San Diego State University is quiet and nearly deserted while classes are not in session. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego State University announced Wednesday that remaining in-person classes will be suspended after 64 students tested positive for coronavirus since Aug. 24.

“There may be some frustration with this decision, but we strongly believe this is the best decision for our entire campus community,” said Luke Wood, the vice president for student affairs and campus diversity.

Wood appeared at a press conference with county health officials, who are working to trace the growing number of cases at the university. On Monday, a total of 31 cases had been reported since March.

Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology, said most of the cases are due to infection outside of the campus, but there is one outbreak in an apartment complex used by many students.

“When people are coming from many parts of the county and the state and country, together in one place, we would expect some cases,” he said. “We expect the numbers to go up. This is a serious situation.”

Wood said most courses are already online, but about 200 in-person classes, primarily laboratory-oriented, are being suspended for the next four weeks.

He said college sports activities will also pause, but for only a two-week period beginning Thursday.

He said students can remain in campus housing, and that quarantine facilities are available for those who test positive.

The county is expanding a nearby testing center on Alvarado Road near the campus to handle walk-ins by students with symptoms.

McDonald cautioned that while few young people are rarely hospitalized by coronavirus, it is still a serious, unpleasant disease — “not a simple cold or flu.” He urged students to practice social distancing.

“If it’s not an essential activity as a student, you shouldn’t be doing it,” said McDonald.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.