When questioned about the virus by news outlets last week, Cheng appeared to downplay the risk it may pose to students, pointing out young people have tended to fair much better even when they have contracted COVID-19. Cheng suggested that because the virus doesn’t impact young people in the same way, even if students contract the virus they won’t have the same impact on local healthcare providers.
“I think we all recognize our students will have very few symptoms or no symptoms,” Cheng said. “Their demand for hospitalization in that age group is very, very low, so the hospital is not concerned about any burden on their resources.”
That doesn’t mean they won’t spread it to others in Flagstaff.
And as the semester begins, Cheng said it’s important to “manage our lives knowing COVID will be with us for a while.”
Cheng added that she and NAU administrators are in constant communication with local health officials and last month told the Faculty Senate that Flagstaff Medical Center is “100% behind NAU opening.”
That message was echoed by the CEO of Northern Arizona Healthcare Flo Spyrow, who told reporters she thought restarting in-person classes was the right decision.
Updated for corrections at 7:58 a.m. on August 2.
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