By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer
A Baylor student has tested positive for COVID-19, University President Dr. Linda Livingstone confirmed in a statement Thursday.
The student, who was not identified in the release, contracted the virus after traveling out of state. Though the student returned to Waco, Livingstone said they did not return to campus.
“The student returned to Waco after traveling out of state to an area with high community transmission, but self-isolated away from the Baylor campus,” Livingstone said.
To prevent further spread, people who are known to have been in contact with the student will be “directly notified by public health officials in coordination with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.”
The total number of confirmed cases in McLennan County is now at seven. Of these, two cases are Baylor professors who traveled to New York on a non-university trip over spring break. In the statement, Livingstone said staying healthy is paramount in the midst of this pandemic.
“With one case today and six others announced yesterday in Waco and McLennan County, it is very clear that this health crisis is real, and it is impacting our city and Baylor community,” Livingstone said. “We must continue to do everything we can to strengthen our personal health protection and heighten our social distancing practices, as well as follow the instructions of federal, state and local officials.”
Livingstone also said the university expects to learn of more positive cases as the situation continues to unfold.
“I know this news is difficult to hear and deeply unsettling to all of us, and unfortunately, we anticipate that we will have additional positive cases during the days and weeks ahead as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country,” Livingstone said.
Baylor canceled in-person classes for the remainder of the semester Monday, and has asked students not to return to campus. Access to residence halls was restricted to only allow students who had no other readily-available housing options to remain on campus.
May commencement ceremonies were also postponed. The decision was made before any cases were confirmed in McLennan County.
While this is the first confirmed COVID-19 case among students, it is not the student body’s first brush with the virus. At the onset of the pandemic in January, a Baylor student who traveled to China was suspected of contracting the disease. A CDC test later confirmed the student did not contract the virus.