Opinion

SVSU’s COVID policies shouldn’t be easing up

SVSU is disregarding the safety of its campus community with the new changes to the NEST protocols.

In an email recently sent out to the SVSU community we were informed that there were updates to the NEST policies. Some of these updates include no longer requiring masks regardless of vaccination status in indoor spaces on campus (with exception to classrooms, labs, auditoriums and the library). They are also no longer requiring unvaccinated students to be tested for COVID-19.

These changes come because of the so called ‘improving conditions’ that have been seen in COVID cases in Michigan as well as in our campus community.

I don’t feel as though things have really improved at all.

Another thing that was shared in the email sent out by the university it says that the on-campus testing for unvaccinated individuals had recorded zero positive cases over the past seven days (the email was sent on Feb. 11).

It seems misleading of the university, in that email, to only share the numbers of those campus members to us, when there are other campus members out there who did test positive during that time frame, they just got tested off campus.

For example, last week about half of my department was out either because they had COVID or because they had been exposed to it.

Some of these were students who live on campus and are active members of the campus community. These are students who had to go and stay in isolation dorms, so clearly the university was aware of it.

Just because they didn’t go and get tested on campus doesn’t make their results any less impactful than an unvaccinated student who did get tested on campus.

It’s as though the university doesn’t want us to consider the actual number of COVID cases occurring. They only want us to see where things are improving.

And yes, you can go and look at the NEST website to see the number of cases. But most people aren’t going to do that.

Most people are going to read the email and think that no one on campus is testing positive. This is leading to us having an uninformed campus community.

There are also many people who still are coming to class sick. So now, with the requirement to wear a mask in general areas gone it’s putting more and more people at risk.

I’m speaking from personal experience. As a commuter once I’m on campus I stay here between my classes and spend a lot of time in the general areas.

One of my peers came to multiple classes sick last week and I know that I was around them in one of the general areas.

If they hadn’t been required to wear a mask, I would’ve been put at even more risk to catching what they had.

Without the push/requirement for people to be tested how many more students are going to put others at risk by attending class while sick.

I know there are a lot of students who come to class sick because they are afraid to miss class, and their professors don’t offer virtual options.

This isn’t something that should be allowed either. All professors should have some form of virtual option for their students to use if they are feeling ill.

While this isn’t something I’ve had an issue with, as all of my professors are adamant on students staying home when their sick and they provide us all with online options. But I do have peers and have heard from my roommates that their professors aren’t quite as understanding.

I just don’t see how the university can say they have the campus community’s best interests and health in mind when they are taking away protocols that protected us as well as not enforcing an environment where students feel comfortable missing a day because they are sick.

If they were really concerned about our health and safety, they would leave the protocols in place and continue to take COVID cases seriously.

For example, one of my peers who tested positive last week reported their case on Feb. 7 to the COVID report email and they weren’t contacted back until the following day, Feb. 8, and moved to an isolation dorm.

It shouldn’t have taken so long to move the student to the isolation dorms. This means they had even more time to potentially risk their roommates’ health.

Of course, they were able to self-isolate, but there’s still the risk of being in the same living space.

We need to continue taking COVID seriously and even if conditions are improving, it shows that what was being done doing was working.

So why stop now.

Categories: Opinion

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