By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer
As we approach a month of being back in person, the dangers of COVID-19 still loom over students at Washington College.
With a new variant spreading, it is only natural that students are wary. According to the Associated Press, “So far, the mu variant doesn’t seem to be spreading quickly…[but] most countries remain concerned about the highly contagious delta variant.”
In the next few weeks, the College is hosting several events that could attract visitors from off campus who may potentially be unvaccinated. This could ruin how well the WC community has handled the College’s COVID-19 guidelines.
If an outbreak were to occur, it would derail the lives of students who are finally adjusting back to in-person learning and being around others. Students are concerned that all their work to follow COVID-19 protocols will be for nothing with these events happening.
“I find it rather disconcerting that the school could potentially allow 100 plus friends and family to enter campus that either are not vaccinated or have contracted COVID-19 but are more concerned with seeing their child than with the safety of other students and faculty,” senior Kitri Post said. As a senior, this is her last opportunity to enjoy two semesters on campus and it would be unfortunate if she would not get to experience that.
“I want to see our community thriving again, but bringing people from around the country, without any kind of mandatory COVID-19 screening or the like, feels unsafe. If we are dedicated to keeping our friends and families safe, safety precautions need to be set in place, no exceptions,” Post said.
According to juniors Kaitlyn Tourin and Julia Totis, they are afraid that these events will spread COVID-19 and prevent them from continuing their junior year in person.
“As juniors, we haven’t had a full year in person. The last thing I would want is for there to be a COVID-19 outbreak and we would be forced to stay in our dorms,” Totis said.
Students aren’t allowed to have overnight visitors, yet the college can allow over 100 families on Campus with no COVID-19 protocol in place except a mask requirement?
If a student wants to have an overnight visitor, they are likely to know and trust that that person is vaccinated and following COVID-19 protocols, whereas with Fall Family Weekend and open houses, there is no real guarantee that these people are following COVID-19 protocols and are fully vaccinated.
Students want to be able to have Student Events Board events, Greek life philanthropy events, and go to sports games — but having so many people on campus could cause those events to be cancelled due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
As a member of Greek life, I am looking forward to all the fun philanthropy events to come in the next month for both sororities and fraternities, and I would hate for them to be limited due to the presence of COVID-19 on campus.
The College is determined to keep the COVID-19 spread down, but can they really keep us safe while not requiring all visitors to be vaccinated? Where is the guarantee that these guests will follow protocol? Students and faculty should not have to be “mask police” at events.
If the College does not want to risk a COVID-19 spread, especially as the weather gets colder, it would be best to have all visitors go through testing like students, show proof of vaccination, and — of course — wear their masks properly.