November 12, 2021 | OPINION | By Andrew Hoffman | Photo by Sierra Romero

This past week on campus, COVID-19 cases have gone on the rise. While purely anecdotal, almost every person I know has multiple friends who have gotten the virus. Personally speaking, I have had multiple scares this past week and it seems like it will be only a matter of time before I finally get a positive test.

Despite this ever-looming anxiety, I have trouble with sitting still. I think it is part of the human condition, but the idea of doing absolutely nothing fills me with a detestable feeling of powerlessness. So, what can I, and more largely, we, as a campus, do in the face of this new rising wave of COVID-19 cases?

The obvious first step is to play it safe. While this note has been repeated a thousand times before, if you think you could potentially have the virus, avoid social interactions. If you have recently hung out with or were around a person who received a positive test, it is most ideal to avoid social interactions until you can get a test confirming you aren’t sick. 

I feel the need to reiterate this well-known fact because, as cases start to rise, it’s up to us as students of this campus to come together and provide some comprehensive attempt to combat these outbreaks. 

The past few months, COVID-19 cases have been largely minimal on campus, and it is my opinion that because of this we have become relaxed with prevention measures. We should take this uptick as a warning.

Mask-wearing and proper sanitation is another must. While we have all seen the graphics, when every person in the room is wearing a mask, the chance of virus transmission decreases by a lot. Masks help prevent you from spreading the virus if you have it and do not know it. 

Furthermore, sanitation is a simple step we can all take to better create a cleaner and healthier environment. While surface transmission is low, it is important to wash your hands. I know these points are largely repetitive, but it was these fundamentals that allowed us to have an almost fully open campus this year.

Social distancing and proper hygiene (sanitization, mask wearing, etc.) are obviously all highly encouraged courses of action, but there are ways we can still do more. While calls for booster shots have been around since September, those of us who are healthy should ideally heed this call.

Our largely vaccinated campus undoubtedly has increased protection from the virus and thus the transmission rates are largely lower. The longer we wait, though, the more the efficacy of our vaccines begins to fade. As a matter of fact, the Center for Disease Control recommended getting booster shots eight months after your last dose. 

In other words, if you got the vaccine through Colorado College last year, you are in the perfect window for a second dosage. CVS and most other major pharmacies are offering these boosters for free. Also, as students living on a college campus, we qualify for these booster shots. All of this suggests that getting these shots requires relatively minimal effort from us as a student body.

While everything I am saying might initially sound alarming, it is important to recognize that we have done well in the past. Our school President, L. Song Richardson, noted that we were able to get through Parent’s and Homecoming weekend with a minimal uptick in cases due to our past vigilance.

Our current uptick in cases isn’t a sign that our previous efforts were not enough. Rather, it shows that when we relax, (especially during Halloween with an abundance of parties) the risks of a COVID-19 outbreak sharply increase. So rather than panic, let’s look back at our previous successes and once again aim to emulate them. We can do this, CC!

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