By Carin Holmes
After a fall semester spent battling rising COVID-19 cases, KU is finally seeing lower case numbers.
Both on-campus and off-campus student cases have seen a drop of more than 100 cases as of the end of week 13 compared to week 13 in the fall semester, according to data compiled from weekly updates from KU.
While student cases have seen a significant decrease, employee cases have seen a slight rise.
“I really commend our campus for using the protocols put in place,” said Bryan Salvadore, KU’s emergency management team deputy chair. He cites social distancing, mask wearing and expanded testing as some of the most impactful things in the campus community’s fight against COVID-19.
Before moving in, KU tested all students who were living in the residence halls. They have also made COVID-19 testing available on every wellness day for all students and staff to get tested even if they do not have symptoms.
Salvadore said that their expanded testing opportunities for students and staff helped them learn of cases before any spread occurred.
Student Government Board (SGB) President Agostino D’Ancona echoes Salvadore’s sentiments. “Our mass testing that we have done this semester has really helped identify cases.”
D’Ancona said that they were interested in doing mass testing in the fall semester but were ultimately unable to.
“When we first started in the fall, it was a learning period and time of change,” said Cody Moyer, assistant director of housing and dining services. Moyer believes students living on campus have become much better at following the COVID-19 protocols put in place such as masks in rooms, limited visitation and social distancing.
When asked why employee cases are on the rise, Salvadore said that some employee cases are individuals who have not stepped foot on campus at all this semester. He also said that KU has not seen any COVID-19 cases tracked back to the classroom.
Salvadore said he is thankful that as the pandemic progressed, they have been able to expand the Emergency Management Team to student leaders, faculty leaders, administrators and health personnel. He is hopeful and looking forward to finishing out the spring semester with a successful in-person commencement event.
D’Ancona said he wants to see current protocols such as mass testing and mask wearing remain in place for the fall semester. He encourages every student to get vaccinated but acknowledges that with vaccination becoming such a “red and blue” issue that not everyone will. He therefore believes it is important to keep the protocols in place in the fall to ensure that all students and staff are safe.
Plans for the fall semester are not yet set in stone, according to D’Ancona. He said they will continue to look for guidance from the federal and state governments to make plans for the fall and that students with suggestions or concerns should contact the SGB or KU administration.