COVID outbreak caps turbulent first week of spring semester

Juliana Collins, Contributing Writer

The University campus was able to successfully remain open during the Fall 2020 semester with mandatory COVID-19 testing every two weeks, as well as the isolation of individuals in an off-campus hotel who either tested positive for COVID-19 or had been contact traced. The University is continuing to monitor the active cases on campus while also remaining informed on the global spread of the virus beyond campus.

In order for the University to continue to offer on-campus residential living and learning, they have adopted new protocols. All students are required to take weekly COVID-19 tests through the month of February. These tests are scheduled through an application called Aura, where results can be emailed directly to the students. Students who do not comply with the mandatory testing will be required to depart from campus and switch to remote learning.

In addition to the weekly COVID-19 testing, the University has distributed a list of student expectations, a spring semester ‘Guide to Campus Life’ and a spring student guide to isolation, quarantining and contact tracing in order to effectively remind all students what is being required of them while living on campus.

The University website contains a COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated daily and shows newly reported COVID-19 positive tests among students, faculty and staff in the community. As of Feb. 10, there have been 49 on-campus positives among the student body and 27 among faculty and staff since returning to campus this semester. This is significantly more student cases compared to the number of cases during the first week of last semester. To contain the spread of the virus, classes have to transitioned to remote for a week beginning on Feb. 5. Bertrand Library and the Kenneth Langone Athletics & Recreation Center (KLARC) remain open, but sports practices are on hold for the week.

University President John Bravman recently wrote an email to all students in response to the new COVID-19 cases on campus. “In the face of this virus, we must try our best to control what is in our power to control. That’s the best we can do, and that’s all I’m asking,” Bravman wrote.

Bravman urged the entire student body to work together and comply with all the new guidelines and protocols in order to have a successful experience on campus this spring semester. “I know that we have the ability as Bucknellians to do everything in our power to get through this as a community. Many of you have expressed a strong need to be here. To make that happen, we need to do this. Together.”

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