The Future of COVID at Misericordia University

The Future of COVID at Misericordia University

Emma Blakiewicz, Reporter

With the second anniversary of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic fast approaching and the height of infections surpassing levels thought catastrophic in the beginning (according to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly one in five Americans have tested positive for the virus), the Misericordia University community has taken measures to control the spread of the virus and maintain a healthy environment for all.

As of January 2022, masks are required indoors and it is strongly encouraged that every student be vaccinated and boosted. If a student chooses to forego vaccination, he or she must submit a negative test every week.

In these unpredictable times, many in the community wonder about the next steps.

When asked about the future of the mask mandate, Vice President of Student Affairs Kit Foley said, “The Cougar Care team will continue to evaluate COVID conditions and review current guidance to determine if adjustments to the masking requirements should be made. We understand that people are tired of wearing masks but that is one of our most important mitigation efforts, allowing us to conduct face-to-face classes and programs.

Foley explained why wearing masks is so important, especially now.

“The current variants are highly transmissible so we don’t expect to reduce the masking requirement until it is safe to do so,” she said. “By wearing a mask, you are protecting others. We ask that everyone continue to follow the current masking requirements in order to keep each other safe.

“One more thing, it is extremely important to mask in the fitness room; it is one of the highest risk areas on campus,” Foley added. “Consistent masking enables us to keep the fitness room open for the MU community to use.”

Foley explains the use of Dashboard to help track COVID cases.

“The university updates our Dashboard weekly,” she said. “The Dashboard indicates the number of new COVID cases each week, along with the total

number of individuals who are out because they are isolated from others. You can get to the dashboard very easily from my MU, just click the Dashboard button.”

Foley also explained changes of requirements from the CDC.

“You now must be up-to-date on your vaccination,” she said. (Up-to-date means receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or receiving all necessary boosters once eligible.) “If you are not up-to-date on your vaccinations (and are exposed to Covid-19), you will be identified as an exposure by the Cougar Care team and required to quarantine.”

Finally, Foley reminds students to remember the basics:

· If you are not feeling well, do not go to class and complete the symptom tracker (you can find this on MyMU).

· Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.

· Mask indoors, especially if you are in crowded areas.

· Don’t hang out indoors where people are not wearing masks.

· Get vaccinated or boosted if you are eligible.

The university will hold a COVID vaccination clinic from 11:30 to 2 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 25 in Rooms 218 and 219 of Insalaco Hall for all students wishing to receive their first and second dose, as well as a booster, if eligible.