A California evangelical college has told its entire student body of more than 1,600 people to quarantine after 137coronavirus cases were reported at the school.
Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California, said 68 students currently have COVID-19 and there have been 137 cases since classes started in September, The Associated Press reported. The virus has primarily been spread through off-campus housing and “social interactions outside of school hours,” the school said.
Shasta County officials said there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases and the state has implemented more restrictions on businesses and restaurants, according to the news outlet. The county has had more than 500 new cases in the last two weeks.
The school has asked students to quarantine for two weeks, required people to wear masks, and is ensuring students have negative tests before returning, according to Action News Now.
“I think college settings, in general, are really challenging because these are younger people,” said Dr. Karen Ramstrom, Shasta County’s Public Health Officer, according to the station. “They’re coming into a new setting and getting to know each other.”
The college doesn’t have dorms and tells students to find housing off-campus in neighborhoods, Redding Record Searchlight reported.
Bethel School officials have said the school accepted fewer students this school year and is operating at 70% capacity because of the pandemic, according the publication. There were 2,300 students last year and the student body was reduced to 1,600 this year.
More than 16,000 people in California have died from COVID-19 as of Oct. 9 and there are more than 7.6 million confirmed cases in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.