coronavirus in connecticut

College Town Leaders Call for Stricter Gathering Limits Ahead of Fall Semester

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As some universities begin welcoming students back to campus, there is a push by town leaders to ask for restrictions on gathering limits.

Ava Corsi is one of the many students returning to the University of Connecticut for the fall semester. Corsi came back early for her on-campus job and believes students should follow both state and college guidelines.

"All of my roommates decided that we weren't going to do anything crazy," said Corsi. "I feel like it's fair of the town to ask UConn to try and keep social distancing in place and gatherings to a minimum."

Corsi's thoughts come as the number of COVID-19 cases rose among young people during some parts of July, according to Governor Lamont's Office.

"We have been very worried about the people coming from other parts of the country and world," said Mayor Toni Moran of Mansfield. "We are concerned that some people might unknowingly bring the infection with them."

Mayor Moran and several town managers from various towns issued a letter to the Deputy Commission of Emergency Services and Public Protection calling for stricter limitations on the number of people gathering together.

"The suggestion was amongst us to have a little stronger language and maybe some specific executive orders for college towns for gatherings," said Jim Rivers, town manager of Windham. "Anything that can have teeth will hopefully cut down on people gathering."

Eastern Connecticut State University tells NBC Connecticut that the college is dedicated to keeping students informed about what to do to stay healthy and safe.

"We are encouraging them to practice healthy habits, being good citizens and will talk with them through the course of the year with an emphasis on COVID-19," said Edward Osborn, director of public relations with ECSU. "We have more than 6,000 signs up asking our students to wash their hands and to wear their masks."

Megan Stanyard is set to start her college journey in two weeks at ECSU and while she's excited, she is concerned about COVID-19.

"I've been taking a lot of precautions myself but I don't know other people and what they're doing," said Stanyard.

Stanyard and her family took advantage of Eastern's early move-in to cut down on the number of students moving in at the same time. Stanyard's Mom, Lisa, says she believes the actions by the university and the town are imperative to keeping COVID-19 rates low.

"I think it is a good idea," said Lisa Stanyard. "I think it's a good idea, I mean there's no reason to have 5,000 people in one place."

Mansfield Town Council is meeting on Monday night to vote on giving their town manager the authority to issue an emergency order limiting the gathering size, pending the approval by the Deputy Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection or Lamont.

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