Covid spike on campus, reminder to avoid pandemic complacency

Peter McTague , Crier Staff

Many Anselmians found themselves unexpectedly unable to attend class this past week due to a surge of COVID-19 cases that hit campus over the long weekend. As of September 16, there were 35 active cases, a number that may shock those who thought the COVID era had come and gone; in comparison, there were only seven active cases last year around this time. These recent developments have brought the total number of positive cases for the semester up to 59. While this new outbreak may seem alarming, Health Services is, as always, handling it with Anselmian vigor. Maura Marshall, director of Health Services, stated, “We know how to manage it, we are complying with the state and CDC guidelines, students are able to go home for isolation, and our protocols continue to work.” The surge has been kept under control by successful implementation of quarantine protocols, on the part of both Health Services and the student body at large. 

While many students have been able to go home for isolation, those who are unable to do so have taken up residence in the quarantine dorms set up by the college. The current protocols for those who test positive for COVID are to quarantine for five days, and then receive a test. If this test is positive, the student must quarantine for an additional five days. Luckily, according to Maura Marshall, “With this variant, the cases have been mild and the students are testing negative by day seven on average.” The uptick in cases, she says, is mainly a result of the fact that the COVID vaccine was mandated last school year, and, consequently, students were much more up to date with their immunity. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has had the good fortune of mild symptoms. One anonymous student described the experience as “both difficult and exhausting,” and explained “it’s hard to get any school work done when you’re having terrible symptoms and can barely focus… It’s hard being in quarantine while also trying to be a student, but luckily my professors have been understanding.” In addition to the hardship of battling a virus while juggling school work, one

thing that may make it difficult for students to learn while in quarantine is the fact that far fewer professors are offering an online option for their classes this year, as opposed to last year, when it was expected that many students would need such an option. 

While COVID precautions across the country have loosened significantly since last year, the recent surge in cases on campus should serve as a reminder that the virus has not vanished, and students should still remain vigilant and follow appropriate protocols. Anselmians who are experiencing symptoms or have come into contact with someone who has COVID should make sure to wear a mask and go to Health Services for a test at their earliest opportunity. Following these simple steps will help to keep all of us healthy, and help our campus be as COVID-free as possible.