University Maintains Flexible COVID-19 Policy

By Alexander Nunez – Staff Writer

The university is continuing its flexible COVID-19 policy for the current fall semester to better adapt to potential outbreaks in the future. The current policies set forth by the administration include optional masking, isolation at home, and a new monkeypox policy. 

The university is continuing with its mask policy from last semester. According to the Campus Health & Safety website, students are not required to wear masks for any on-campus indoor events unless specifically asked to do so.

This policy allows students to remain comfortable and relaxed during class while also ensuring that vulnerable members of the campus community can stay safe from the ongoing pandemic. The campus is also maintaining its policy of disallowing gaiters, bandanas, and other improvised masks from being used in such scenarios.  

Many students have voiced satisfaction with this policy, including junior biology major Jonny Wells. Wells said, “this new policy lets me concentrate so much better in class.” 

Isolation protocols will also remain the same as last semester. According to the school website, all students that test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine at home.

Students that are both symptomatic and asymptomatic are expected to be in quarantine for at least five days. Asymptomatic students may return after five days if they do not develop symptoms. Students experiencing symptoms may return to campus once your symptoms improve and if you have experienced a full 24 hours without a fever.

During the 24 hours, students are expected not to take medicine specifically for their fever. As 17 new cases were reported on campus during the week of Sept. 26th to Oct. 2nd, many students expressed concerns about quarantine at home. Sammy Kramer, a junior attending the university, said quarantining at home might “put family members at risk.”  

Finally, the administration is also staying prepared for the new monkeypox virus. According to the CDC, this new virus is closely related to smallpox – yet milder. Like smallpox, symptoms of monkey pox include flu-like symptoms followed by (or in some cases preceded by) a rash.

While there are no treatments specifically for monkeypox, the CDC notes treatments for smallpox may be used to treat monkeypox. Even though there are zero reported cases of the virus on campus, the university has still acquired monkeypox test kits from local sources.  

Stephanie Adamec, Assistant Dean for Student Wellness, explained “We make sure we are reaching out to our partners in the community.” 

Aside from testing when symptoms appear, students can prevent the contraction of either disease by “Being proactive; washing hands, cleaning sheets and wiping down surfaces” according to Ms. Adamec. 

For more information or updates to policy, students can check the Student Health Services website.