With the first round of mass COVID-19 testing finished and only one positive case was discovered out of over two thousand tests, Springfield College students may have felt a little more relaxed as they settle into their new world of hybrid class learning.
In order to keep the numbers low, though, students cannot get too comfortable and stop following the rules as they have been thus far.
Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Alcohol & Other Drug Education and Health Promotion Christine Johnston stated that she thought the Springfield College community has been doing a great job following social distancing guidelines for the past several days on campus.
“I think, in general, everybody’s doing a really good job… we can’t get lax, and that’s really important that we don’t give up on all of the hard work that we’ve been doing,” said Johnston.
“We have to keep doing it through the rest of the semester… The best thing that I can say is I know our students, they live our mission [and] they know our mission. If we can continue to live our mission about serving others, all of the hard work we’re doing in terms of physical distancing, wearing masks, getting tested, all that stuff is really about serving others.”
Unfortunately, not all colleges and universities are as lucky as Springfield. Numerous schools have had to send their students home across the country due to spikes in COVID-19 cases on their campuses, and Springfield College students certainly want to stay on campus.
“I think [how long we stay] is going to depend on what everybody does,” stated Johnston. “Small choices affect the entire community, it doesn’t take much for a few people to basically screw it up for the rest of us. I do think we have a better chance than other institutions because of the fact that our students are living the mission… I just think that if we all don’t do what we’re supposed to do, then nobody makes it to the end of November.”
As for another round of mass coronavirus testing, similar to the testing students participated in upon arrival to campus, it can be expected that testing will occur so commonly, it will become a part of regular college life.
Fall student athletes will be tested every week, abiding by NCAA regulations, and fifty percent of the entire student body will be tested every other week for the rest of the semester.
“Students will be receiving information about the next round of testing within the next couple of days…. We’re going to be doing a lot of testing, and students are going to be assigned which week, but then we’re going to be asking students their day and their time slot so that they can choose times that work with their academic schedule,” said Johnston.
It’s not as if the singular positive case on campus will be the only positive case Springfield College sees; the students are a constantly-moving population that filters on and off campus every day.
The Health Center expects the number of cases to rise soon, but it is believed that if students stay away from large groups, follow six-feet-apart social distancing guidelines, and wear their masks properly, the effects will not be drastic enough to send the students home.
“We ask everybody to be vigilant, not only about themselves and their own choices and behaviors, and do everything to reduce their own risk, but we also all have the ability to talk to the rest of the campus community,” concluded Johnston. “If students see a fellow student without their mask on, or wearing their mask below their nose, [they should] feel like they have the authority to say, ‘Hey, put your mask on!’ or ‘Hey, pull your mask up!’ because it really is going to take everyone on campus to stay for the semester.”
The “Weekly Dashboard of Test Cases Conducted at Springfield College” stating the amount of positive cases on campus (along with the amount of tests administered and more), can be found on the Springfield College official website by clicking on the green banner at the top of the screen, along with much more information regarding the coronavirus.
Photo: Joe Arruda/The Student