Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor
With only two weeks left of class, students are beginning to wonder about COVID’s effect on the spring 2021 semester.
After this compressed semester, students are seeing the positives and negatives of a compressed, hybrid semester, additionally, they saw how COVID still persisted despite the precautions. With students preparing to go home for the winter break, there is a rising concern for taking the virus home or bringing it back in the spring.
Nothing had been confirmed about testing for students and staff returning in the spring, but the University of Lynchburg Health Services sent out an email with information about free COVID testing before Winter break. The email started with, “The Health Center has partnered with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to offer free COVID testing prior to students returning home for winter break. Students wishing to take advantage of this service must pre-register using the link below.” The message included the link for registration and also states the location, “Hall Campus Center, Memorial Ballroom,” and time “Nov. 11, 2020 … 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.” There is also a bulleted point explaining that the test is only for those who do not have symptoms.
Attached along with the email was a graphic flyer with tips and guidance on returning home when the semester is over. The graphic recommends isolating as a precaution and also getting tested somewhere else if not through the school, even if you are not experiencing symptoms to protect the members of your household. The existence of this free testing before the break is offering hope to some students about the chances of pre-semester testing in the spring.
Max Rivers, a senior Chemistry, Biomed, and Statistics major with a minor in mathematics, is a commuter who is native to Lynchburg. Rivers said that “[i]f the [spring testing] rumors are true, then I would definitely be in favor. I think the majority of us want to have in-person classes and activities in the spring. I think the safest and most effective way to do that is with testing. If we catch the virus early and quarantine, I think we stay in person/hybrid during the semester.”
He also explained that if the school requires returning students to test, “[t]he school absolutely is obligated to provide testing services to students. If a student has to be on campus for any reason, then they should have access to [COVID] testing. Or, better put, I think they are entitled to a safe environment which requires the testing of people around them. We put a lot of trust in the school to keep us safe. Providing testing services should be part of that.”
Rivers has faith in the school handling COVID in the spring, saying, “Overall, I think the school has done a pretty good job of handling COVID-19 this semester. Unlike some of the bigger schools, we have been allowed to have a few in-person classes without major outbreaks. I considered this to be a success.”
Students with outstanding questions or concerns about the school’s COVID procedures should email the Health Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.