Mid-South colleges monitoring coronavirus outbreak

Mid-South colleges monitoring coronavirus outbreak
Mid-South colleges monitoring coronavirus outbreak (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the coronavirus outbreak grows, schools across the country are closing or moving classes online.

National health experts told Congress Wednesday that things are only going to get worse. We could see more school closures.

Right now, there's only one confirmed case in Shelby County and many colleges are on spring break.

“The risk is very low. The students are monitoring their health, they are self-quarantining,” said Daphne J. Thomas, Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Southwest Tennessee Community College is making plans to clean its Allied Health building on its Union campus.

Two of its radiology students had contact with the coronavirus patient at Baptist while they were interning.

Unaware, those students returned to class at the building last week.

“We are just taking this time that we're while we're out on spring break. To do this extra cleaning to take this extra step,” said Thomas.

Southwest says the building will reopen next Wednesday -- two days after students return from spring break.

Southwest isn't the only school dealing with coronavirus concerns.

Christian Brothers University says one of its students who also had contact with the coronavirus patient and a faculty member who traveled recently were also under self-quarantine.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center has announced that it’s moving in-person classes online.

We asked Shelby County Health leaders if that's something that could happen soon.

"Right now they just need to be prepared to do that. There's no reason to do it currently,” said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.

But they say it's something they're watching closely.

"We actually have a whole team of scientists and we look at the data and look at transmission patterns and make recommendations based on what the data tell us,” said Haushalter.

Closing schools is not something the health department says is necessary right now.

Just about every university has created a special webpage to update faculty and students on their coronavirus response.

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