Students throughout the world are amidst one of the strangest semesters in history. Classes are mostly online, events are virtual and social gatherings are almost non-existent. All of these changes are a result of COVID-19; a pandemic affecting millions and killing over 221,000 people in the U.S. alone.
How is the pandemic affecting students at Utah State University Eastern? The campus has been affected in many ways. Fall sports were halted or postponed to spring semester. Hallmark events like Lite Bright, True Eagle and the Foam Dance were canceled. Many students were quarantined in their dorm rooms for two weeks from exposure to coronavirus.
Students who were exposed or shown symptoms related to COVID-19 are asked to fill out a questionnaire and self isolate for the 14-day incubation period of the virus regardless of a negative test result.
The virus presents itself differently in each person. If a test is taken prematurely, it may produce a negative result even if the student is infected. That 14-day self isolation allows university officials to ensure there isn’t an outbreak on campus.
According to the Southeast Utah Health Department, 10 cases have been reported on the Eastern campus fall semester. All 10 of those cases are considered recovered. Upwards of 50 students have been quarantined to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many of those being students involved in athletics. Both the mens and womens basketball teams reported quarantined students. The volleyball, softball and mens soccer teams also reported student quarantines. Student Ambassadors also found members in quarantine.
Along with case monitoring, waste water testing is being used once a week to monitor traces of the virus. This form of testing can detect the virus up to six days before the infected individual begins to exhibit symptoms.
The students who are asked to self isolate are asked to enroll in the food-delivery program. Enrolled students receive meals daily to their dorm. Dining service employees and residence life assistants can be seen preparing and delivering meals multiple times a day. The meals are provided free to students, regardless of meal plan allowances.
Students are encouraged to reach out to counseling and mental health services during this time. The pandemic can cause stress and mental strain for students. These services are offered free to students and are available online at aggiewellness.usu.edu/
This semester is far from ordinary. With the resources available, students have a devoted team ready to assist them through it and towards future success.