Campus News News

The Student’s weekly check-in with Christine Johnston

By Danny Priest

Nationally, COVID-19 numbers are continuing to decline as the nation gets past winter spikes and all time high levels of positive cases. 

According to the New York Times, as of March 7 there has been an average of 58,745 cases per day, a decrease of 12 percent from the average two weeks earlier. This is an encouraging trend for the U.S. as a whole.

As it pertains to Springfield College, the school continues to do well this semester. Christine Johnston, the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Alcohol and Drug Education and Health Promotion stressed that even compared to the national picture, colleges are doing very well.

“I know that we’ve had a little bit of a spike in the numbers in the past week, but in general, college campuses’ positivity rate is extraordinarily lower than the general population positivity rate,” she said. “Even though the numbers look higher than in the fall semester, we’re really doing a phenomenal job.”

Johnston noted that as the spring weather approaches and more outdoor activities can begin to take place, that should only mean positive things for the campus.

She also highlighted that the school is seeing far more students vaccinated than they had originally believed would be the case coming into the semester.

As one would assume, this is very positive in regards to mitigating risks and decreasing the chance of widespread outbreaks on campus.

“We have a lot more students vaccinated on this campus than I think we anticipated and that’s going to have a really positive impact on our campus community,” she added.

A large part of the success so far this semester has been due to the effort to get students tested weekly, rather than the fall method of bi-weekly testing.

“Testing everybody, every week has helped keep the positivity rate low because it allows us to catch any positives early,” Johnston said. “If you’re tested every week and you have a positive test, we know you weren’t positive last week, so it really allows us to catch early and potentially quarantine close contacts if necessary.”

Johnston also added that as has become the norm, it is critical for students to report to their weekly testing and maintain small social groups on campus.

Diligence in following those guidelines will help keep students on campus through May.

Photo: Jack Margaros/The Student

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