Decrease in COVID-19 cases does not ease uncertainty

Bijeta Lamichhane 

News Editor

Sam Boudreau

Senior News Writer

 

The number of COVID-19 cases on campus continues to increase despite the College’s efforts and investments to ensure the community’s safety. As the case count  continues to rise past 100, all classes have switched to remote and students have begun leaving campus to finish their semester online. Hence,  to assess the severity of the situation, the College recently partnered with the staff of the National Guard to test every student on campus for COVID-19.

However, it seems as though the worst wave of COVID-19 on campus has now begun to settle. Although cases are still on the rise, the rate of increase is significantly lower than it was in the week of Oct. 12 when the College recorded 75 positive cases, the highest number of positive cases recorded in a week on campus. This week, 14 out of the 515 tests administered have come back positive as of Tuesday, Oct. 27. Furthermore, the census testing that was conducted on Oct. 24 also showed fewer  cases, where only 3 of 720 results have come back positive.

This decrease comes after the campus shut down venues where students could gather and enforced strict policies against social events. Some of the measures include canceling seating services in Lowry for meals and revoking housing services for students involved in policy violations.

Although the situation on campus now looks better than it did two weeks ago, several questions and concerns still remain regarding how the College will function next semester. One of the biggest concerns about opening the campus next semester remains ensuring in-person social gatherings do not take place again.

While addressing the College when the highest number of cases had been recorded on campus, President Sarah Bolton had stated in her email that “most of the cases are connected to the social-event clusters.” Later, Wayne County health commissioner Nick Cascarelli also echoed Bolton’s statement, saying, “Kids are being more active, mixing up more, and this is why we’re seeing an increase.”

Since most students live on campus, questions have risen about whether the College will be able to ensure that students take more proactive steps in ensuring everybody’s safety. After all, the College had invested in various resources to ensure a safe living environment for the entire campus community, and yet the cases rose because of social gatherings.

In-person activities being canceled on campus seems to be more of a problem raised out of students’ lack of responsibility instead of the College’s mobilization of resources. However, the question of how the administration will enforce measures to ensure that students take responsibility to create a safe campus still remains. The administration is set to announce tentative updates for the spring semester on Nov. 10 to provide the campus community with a better sense of understanding about the upcoming semester.