COVID-19 cases remain steady throughout semester

During the week of Oct. 6, only a single case of COVID-19 was reported on campus. Previously, two were recorded. This keeps the total number of COVID-19 cases reported on campus this semester in the single digits. This is a stark contrast to previous semesters, as upwards of 30 cases were seen. 

April Christman, director of student health, and Keith Moore, vice president for campus life and operational management, attribute this to two factors: vaccines and resilient students. According to Christman and Moore, the pandemic took the toll anyone would expect on campus life and mental health, but students’ hopes to return to normal has motivated them to take care of themselves and those around them by masking up properly and respecting precautions. 

“The students are the ones that did this, and our success last year was because of them,” Moore said. “We’re all in the same boat rowing in the same direction, if everyone understands that we’re going to be successful and we’re going to have a good year.”

VWU has been keeping up with CDC, WHO and Virginia Beach Department of Health recommendations to help shape guidelines on campus. In the event of another spike in cases, Moore states that VWU is prepared to add more precautions, up to and including remote instruction. However, students and staff alike have expressed their dislike of remote instruction, so Moore hopes the downward trend continues so life can return to “the safest normal possible on campus.”

Non-vaccinated students are still required to test regularly for their safety and that of those around them. Christman feels that everyone understands the integrity of their decisions in these cases and encourages everyone to continue using the Live Safe app to report any symptoms or exposures. 

“We honored those situations but we did vet it to ensure it was done safely,” Christman said. “And that has been effective. We have them doing routine testing and reporting symptoms and masking and just kind of touching in a little bit closer. But it ensures their safety as well as others because we want to think of the community but also think of our individual students.”

In reviewing transmission trends from previous semesters, Moore pointed out that transmission has been predominantly from individuals residing off campus. In the past, one positive case typically resulted in many more, between roommates, teams and classes, but this semester each case seems to be isolated to one or two. 

“What we’re seeing is that predominantly it’s commuter students, faculty and staff,” Moore said. “Which means the volatility is off campus and that’s why we need to be careful in all that we do, not just what we do while we’re at Virginia Wesleyan.“

By: Will Zimmerman-Farkas