Towson addresses Coronavirus outbreak

By: Bailey Hendricks, Editor-in-Chief and Sophia Bates, Assistant News Editor

Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, Towson University hosted an on-campus forum to address community concerns and overall educate the campus community about the virus.

With spring break coming up, Director of University Health Services Matt Goldstein advised students to assess upcoming travel plans upon the outbreak of Coronavirus during the forum March 4.

“If you are traveling and have any health conditions, you should talk to your primary care before doing that,” Goldstein said.

He added that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has travel advisories in place, but that they are “very late coming.”

According to Goldstein, the University is prepared for pandemic situations, as there is a plan updated regularly. He also said the University has a “pandemic workgroup” meeting regularly. He added that the University is a pod (point of dispensing) site for mass vaccinations and could deliver thousands of vaccinations a day, if needed.

“We know what to do,” Goldstein said.

That being said, college-age students are at low risk for severe symptoms, according to Goldstein.

“In general, college students are a low risk population,” Goldstein said. “You are at low risk for bad things to happen.”

According to Goldstein, Towson community centers, residence halls and the Health Center are prepared to help ill students and reduce the risk of spreading disease. This includes having disposable thermometers located in community centers and residence halls. Surgical masks are also available at TU’s Health Center.

“We are in the process of putting surgical masks in the community centers, at the residence hall and they currently are in the Health Center,” Goldstein said.

The surgical masks are meant for helping a sick student reduce the spread of illness prior to going to their primary care provider, not for preventing a healthy student from getting sick, according to Goldstein.

Goldstein added that there are precautions in place to seperate ill students from healthy ones in the residence halls. However, he indicated that sick students going home would be ideal.

Sophomore Kalifa Warren felt the forum provided good insight on COVID-19.

“I think it was really good to get students educated to keep the fear of the spread down,” Warren said. “I’m glad that I came because I got some information that is going to keep me less worried about the situation.”

The event was hosted in Lithicum’s lecture hall, and about half the seats were filled. Warren found this unexpected.

“I was expecting a larger crowd,” Warren said.

Goldstein, who indicated he has received a number of concerned emails and phone calls from students and parents, offered consolation for students and community members towards the end of the forum.

“We’re going through this together and we’re going to be better people at the end of it,” Goldstein said.

– Staff writer Marcus Whitman contributed to this article

– This article was updated March 5 for clarity.

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