Shelsea Deravil (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 27, Ursinus College President Brock Blomberg and the COVID Task Force sent a school-wide email about results from weekly on-campus COVID testing. It said, “there were 11 new positives from Monday, all of whom were students.” The prior week’s testing–the first for the spring semester–saw only a one percent rate of positive results. The rise in cases led the college to decide to conduct another round of testing on Thursday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Jan. 29.
In addition, residence halls have returned to restricted visitations and lockdown until further notice. Although these results were somewhat expected, given that many students and faculty were returning from winter break vacations, the fact that they came at the beginning of the semester prompted many to worry about what lies ahead. Consequently, the Residential Advisors (RA) duty team sent out a school-wide email soon after Communications. All New, North, and Reimert Hall residents could reach their designated RAs via Microsoft Teams for the remainder of the week. The task of meeting residents onscreen to discuss serious matters, or conduct hall meetings for the time being, has left RAs anxious. “It’s definitely [been] a new experience…the public chat [hasn’t become] too overwhelming [yet] but you never know,” said RA Sianneh Vesslee. “I do appreciate Reslife keeping RAs in the loop, being transparent and updating us quickly.” Another RA, Arthur Artene, also stated that despite “not being able to deal with a problem in the traditional [RA] way, the [duty] team will do [its best to keep] everyone and ourselves safe. The fear of the unknown is the [only] best way to describe the current situation.”
Ursinus students took the Abbott’s BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests, another nasal swab form, that reveal results within 15 minutes. Those testing positive followed up with a PCR test this past Saturday and immediate isolated quarantining. The COVID Task Force team also announced that contact tracing will commence after PCR results have been confirmed this weekend.