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Cool-Weather COVID

Lauren Baker

            COVID-19 has been a major issue for nearly a year now. The pandemic has spread across the country and the globe, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Vaccines may be in development, but until then the best way to combat this (often deadly) disease is to adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing protocols. 

Shenandoah has been more than competent in their methods of prevention and protection. Constant sanitizing, mask requirements, and outdoor classes have all been major parts of college life this semester. Daily symptom checks and COVID testing have also played their part. Yet, as the year draws closer to its end, students, faculty, and staff may need to adapt.

In previous months, the warmer weather allowed for social distancing and relative safety within public health guidelines—for example, classes have often been held outside. But what happens when the weather gets colder? Students and professors had interesting opinions on the subject.

“I think a lot will just have to be done online”, says Exercise Science Major Mary Debolt. And she is right. With the issues presented by COVID-19, it may be safer to continue as much work online as possible. 

Dr. Jessica O’Shaughnessy of the CAS Office of Student Success and Advising agrees: “I think were gonna probably see students having to be remote a bit more than we have up to this point”.

 This may have other consequences, aside from the rearranged breaks that most are already aware of: “I guess now we won’t have any, like, snow days…People are just gonna have to, like, spend a lot of time in their dorms if they get snowed in”, Mary comments.

With the cold weather comes seasonal outbreaks of other illnesses, mainly the common cold and various strains of the flu. 

“We’re gonna probably end up seeing a lot more people with colds and flus…I think we’re gonna find that we’re gonna have lot less students in class. I think were probably gonna have  more red passes”, Dr. O’Shaughnessy explains.

Already responsible for many absences among students in a normal year, it can be assumed that the emergence of these diseases will be handled under the same umbrella as COVID-19. 

The symptom checker on the Shenandoah Go App already gives red passes for any symptoms that may be COVID-19. This includes traits that belong to the cold and the flu: coughing, sneezing, fever, etc. 

Therefore, there may actually be less of an issue with the two seasonal “bugs” than in previous years—though this is mere speculation at present.

Shenandoah continues to do its utmost to keep its students, staff, and faculty healthy in this pandemic. Safety measures have been rather effective so far, and with luck, we will weather the coming cold without more trouble.

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