By Kaitlin Dunn
As life on the Washington College campus continues on, many students have begun to worry about the increasing number of COVID-19 variants that have to appeared globally.
With classes being entirely in-person and events such as Shoremal and Phi Delta Theta “Crab Feast” upcoming, many students and faculty have concerns regarding what the increasing number of variants means as we go forward with life on campus.
One of the first objectives of defense that will allow us to continue life on campus is protecting yourself from COVID-19 on the most basic level.
“Everyone who can should get vaccinated if they have not already done so. Vaccines have proven to prevent the serious cases of COVID. Vaccinated individuals who get COVID seem to improve quicker and have fewer symptoms than unvaccinated people,” Director of Health Services, Lisa Marx said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is currently four different variants that are of concern to the United States. They are alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants.
“FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines protect against delta and other known variants. These vaccines are effective at keeping people from getting COVID-19, getting very sick, and dying,” said the CDC.
In addition to getting vaccinated, WC administration advocates for procautions like wearing masks and social distancing in order to continue keeping campus operations as normal as possible.
However, they understand that there are in fact some exceptions that may make it so a person is unable to get vaccinated.
“Students can’t be sure they are not spreading variants so they need to be smart and unselfish and consider the situation and surroundings. Not everyone can get the vaccine and you don’t know if the person next to you in a class or lab is in that situation. Be respectful and don’t judge,” Marx said.
In regards to continued operations on campus, the College has reinstated the COVID-19 alert levels, as well as the COVID-19 dashboard.
“In order to be as prepared as possible for the potential to scale COVID operations up or down, we have updated our Alert Levels, and will once again be tracking key metrics to determine where we are on any given day. This data includes the number of positive cases, COVID outbreaks, and community transmission rates, among others,” the Continguency Planning Group said in the update from Sept. 10.
In addition to the updated dashboard, there also comes a new alert level, blue.
“Blue would represent a scaling down of our requirements, allowing those who are fully vaccinated to operate with no COVID guidelines in places,” the CPG update said
In the worst-case scenario, the school is prepared to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions in order to best protect the student body and the Kent County population.
“One thing we have learned about COVID is that it is a ‘disease of change.’ We have to be prepared to be flexible. We have to prepare to be stricter with COVID requirements if the situation calls for it. For example, outbreaks on campus could send us back into a different alert level and services would have to change,” Marx said.
Presently, WC is at an alert level Green, and operations are still going forward as planned. In order to best ensure that the semester remains as is, it is important to follow the rules in place to protect yourself and others.
Photo by Izze Rios