Chapman University sees over 200 COVID-19 cases after first week of in-person instruction

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- In-person classes started at Chapman University this week and some students say the university isn't doing enough to keep them safe as more than 200 COVID-19 cases have already been reported.

As of Friday, the school's dashboard shows 259 known cases, which is just more than 2% of the Orange County university's population.

"Looking at the numbers and the fact that I didn't hear what you just told me, makes me think that they're like, you know, it'll be fine, it's kind of an ignore it and move on kind of thing," one student told Eyewitness News.

The total student population listed as vaccinated is 90%. That includes senior Emu Haynes, who took to social media to voice her concern with the handling of cases at her school.

Haynes first took an at-home test with roommate. Her test came out negative, but her roommate tested positive.

"The next morning I didn't trust so I went to the campus testing center," she said.

The second test she took resulted positive, which surprised her because she didn't have any symptoms. A third roommate, also asymptomatic, worried her negative result was also inaccurate.

"She doesn't have to quarantine even though she's been exposed, and when she tried to explain to her professors that she didn't want to be a risk to her classmates, they told her that she would be marked unexcused if she didn't come because she didn't have a positive test to show," Haynes said.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, Jamie S. Ceman, the school's Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications, says in part: "Currently, students are attending in-person instruction unless they test positive for COVID-19 or are identified through contact tracing as needing to isolate."

But some students and parents worry that contact tracing is too delayed and the communication is not enough.

"I think they should've let me know sooner, cause the only way I found out is when my friend told me about it," said Bessie Spielman, a freshman at the university.

Meanwhile, the daily COVID-19 survey students are required to complete for clearance to get into class is nothing but an honor system that many are breaking.

"They are supposed to have one entrance into each building where that's checked on their phone, but there's side entrances that students are going into and avoiding that altogether, and they're not being truthful on the questionnaire and they're actually coming to school being positive with COVID," one woman told Eyewitness News.

The last day for Chapman University students and staff to report their vaccination status is Sept. 14.

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