Students reflect on COVID-19 case increase as classes began

Students see noticeable difference between Pullman this summer, now; expect case numbers to rise



Pullman felt empty this summer, but now students have returned, and the possibility of contracting COVID-19 is higher than it was this summer, said WSU student Caitlin Madden.

HUNTER ORCUTT, Evergreen reporter

WSU senior Eleanor Kelley felt relatively safe in Pullman during the summer, but as students returned and a surge of COVID-19 cases were recorded, Kelley’s notion of safety was challenged.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Kelley, a psychology pre-med major, said she thinks many students are neglecting social distancing rules.

Over the summer, the case numbers stayed low. Kelley said when students started coming back to Pullman in August, the community became less safe when infections rose.

“Now, there are a lot more young people here,” she said. “The atmosphere has kind of changed.”

Kelley said she considered the rise in cases “a little bit disturbing.”

She has seen people heading to social gatherings on Greek Row. She said she has passed by The Coug and noticed its outdoor seating packed with people.

“The nightlife has come back in a way that I didn’t really expect,” Kelley said.

At first, she expected students to more strictly follow social distancing guidelines, but she said she now realizes college students tend to not follow rules. She is not sure why she originally believed otherwise.

Pullman felt empty and quiet this summer, and the possibility of being infected with the virus seemed low, said Caitlin Madden, senior landscape, nursery and greenhouse management major.

Madden said she feels many students are trying to follow social distancing guidelines while others are failing and gathering in large groups.

“I’m furious,” Madden said. “I’m just so mad about it.”

With students not following safety guidelines, Jared Thompson, senior construction management major, said he expects more students to contract COVID-19.

“At this point, it is pretty clear that it’s going to get worse. I hope it levels it out,” Kelley said. “There’s going to be an increase in cases no matter what we do.”