COVID-19 cases climb within higher education

COVID-19 cases climb within higher education

At colleges and universities across the country, there are over 252,000 reported COVID-19 cases.

The New York Times recorded that 80 deaths have happened at college campuses, most recently, Bethany Nesbitt, a student from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana.

Goshen College’s COVID-19 cases have remained constant following the recent increase in surveillance testing.

As of Nov. 11, there are nine cases in isolation and 22 quarantined individuals. This brings the cumulative positive cases to 93 since Aug. 17. The Pandemic Task Force said last week saw the lowest number of new positive cases since mid-September.

This comes as Elkhart County’s numbers reach new heights.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, the county is averaging 606 weekly cases per 100,000 residents and the positivity of all tests is 15.8%. The cumulative total is 12,630 cases since the pandemic started.

With this in mind, the Pandemic Task Force reiterated in last Friday’s COVID-19 update that, “while many people who test positive for COVID-19 do not have severe illness, this is not true for all, including among young adults.”

The update celebrated the improvement campus has shown recently, but also served as a reminder to stay engaged in healthy practices.

To help encourage compliance with the Big Four, the Pandemic Task Force created a form for students to anonymously report other students for violations of the Big Four and quarantine/isolation rules. As of Nov. 9, they had received over 172 submissions on the non-compliance form.

This week the task force added another dimension to the non-compliance reports by setting a punishment for repeat violations. In an email sent to the student body, the task force said, “Any student reported multiple times on different days for not wearing a mask while inside campus buildings or deemed in violation of our quarantine and isolation rules will be fined $20 to their student account.”

They cited concerns with the current public health situation and feedback about student behavior on campus as rationale for the new penalty system. The goal is to “increase our vigilance and commitment to the Big Four.”

The fines will be increased if continued disregard for campus COVID-19 policies is observed.

The Pandemic Task Force hopes these measures will help keep everyone safe and healthy for the rest of the semester.

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Written by Jackson Steinmetz, Contributing Writer

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