Is it too early for the University to be going back to athletics and in person classes?

Peyton Dripps, Contributing Writer

On Feb. 25, University President John C. Bravman updated the University community through an email sharing the decrease in active COVID-19 cases on campus. With the record breaking number of 265 students in isolation housing during the week of Feb. 14-20, many restrictions were put in place in order to limit the transmission of the virus. Bravman shared his gratitude towards students’ efforts to decrease the transmission rate on campus and communicated his plans for allowing in-person instruction to resume, along with athletic activities. Bravman explained that although the number of active COVID-19 cases has significantly decreased in the last week, it is essential that some restrictions continue even while others are lifted.

In his email to the University, Bravman recommended that students wear two face masks for protection from the virus. He expects students to continue social distancing, washing hands and the sanitation of desks in classrooms and laboratories. With the significant decline in COVID-19 cases on campus, Bravman shared that he is happy to announce that athletic activities will resume on Feb. 26 and “we continue to explore opportunities to relocate athletics events to other schools when possible, and we remain in compliance with the strict COVID-19 policies in place across the Patriot League that govern both practice and competition.” Along with the resumption of athletic activities, he also announced that students will be allowed to attend in-person classes starting Feb. 26. It is encouraged that students attend in-person classes – as it allows for the best teaching and learning environment – but students can choose whether they will stay remote or attend in-person instruction based on their individual comfort level. As of March 3, 318 COVID-19 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the semester. With students and faculty members continuing efforts to limit the spread of the virus, isolation housing now has 73 percent availability compared to the 25 percent availability during the week of February 18. 

Throughout the spring semester, Bertrand Library and the Kenneth Langone Athletic and Recreation Center (KLARC) have remained open with reduced capacity; these environments allow students to leave their residential buildings and remain active in safe spaces. While some restrictions continue, Bravman also addressed that we are ending our temporary policy of quarantining on campus. Students who are currently quarantining on campus will complete their quarantine on campus. Beginning today, however, on-campus students who are identified as close contacts or who are symptomatic will quarantine in University-provided isolation housing.” Students are still required to be tested once a week until further notice and the 24 hour testing turnaround will remain active. With the use of a faster testing turnaround, the transmission rate of the virus will hopefully decline as students will receive their test results within 24 hours of taking the COVID-19 test. 

Bravman concluded his email to the University community by sharing that the recent decline in our positive COVID-19 cases is the direct result of your increased attention to safety measures, but cannot become a reason to let down your guard,” and “I am grateful for your dedication.” Although there has been a significant decline in active COVID-19 cases, community members are encouraged to continue following the restrictions and protocols in order to keep everyone safe. Permitting students to attend in-person classes and resume athletic activities allows for increases in mental and physical health during these hard times. 

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