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OPINION: App State is erasing COVID

OPINION%3A+App+State+is+erasing+COVID

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COVID-19 is not gone, not by a long shot. New variants called EG 5 & BA.2.86, nicknamed Eris and Pirola, are spreading quickly across the world with similar symptoms and effects as the original strain. 

One noticeable thing about campus is the lack of sanitation supplies throughout the buildings. Many academic buildings don’t have hand sanitizer stations anymore, and the mounted pumps vary in being filled or not. Not having consistent hand sanitization around campus gives no alternative to keeping dirty hands until one goes to the restroom. There are also limited supplies of disinfecting wipes, making it hard to clean shared classrooms before and after classes. Having more wipes would help disinfect germs and provide a clean environment for everyone to use. Additionally, there are barely any trash cans in classrooms or corridors to be able to throw trash away. People are expected to hold onto their trash, tissues, and other nasty things until they find a trash can, and even then it remains in their hands until they clean up. If these items can be provided for campus, it would benefit everyone, and allow for more safe practices to keep us all healthy and safe. 

There is little to no information about COVID-19 policies on the App States website, which is alarming. When you go to the website and search for “COVID-19,” there is very little information dedicated to informing students or staff about App State COVID policies or any initiatives taken to help reduce the spread. There isn’t even a link directed to the CDC, which App State claims is their guideline policy

The expectancy for students to know this information immediately or search the internet without clarity is unacceptable. The lack of information puts a strain on students who are either positive for COVID, have been exposed or live with someone with the virus. The policies and initiatives that App State claims to have should be located in an easily accessible format on the homepage to ease students’ anxiety and fears.

Lastly, not all syllabi and course attendance policies include or mention COVID policies, instead, it’s optional for professors to include. The syllabus’ intentions are to inform students about their professor’s policies in order to adhere to them, but without a COVID policy included, they become moot. In the case of a positive COVID test or exposure, students shouldn’t have to reach out and wait for their teacher’s response about how to proceed. Many professors won’t excuse absences unless a positive COVID test is shown. At the same time, some don’t show leniency and require students to attend class sick. Multiple professors have adopted a strict policy of limited unexcused absences, with penalties ranging from a letter grade drop to failing the course. Students need to be allowed to have excused absences and modifications for missing classes due to illnesses that require isolation. In this day, it is irresponsible to require students to come to class knowing they are contagious to everyone. 

While App State does have some COVID procedures available, like wellness meal pickups and free COVID tests, it is not enough to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone on campus safe. The university has an obligation, and so far they have not been able to do it proficiently. A massive surge should not be the only way the school pays attention or does something about it. The virus has not ended or been eliminated, and the university acting like it has is dangerous. 

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About the Contributors
Emily Escobedo Ramirez, Opinion Writer
Emily Escobedo Ramirez (she/they) is a sophomore from Durham, NC. She is a Communication Studies major. This is her second year writing with the Appalachian.
Aaron Barlow, Multimedia Reporter
Aaron Barlow (he/him) is a senior journalism major with a minor in documentary studies. This is his second year with the Appalachian.
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    Concerned FacultySep 21, 2023 at 8:14 am

    Faculty and staff have not been made aware of Covid policies either. And when we have asked, we are simply told that Covid is like any other illness. We also haven’t been made aware that we are following CDC guidelines and that it’s okay to let our students know to follow CDC guidelines when they’ve had a positive at-home test (even when we ask those in authority). This is not a system-wide practice. Other UNC system schools have communicated proactively with students, staff, and faculty about expectations, CDC guidelines, and other factors related to Covid. Students aren’t the only ones who have these concerns and we’re glad you’re bringing this to attention.

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