The Ursinus Response to COVID-19

Julia Paiano,

 Ursinus has been recognized in the region for its aggressiveness in its COVID-19 approach—there was even an article written in The Philadelphia Inquirer that detailed our school’s COVID-19 strategy. Some of the school’s plans include classes being held in outdoor tents, to-go dining only (which was lifted as of 9/20 but there are still dining restrictions), and mandatory weekly testing. Ursinus also has a class structure model similar to other nearby colleges, where most students have a mixture of online and in-person classes, and some of the courses are hybrid. As someone who is currently living on campus and able to witness the protocol first-hand, there are a lot of evident changes in campus life. I believe that Ursinus’ COVID-19 response is much better than what we have seen from other schools which have had lack of testing and continuous partying. At Ursinus, some of the most effective guidelines have been the mandatory weekly testing, to-go packaging from both Lower and Upper, and the mandatory use of masks. However, there are still areas for improvement. As someone who tends to do their coursework later in the day, closing the library at 8pm, Monday through Thursday feels very ineffective and insensitive to the present times. Students are already struggling with adjusting to such a hectic and unfamiliar environment on campus that limiting one of the most popular study spaces during the times when students would utilize it the most seems counterproductive. Another issue is the lack of disinfecting supplies available to students. To ensure that disinfecting is being done, there should be resources to disinfect the primary surfaces we all come in contact with. Rather than having to guess if these areas have been disinfected as I have to do right now, it would be beneficial if students were provided with some type of personal disinfectant so we could clean these surfaces ourselves and be certain they are clean. Maybe I am just being too imaginative, but it would have been favorable for students to receive more supplies for the present times. Each student being provided with more than one mask would lower risks of students wearing already dirty masks. Also, more bottles of hand sanitizer and gloves would be advantageous. Just a thought. However, overall Ursinus’ efforts appear to be much stronger than what we have seen from campuses across the country. Although it may not be perfect and there are some prime areas in need of improvement, our mandatory testing will be key these coming months. Please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and follow all CDC guidelines.