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Editorial: A new campus motto: be proactive

This two-week quarantine is giving the university administration and students a chance to step back and re-evaluate the approach to this semester. 

There is no doubt the university has put thoughtful plans in place to mitigate the spread of the disease. Contact tracing efforts, while resulting in quarantining entire floors, is a proactive effort. The COVID-19 dashboard update each Friday was an initiative to be transparent. This quarantine could be argued as preventing the problem from getting out of hand. 

The two-week period will prevent those on-campus from attempting to move dorm room to dorm room. It will mitigate the spread on-campus and allow time for the initial 500 in quarantine and isolation to recover and be released.

However, widening the lens, it’s been three weeks since the fall semester began and it only took 50 positive tests to quarantine the entire campus. With the rigorous contact tracing and quarantine procedures, a situation like this had to at least be expected by the university.

In response, the university introduced “enhanced guidelines” in their all-campus quarantine announcement on Tuesday. Instead of encouraging the campus to follow the rules, the new approach is that following the rules is mandatory. 

The university’s “enhanced enforcement efforts” state that an “increased monitoring of activity around campus, particularly at night” will take place. 

It’s easy to monitor the dorms and campus buildings for large gatherings. That’s not the issue. The university needs to make more of an effort to monitor where guidelines are being blatantly ignored: off-campus. However, the consequences are unclear. If large gatherings are going to stop, ramifications need to be more explicit. 

Why weren’t these tougher guidelines instituted at the beginning of the semester? It may be easy to poke holes in the matter retrospectively, but after these two weeks are over, what would stop the campus from entering into another quarantine? Will the rules be mandatory then?

A part of this responsibility falls on the students. As stated in a prior editorial, they also need to be proactive about holding each other accountable. 

The full university experience is not a feasible outcome this semester and students expecting it to be should just pack their bags early. If they want some hope, they need to put today’s actions in context with next week’s or the week after. 

On the university’s part moving forward, it needs to continue to communicate the situation when needed. It has accomplished this by adding more data to its online dashboard. 

Last Friday, the university reported 230 students in isolation and quarantine. By Tuesday, the number had almost doubled. There was zero communication between those days, only speculation and confusion as students found out more dorm floors were under lockdown. 

If we’ve learned anything throughout this pandemic it’s that situations evolve rapidly and being in the know can help make better long-term decisions.

This two-week quarantine is giving the university administration and students a chance to step back and re-evaluate the approach to this semester.

There is no doubt the university has put thoughtful plans in place to mitigate the spread of the disease. Contact tracing efforts, while resulting in quarantining entire floors, is a proactive effort. The COVID-19 dashboard update each Friday was an initiative to be transparent. This quarantine could be argued as preventing the problem from getting out of hand.

The two-week period will prevent those on-campus from attempting to move dorm room to dorm room. It will mitigate the spread on-campus and allow time for the initial 500 in quarantine and isolation to recover and be released.

However, widening the lens, it’s been three weeks since the fall semester began and it only took 50 positive tests to quarantine the entire campus. With the rigorous contact tracing and quarantine procedures, a situation like this had to at least be expected by the university.

In response, the university introduced “enhanced guidelines” in their all-campus quarantine announcement on Tuesday. Instead of encouraging the campus to follow the rules, the new approach is that following the rules is mandatory.

The university’s “enhanced enforcement efforts” state that an “increased monitoring of activity around campus, particularly at night” will take place.

It’s easy to monitor the dorms and campus buildings for large gatherings. That’s not the issue. The university needs to make more of an effort to monitor where guidelines are being blatantly ignored: off-campus. However, the consequences are unclear. If large gatherings are going to stop, ramifications need to be more explicit.

Why weren’t these tougher guidelines instituted at the beginning of the semester? It may be easy to poke holes in the matter retrospectively, but after these two weeks are over, what would stop the campus from entering into another quarantine? Will the rules be mandatory then?

A part of this responsibility falls on the students. As stated in a prior editorial, they also need to be proactive about holding each other accountable.

The full university experience is not a feasible outcome this semester and students expecting it to be should just pack their bags early. If they want some hope, they need to put today’s actions in context with next week’s or the week after.

On the university’s part moving forward, it needs to continue to communicate the situation when needed. It has accomplished this by adding more data to its online dashboard.

Last Friday, the university reported 230 students in isolation and quarantine. By Tuesday, the number had almost doubled. There was zero communication between those days, only speculation and confusion as students found out more dorm floors were under lockdown.

If we’ve learned anything throughout this pandemic it’s that situations evolve rapidly and being in the know can help make better long-term decisions.

This is not a situation to play by ear, which can endanger faculty, staff and students. Moving forward, we need to set specific goals on where we are going based on what we know. We need to be proactive.

This is not a situation to play by ear, which can endanger faculty, staff and students. Moving forward, we need to set specific goals on where we are going based on what we know. We need to be proactive.

 

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