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President Barron Discourages Labor Day Travel Amid Rising Coronavirus Case Numbers

Penn State President Eric Barron released a statement Friday imploring students not to travel over Labor Day Weekend in response to rapidly rising coronavirus case numbers at the university.

“It’s important to reiterate that the number of positive cases is rising in University Park and this is a critical moment to help slow the progression and remain learning on campus,” Barron said. “I know so many of you are diligently following the guidelines, which I appreciate. I ask that you not travel over this holiday weekend, have visitors from out of town or attend parties or barbecues.”

To curb Labor Day travel, Penn State will hold classes on Monday, September 7 instead of giving students, faculty, and staff the usual day off.

Although Penn State is “proud” of the large number of students following its guidelines, the university said only takes a few incidents to cause an outbreak. Associate biology professor and epidemiologist Matt Ferrari also weighed in on the importance of the upcoming days.

“This is a very critical moment,” Ferrari said. “It’s vital that students, especially, socialize closely only with roommates, if possible. This is not the time to have friends over, or visit other apartments. Don’t attend gatherings with folks outside your immediate household; wear a mask and maintain distance when you go out.”

Ferrari also added that the weather looks good for this weekend, so he is encouraging students to get outside and enjoy the end of summer, but to do so safely. Wearing a mask and keeping your distance, even when outside, can go a long way for the university’s mitigation efforts.

Earlier Friday, Penn State updated its COVID-19 Dashboard and reported 174 University Park students tested positive for the coronavirus this week. To date, 215 Penn State students across its campuses have tested positive for the virus.

“We know the virus is here, and I am of course concerned by the numbers and trends we are seeing,” Barron added. “Our ability to manage transmission and rate of growth of positive cases is critically important. Next week, we will assess data following the holiday weekend, and determine whether we need to take mitigation steps at University Park including temporary or sustained remote learning.”

If the trend of rising cases continues, Barron said the university may be forced to adjust its approach. Penn State is monitoring local, state-wide, and national data as well as consulting with public health experts to make decisions.

As always, the university urges students to consult its coronavirus information site for up-to-date information on the virus and answers to FAQs.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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