Joseph Kasko
palmettoreport@gmail.com

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — A Winthrop University student has tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced March 23 in an email to students, faculty and staff.

The unnamed student visited the campus March 17, during spring break, to pick up personal belongings, according to the university.

“This student followed the protocol of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and upon showing symptoms of the virus, sought medical advice and testing where s/he permanently resides,” said interim President George Hynd, via email.

“While the resident was on campus for only a short time, precautions have been taken in the hall to sanitize shared space and frequently touched surfaces. These preventive measures will minimize the risk posed to other residents and the campus community. Others who may have come into close contact with the individual who tested positive are being notified of possible exposure.”

Hynd said Winthrop is working to support the student and the school expects to continue to feel the impact of the “unprecedented public health crisis in coming days and weeks.”

However, the university does not plan to publicly announce each additional case of the coronavirus.

“We must remain vigilant in reinforcing the message that no one is immune to COVID-19 that we all must do our part to slow the spread of the virus,” said Hynd.

A number of students reacted to the news via social media.

“Someone at Winthrop tested positive for coronavirus are you (expletive) kidding me?,” said one user, via Twitter.

“A Winthrop student has tested positive for coronavirus. It’s really real (out here) y’all,” tweeted Brook Frierson, a mass communication major.

March 19, the school announced the school would continue remote instruction for the remainder of the semester.

The next day, Winthrop told employees they “should not report to campus.”

However, some staff will continue to work on campus, including residential housing support, remote instruction support, IT, public safety and some administrative services, the school said.

“Our recent decision to close campus for the remainder of the semester is in keeping with the advice of public health experts to maximize such social distancing. We strongly encourage everyone in our community to please take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” said Hynd.

Additionally, Winthrop informed students, March 23, they would be able to return to campus throughout the week to pick up their belongings.

“The staggered sign-up process we will employ underscores the requirement for social distancing with which we must abide so that we have limited numbers of students in the halls,” said Hynd, via email.