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Video Shows Police Using ‘Pepper Balls’ On Rowdy College Students Defying Coronavirus Protocol In Ohio

College students in Dayton squared off against police pepper balls when their celebration of class cancellation due to coronavirus got out of hand.

Several colleges across the U.S. are transitioning to online classes for safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic. While many people are concerned about the virus spreading, students at the University of Dayton in Ohio celebrated their campus closure with a party that got so wild the police used pepper-spray guns to calm things down.

Coronavirus And College/School Closings

As countries around the world enact quarantines and other social distancing measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the panic is just starting to set in among the American public. Government officials and everyday people contemplate imminent changes that will affect their day-to-day activities and way of life.

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Just today, Seattle Public Schools announced that they will close for at least two weeks as the outbreak in Washington state continues to grow. This decision marks the first district-wide public grade school closure in the U.S.

Colleges and universities across America, both public and private, have already begun moving classes online or shutting down their campuses amid coronavirus fears. The list grows by the day and includes notable institutions like Cornell, MIT, Harvard, American University, and Ohio State University.

One of the universities closing their doors to students is the University of Dayton. Unfortunately, students at the university didn’t seem to understand – or care – that the point of the campus closure was to minimize social interactions and large gatherings amid the outbreak.

College Students Celebrate Coronavirus Closing

Proving that college students are still going to be college students, more than 1,000 students gathered for a coronvirus closure party they referred to as “Corona Fest.” University of Dayton students have a reputation for partying but they really outdid themselves this time.

Health officials advise the public to keep a social distance of 6 feet from other people to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. These college students, however, were eager to get their drink on and so they packed in to party.

Audrey Muck is a University of Dayton student. She was there to party and isn’t happy about being sent home to take classes online until April 6th. “I mean I think this is just a community coming together, we’re all going to miss each other a whole lot,” Muck said. “I think its really sad we’re getting sent home because what we’ve come here to do is to learn.”

Police Shut Down Coronavirus Celebration

However, this was not an innocent event where everyone was well behaved.

The mob of partying students threw bottles at police officers and jumped on cars. The University of Dayton students refused to obey police orders to disperse so pepper balls were launched into the crowd. Some students believed the police were using tear gas.

A video of the chaos can be seen in the tweet below.

The students didn’t disperse until 2:15 AM.

From WHIO:

One person was injured by a thrown bottle.

“At first it was just some of our friends who are seniors all getting together and hanging out on Lowes before we had to go away for about three weeks or more. And then it kind of escalated,” senior Lena Richardson said.

“We just started to make this day a Friday, basically — make this day a Friday, we just started to party on Lowes Street,” Jhonson Francis, a junior at UD said. “At the end of the day, we ended up getting tear gassed.”

Several students expressed disbelief in police’s response to the scene.

“We were all kind of shocked, being gassed was kind of crazy. Its one of the last nights I have on campus as a senior; I’m just trying to make the best of it,” Chris Rose said.

“Police kind of took it the wrong way and started gassing everyone. We were all coughing. Several people had to come inside my house to recover from it,” said Richardson.

Foreshadowing Of Future Coronavirus Riots?

Seeing how this encounter between college students and police went down has some wondering if this is foreshadowing what is to come as the U.S. coronavirus outbreak escalates.

The U.S. is still in the early stages of dealing with this viral pandemic. How will citizens react when more events and organizations are forced to close to help curb the spread? Will the public comply or will the police – and possibly military – be forced to intervene?

I’d like to think that we can all be reasonable enough to comply with guidelines put in place for the good of public health. But then I’m reminded of the lack of reason I see dominating social media and headlines. So maybe it’s best we buckle up.

For more information on public health and coronavirus in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has the most accurate information. You can find the CDC’s official FAQs on coronavirus (COVID-19) here.

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