UD and are already losing business because of the alcohol consumption curfew. If the students go home, it could be devastating.

“Going just back to carryout or just to local businesses and the local crowd and the community that lives around here, I believe that would really hurt a lot of local businesses around here extremely hard,” said Dobbin.

Students said they see a mixture of people who are and are not obeying the safety protocols on campus, but said they feel the majority are. They hope everyone does their part to keep the case numbers down so they can stay on campus.

“I don’t do well online and I don’t think a lot of students do either,” said Fisher. “That’s why I go to the university for classes and pay for tuition, so I’m very upset that we’re going to get moved online, and quicker than I thought.”

“I’m afraid when I do go back home I have the chances of bringing anything I caught here back to my family,” said Kozeny. “So there definitely needs to be a little bit more thought before sending everyone home.”

UD officials declined 2 NEWS request for further comment.

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