Get the latest Syracuse news straight to your inbox.
Subscribe here to our newsletter.
Syracuse University students have returned to campus from outside Syracuse after Thanksgiving break. On November 19, before the break, SU reported 20 active COVID-19 cases. The Daily Orange asked students how they feel about the safety of COVID-19 when they return to campus.
Some students said they hope their peers remain aware of wearing their masks. Sam Kogan, a freshman at the Newhouse School of Public Communications, said wearing a mask is still a necessary precaution.
“It’s not because it’s almost Christmas that we can relax. COVID is still a big problem in our country… We have to stay strong and we will eventually get over it,” said Kogan.
Sophia Clinton, a sophomore at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said she is disappointed with the way the university has tested for COVID-19.
“I feel like it doesn’t really represent the investigative body very well,” Clinton said. “Overall, I think we’ve done better (with COVID-19), but I think it could be because we don’t have all the numbers (from mandatory weekly tests).”
A university spokesperson said in an email statement to The DO that starting Monday, the university will take steps to prepare and respond to ensure a safe return to campus. These actions include remaining at the “RED” level, thereby perpetuating SU’s requirement to wear masks indoors and out, in the presence of others.
The spokesperson also said the university plans to increase the percentage of the campus population selected for randomized testing. The university says it hopes that this measure will give them better insight into the contamination level, so that it can respond best if necessary.
The university spokesperson said SU will also improve wastewater testing, encourage community members to get a booster shot, and prepare to expand the testing center’s hours and capacity “if early data suggests that a more aggressive community testing protocol is warranted.”
Pratik Parihar, a first-year master’s student at the College of Engineering and Computer Science, also said that now is not the time to relax. He said people have started to take the COVID-19 protocols lightly in public settings since they got the vaccine.
“People take this for granted,” Parihar said.
A new strain of the coronavirus, omicron, was first identified in South Africa and is now of concern around the world. Scientists are trying to find out how contagious this variant is and whether it will affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency pending this potential spike of the ommicron variant.
Parihar said to be especially careful with COVID-19 because of the new variant.
“Now that the new variants are emerging, the mask policy must remain,” he said.
Azmery Afnan, a freshman Ph.D. student at SUNY-ESF, said variants should play a role in mask-wearing policies. He said that if variants start to spread regularly, wearing masks will help keep everyone safe.
Maya Goosmann | Digital Design Director
Christina Kaden, a freshman at Newhouse, said she wants students to consider the variant. “With the new variant, it (COVID-19 made) is a lot more stressful. But I’m hopeful that things will be better if not the same before the (Thanksgiving) break.”
With the high number of flu cases at SU, averaging 40-50 cases per day, some students worry that the university, especially the Barnes Center at The Arch, is only focusing on COVID-19 and other illnesses. Sophia Darsch, a sophomore at Newhouse and Maxwell, said the Barnes Center only cares if a student has COVID-19.
“They have relaxed the rules a lot. But again, health-wise, all they care about is COVID,” Darsch said.
Molly Gross, a senior at Falk College, said that while she feels safe, she thinks it would have been a good idea if the university tested all students for COVID-19 before returning to campus after Thanksgiving break. . However, she said she knows this is a big question as the university no longer conducts weekly COVID-19 testing.
Some SU students feel the university has done a good job dealing with COVID-19 on campus. Isabelle Lewis, a sophomore in ECS, said she believes the university is taking necessary precautions.
“(Compared to my friends’ schools), Syracuse has done a very good job mandating masks and making sure everyone follows the rules,” Lewis said.
Ainsley Maclachlan, a sophomore at Falk College, said that while traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, she is not overly concerned and feels safe with the low level of COVID-19. grades on campus.
Aidan Headrick, a junior in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, said he hasn’t thought about COVID-19 since he went back to school after recess.
“Honestly, I’m so focused on just the finals and school and so that I haven’t thought about it at all (COVID-19 concerns).”
Published on November 29, 2021 at 12:45 PM
Contact Kyle: [email protected] | @Kyle_Chouinard