COVID-19 protocols to continue

Rhonda Wheeler, Editor-in-Chief

Fall semester started eight weeks ago and students here are still on campus.

Provost Mohammed Khayum said the plan for reopening campus and staying at school involves the COVID-19 task force to monitor a combination of things.

“We ended up looking at the occurrence of the disease, but also the spread as well as the prevalence,” he said.

The university also looks at how severe the cases are. More severe cases include hospitalization and the use of equipment like ventilators or intensive care units.

The university is nowhere near a severe situation on campus.

 Khayum said in order for the campus to shut down, there would have to be over 100 cases a day on campus.

“We typically have numbers in the range of 20 to 40 per week,” the provost said. “So we’re in for five to six per day on average.”

The provost said there was greater concern about the idea of going online again after Labor Day because of how high the numbers were.

After Labor Day, there were 55 reported cases. This is the second highest week we’ve seen. Through Sept. 20-26, there were 56 cases. 

“We feel very fortunate with the support of our students and employees to be where we are, to continue classes, monitoring what we have,” he said. “We’re very attentive to what’s happening in the community at large because that is driving a lot more concern right now, as opposed to what is happening purely on our campus community.”

In an email sent to the USI community, President Rochon confirmed that all current COVID-19 practices and protocols will remain in effect for the remainder of the semester. These protocols will also be in effect for the beginning of the spring semester.

Some of the protocols include face coverings, social distancing, signage on campus and the water fountains being closed.

The protocols will remain until public health officials say they are no longer necessary to protect the health and safety of the community.

The email also said there are people not wearing masks inside buildings and gathering in large groups without social distancing.

“We need you to keep doing your part to keep our community safe and our campus open and active,” the email said.