Hampton University has created a vaccinated bubble in city with high COVID rates

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Hampton University has created a vaccinated bubble in city with high COVID rates

The HBCU — where Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Friday — has enacted a strict vaccination and mask policy.

In the middle of a Virginia city that is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, Hampton University has created an insulated bubble protecting students at the historic HBCU. 

Known as the “Home by the Sea,” the Black college — where Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Friday — has enacted a strict vaccination policy for students and mandated masks in classrooms and shared areas. 

In the middle of a Virginia city that is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, Hampton University has created an insulated bubble protecting students at the historic Black college. (Photo by Rob Ostermaier/AP)

In an interview with Yahoo News, one Hampton student said she was horrified when she ventured out into town away from the school’s bubble. “Going to the local Waffle House in Hampton, there was this woman who looked visibly sick — red eyes, pale skin, with no mask — serving us food. But in Hampton University’s cafe, they won’t even serve you if you don’t have your mask on.”

The unnamed freshman student said an employee warned her to be careful when venturing into the city, given the rising case count. 

There were more than 1,533 new COVID-19 cases in Hampton, Virginia in August, which is an increase of greater than 500% from the previous month and an increase of more than 1,600% over a two-month period, according to a local report from WTKR

In addition to its rising number of cases, hospitalizations are rising as well. But Virginia’s health department reported that statewide, as of Aug. 21, the percentage of vaccinated people who have developed COVID-19, been hospitalized, or died from the disease remains below 1%.

At Hampton University, many students have single rooms, which is also slowing breakthrough cases. 

According to the Yahoo News report, 96% of the staff and 97% of the faculty at Hampton University are fully vaccinated, those who are not provided medical exemptions. In addition to vaccinations, the entire campus — students, staff, and faculty — are tested for COVID-19 once a month. 

“You can tell that they care about us because even the RAs [resident assistants] are telling us not to go into each other’s dorm rooms, because they want to keep not only themselves safe, but others safe as well,” a freshman maintained. “Some professors have a hard time teaching with the masks on, so they’ll ask us if they can pull down their masks for a bit. We’re like, ‘Yeah, but stay six feet away.’”

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