It has been almost a month since students were welcomed back to campus at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. Officials with the university gave students the choice to begin the new semester either virtually or in-person. Senior, Emily Williams made the decision to come back to campus for the semester.
“I was a little scared coming back just because when the whole virus hit, I spent the first three months just staying home. But I’ve gotten comfortable that they’ve done so much here, and they remind us daily that they want to keep us safe and do what’s best for us. So, I feel pretty comfortable being here,” said Williams.
Some of those changes include a new ID scanner at the entrance of every building on campus so only authorized people are allowed inside. As well as a thermal scanner in dorms which checks students’ temperatures each day. Since August 1st, two students have tested positive for the virus according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. Officials are contributing this low amount of cases to a new campaign, Mountain Cats Care.
“So, this is going to be a program that as long as students continue to mask-up they will be given free things. Or incentivized to do good. And as long as our cases stay low and we stay active on campus and wear the appropriate PPE we can get free hats, sweatshirts, stuff like that,” said UPJ’s student government president, Tessa Fry.
Overall, students say they’re happy to return to some sense of normalcy, while also staying safe.
“It’s been actually kind of nice to come back to our mountain cat community. That’s something we really instill in each other is that we’re family here so if I mask up for you and you mask up for me then we can have our school year here and it’s been nice to come back to a community who listens,” said Fry.