WMU Student Dies From COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020

A sculpture outside WMU's Dalton Center
Credit Andy Robins / WMUK

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that a Western Michigan University student has died after contracting COVID-19. The student, who was studying chemical engineering, was not living in Kalamazoo. 

WMU President Edward Montgomery issued this statement: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our students, Bassey Offiong. Bassey was a young man of enormous potential who was scheduled to graduate with his degree in chemical engineering in just a few weeks. On behalf of the entire Bronco community I want to extend my deepest condolences to his entire family, including his sister Asari, who has been generous in communicating with us regularly. They are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

On Friday, March 27, WMU announced that three students had tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

According to the news release by WMU Medical Director Gayle Ruggiero, "One student, who was last on campus on March 10, notified us through a family member they had tested positive after returning home to the east side of Michigan. The student’s professors and classmates were notified.

"Another student developed symptoms after distance learning began and has been isolating and following protocols from a health care provider and Kalamazoo County's health department. This individual resides off campus.

"The third student, who also became symptomatic after distance learning began, resides on campus, tested positive and remains in isolation. We have been working collaboratively with our local health department, and they have contacted all persons who need to take any additional precautions. There are no additional precautions required for the public. We continue intensified and extensive cleaning of spaces throughout the campus, as needed.

The university had earlier closed its residence halls to all but international students and a few others. Western has shifted to online instruction because of the outbreak.