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Towson residents concerned about potential spread of COVID-19 from college students

Posted at 5:24 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 12:07:19-04

TOWSON — Towson University and community leaders are reminding students living in community neighborhoods to be good neighbors.

This comes after residents voiced concern about the university moving students off campus.

"People are concerned that students are hanging around all day, drinking, that they would wander in the streets," said Baltimore County District 5 Councilman David Marks. "I think there are concerns but on the other hand I always try to be optimistic and realize that a lot of students are good neighbors."

The real concern is community transmission of COVID-19.

Towson University’s positivity rate over a recent 12-day period was 11% and according to its coronavirus testing data dashboard, 203 students and 18 faculty and staff members tested positive for the virus between Aug. 22 and Sept. 2.

"We're asking students to wear masks and to follow social distancing rules," said Marks. "Beyond that there's not much we can do to. This is everyone's responsibility, not just the students."

WMAR-2 News spoke to two students currently in quarantine. They both tested positive and are living off campus.

"I think the University and the college students have done a pretty good job of trying to follow rules," said Mary, who asked that we not use her real name. "There are the exceptions but for the most part people have been trying. Once I found out my test result I immediately isolated myself."

Sophomore Haley said she understands people's concerns but says student's shouldn’t take all the blame.

"Unless everything is shut down there's no fully stop the spread," said Haley, "Especially without a vaccine."

The sophomore said she did everything she could to keep herself safe but until you get tested you don't really know.

"I definitely think some people do the wrong thing. But most are doing the right thing," she said. "I think the spread was going to happen either way because people were going to see their friends. So when we came back to campus I knew there was going to be a spread of the virus I just didn’t think I was going to be as bad."

As for off-campus parties, local law enforcement is keeping tabs on neighborhoods.

People who see or hear of large social gatherings or parted are encouraged to report their concerns to the proper authorities.