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Beloit College prepares to welcome students back to campus safely

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 5:29 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As thousands of college students move into their school communities health experts report a corresponding spike in COVID-19 cases. 23 News explores how schools plan to enforce protocols and why some students get involved in risky behaviors.

" I am very hopeful and optimistic that we can do it,” Tara Girard, Beloit College director of health and wellness.

Classes at Beloit College start Tuesday and it’s time to put Girard’s safety plan in place.

“We are doing the obvious things which are signage and email reminders and social media posts,” Girard said.

Girard also created a student group that meets virtually and in-person that is focused on encouraging other students to follow coronavirus guidelines.

“The hope is really that students on campus create that culture so that they are reminding each other and it’s becoming their norm,” Girard said.

Girard says the group is already hard at work spreading the word.

“They’ve been going through these different student pathways to get this information to the students in a student-to-student way versus a top-down with the administration say this is what we are going to do,” Girard said.

“Well I think in normal times it’s hard enough to get college students to engage in health behaviors let alone in a pandemic,” said Brian Klaung, clinical social worker.

Klaung says it’s unrealistic to assume college students avoid social gatherings.

“They are just tired of being alone and they are missing out. Some of the researchers recently say the students agree to the socially distance rule but say however I like to party and I am not going to get the virus,” Klaung said.

Klaung says it just takes one student to start the party.

“There are others who feel like everybody else is going so I’m going to go too,” Klaung said.

Klaung says it’s not just college students breaking the pandemic rules, many adults also avoid masks and social distancing which could be a factor in the rise in cases on college campuses.

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