TEMPE, AZ — Surging COVID cases are a major cause for concern at Arizona State University. Some ASU student leaders are now calling for the suspension of in-person learning.
Meanwhile, 323 students are being forced to isolate on the Tempe campus, according to ASU's most recent COVID data released on Monday. Another 428 students are positive and quarantining off-campus in the Phoenix metro area.
"We are seeing on people's Snapchat stories that they had positive coronavirus tests," said Daniel Lopez, a senior student Senator at ASU.
One of those COVID-positive students is sophomore Sophia. "It's been fatigue, congestion, headaches," she said. "The first few days were definitely like the hardest. Right now, I’m doing better. I’m on day six of quarantine."
The journalism major is now holed up in a dimly lit dorm room that was dormant just a few weeks ago. The empty walls and isolation are a far cry from her Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house, where multiple girls tested positive after returning back to campus this semester.
"It felt inevitable almost, living with 40 other girls in one house - using like the same appliances and community bathrooms," said Sophia. "There’s been outbreaks at pretty much every dorm here at ASU."
She tells ABC15 she was asked to call her sorority sisters and others. "They tell you to like contact trace - and you notify people you’ve been in contact within the past week or so," she said.
ASU Health Services has since told ABC15 it is contacting all "high risk exposures" - which is categorized as anyone who the infected student has been around for more than ten minutes and closer than six feet.
Some students though, do not think infections are inevitable. "We need to shut down campus immediately due to a rise in COVID cases," said Alexia Isais, a junior and student senator.
Isais and Lopez are two students, associated with "United Voices for ASU," calling on President Crow to suspend in-person learning.
"Eventually, it’s going to touch everybody. At some point, there’s no group that’s going to be immune to this," said Lopez.
"We have to blame the person who brought them back in the first place," added Isais, referring to Crow. "The main thing that we’re calling on is for him to shut things down as soon as possible."
For Sophia, things are a little more complicated. "I know ASU has been trying its best to implement resources," she said. "I think the hybrid model, it has its benefits. But ultimately, cases are going to happen. There are options for students you don’t feel comfortable to attend in person."
Sophia is hoping to be out of her quarantine dorm and back with her sorority sisters in a week.
The question now - how quickly will her room need to be disinfected before another infected student needs to move in?
"It’s definitely a real thing. Students should be taking it seriously. It’s not a hoax...parties can wait until after the pandemic," she said.