First week in school sees COVID cases rise


COVID-19 testing is being provided on the bottom floor of Whitney Hall. Photo taken by Sam Kyes on Sept. 4.

The Chico State website currently lists 69 reported COVID-19 cases as of Aug. 31, including 57 students and 12 campus employees.

Butte County has experienced a surge of new cases this past week, according to the Butte County COVID-19 Tracker.

Juanita Mottley, the executive director at the WellCat Health Center, has confirmed that there have been student cases since the semester began.

“We are still in a global pandemic, and everyone should follow the CDC guidelines  to mitigate the virus,” Mottley said. “If you tested positive for COVID-19 previously, you should still get vaccinated. The vaccine gives more immunity than the virus.”

Front of the WellCat Health Center. Photo taken by Sam Kyes on Sept. 4.

Regarding what current steps they are taking to deal with the delta variant, she said that nothing has changed.

“Get vaccinated, wear a face covering, wash your hands and watch your distance,” Mottley said.  “If you feel ill, get tested and stay home.”

Students and staff received an email from Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson voicing her concern about attending class while sick.

“We’ve been conditioned to keep showing up for school when we have minor illnesses,” Hutchinson said. “We need to change that mindset immediately. The pandemic has demonstrated how much our individual choices can affect those around us.”

Although some students are optimistic about classes remaining in person, not everyone is so confident. Chico State student Carly Hayes is concerned that classes will resume online in October, if not sooner.

“This is a pandemic,” Hayes said. “It’s not going to end just because we want it over or because the college student revenue is wanted.”

The university is doing its best to prevent spread as much as possible by requiring students to wear masks inside classrooms and vaccinate by Sept. 30.

There are free COVID tests provided on the bottom floor of Whitney Hall, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

As of this writing, classes are expected to continue on campus for the foreseeable future.

Sam Kyes can be contacted at [email protected]