By Katherine Sullivan, Staff Writer
While many colleges across the country have seen spikes in numbers of cases of COVID-19 as school starts, Newman University has so far seen only eight confirmed cases among students and no new cases among faculty and staff.
However, Dr. Kelly McFall, professor of history and chair of humanities, has seen the effects of COVID-19 first hand. McFall and all three of his immediate family members all contracted the virus over summer break.
McFall’s family does not know who in the family first contracted the virus or where they caught it.
“We all got it within a couple days of each other, so it is not clear who was the first," McFall said. "Almost certainly one of us got it and infected the rest."
Even though all members of the family began to experience symptoms around the same time, they did not all have the same experience with the virus.
“Each of us had different symptoms, each of us had a different severity, and each of us had a different length of which we were sick,” McFall said. “Immediately, my younger daughter and I had very mild symptoms and my older daughter had the full spectrum.”
Just as the symptoms experienced were different, the lasting effects also varied among family members.
“My wife, who was exhausted for six or seven days, bounced right back. I ran a 35-minute five mile just before COVID. I just hit two and three quarter miles yesterday at a nine minute pace, and it was six weeks ago that I got over it," McFall said. “My daughter, who is getting recruited for rowing, she’s still having problems…that may impact whether she rows in college.”
McFall said that since he’s returned to Newman for the semester, he’s been pleased to see how seriously the school is taking COVID-19. Students should take it just as seriously, he said.
“I think that Newman has done a wonderful job of making the classrooms and the campus safe,” McFall said. “I think the students by and large have done a wonderful job of keeping each other safe on campus, I worry a little bit about off campus.”
While McFall and his family did not face life-threatening situations during their illness, McFall said, there are many people that will.
He encourages students to remain cognizant of their actions and the effect it could have on Newman’s community.
“Take COVID seriously,” McFall said. “We have spent a lot of time at Newman trying to figure out how to make online education work well…But there are some advantages to in-person education that just can’t be duplicated online. What I hope to happen is that we will be able to meet in person to benefit from those advantages throughout the semester and the year.”
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo,Newman University Relations