The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

How to cultivate a COVID-free campus

It’s no secret, at the peak of March 2020, we feared for the worst in our overall ways of living and being. Despite the fact that we had hope in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, its clear spread remains as of 2024. Even, despite many communal efforts and precautions to combat the illness, amongst most of the VTSU-Johnson community.

In February, Karen Weintraub of USA Today explained that COVID-19 had been killing 1,000+ people per week, while 2,000+ people died throughout the previous month. Treatments are still available for the public, but she said many of them have been “dangerously ignored.”

So how are people on our campus thinking about COVID now?

“I think it’s really good that most classes have the option to be online or in person,” says Alden MacDowell, an early college student. “And that’s really important for peoples’ safety and education.”

Even though she is currently progressing through her first, and possibly only, year at Johnson, MacDowell stresses the importance of providing equal access to health resources on campus.

“I can only imagine right when school got back here, I bet a lot of people were not social distancing and stuff. And COVID is still a thing. But like, we’ve all kind of forgotten about it,” said MacDowell.

“Just because we’re not in a lockdown, or the mask mandates or the vaccines and everything … Just because it’s not brand new information doesn’t mean that it’s not still a thing,” said Cohen Repacci, a third-year student.

At the same time, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) had recently dropped guidelines for five-day-long COVID isolations and are aligning this change with how individuals can avoid spreading the flu and RSV, from person to person. Lena H. Sun of The Washington Post, for background context, said CDC officials had been acknowledging privately, as well as in briefings, a clear change in the COVID-19 pandemic since March 11, 2020. According to Sun, our “new reality” is anticipating a transition toward a reasonable approach.

But one question remains in the fate of our community’s health and well-being: Can the COVID-19 illness truly get downplayed?

“If you actually take precaution, and actually care about something like this, then yeah, there is a possibility of never being affected by it,” said Repacci.

Repacci considers themself as one of many individuals that “play by the rules” in regard to protection guidelines. Acquiring as many vaccines and booster shots possible, as well as consistent social distancing, had also resulted to Repacci never getting COVID in the four years that the illness had been spreading.

Bug Pericles, a fourth-year student, remains untrusting toward the shift in protection guidelines against the COVID-19 illness. When asked if they believe COVID can get eradicated through a communal standpoint, Pericles explained that, due to the CDC’s new shift occurring for economic reasons, little care is being given to those susceptible to the illness. Pericles emphasizes the fact that assisting such populations should not be about the economy.

“As long as the majority of people are thinking like that, that’s their understanding of COVID. Like, ‘oh, I’ll be fine. I can go back to work if I have it’. It’s not gonna be like that,” said Pericles.

Since March 11, 2020, it may well be the case that most of our outlooks on COVID have gone through vast changes. But this does not go to say that the community should ignore the importance of continuing to protect ourselves. Summarized from a 2023 article written by Christine M. Stabler of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, entitled “How to Handle Being Sick at College,” here are six essential guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Isolate immediately if any symptoms arise.

At response to the CDC’s new modifications to their isolation rules, no updates have yet to be made to VTSU’s current COVID-19 policy. However, despite the eradication of the five-day isolation recommendation, it is still expected that students, faculty, and staff prioritize responsibility for each other’s health and our community.

The policy states the following: “VTSU recognizes we all hold personal responsibility for one’s health and the broader health of our community and recommends students, faculty, and staff to follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance including staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines including boosters and staying home when sick.”

  1. Continue wearing a mask.

Stabler states that although many institutions have been dropping mask mandates, this is not meant to dismiss the importance of wearing a mask. If you know you have been exposed to someone displaying any symptoms oriented to COVID, or are immunocompromised, wearing a mask to classes, club meetings, or other commitments you may have, is crucial for efficient recovery.

  1. Keep washing your hands.

Keeping up consistent routines of washing your hands as frequently as possible, even before and after making use of shared public areas on campus, including the library, the SHAPE center, and all Lab classrooms in Bentley, can help prevent you from subjecting your friends, roommates, and professors to germs. For students, faculty, and staff that don’t have access to soap and water, Stabler also recommends carrying around an on-the-go hand sanitizer.

  1. Continue social distancing.

When recovering from a previous COVID exposure, or a general illness, Stabler stresses the importance of informing your friends, roommates, and professors that you may need to distance yourself.

  1. Stay hydrated.

Despite given symptoms, hydrating with drinks that are replete with electrolytes is key for recovery. The more you consume caffeinated drinks, including coffee and energy beverages, the easier your symptoms may increasingly worsen. If you are subject to the stomach virus, Stabler cautions folks to sip on minimal amounts of water, tea, sports drinks, or non-caffeinated soda, until you recover.

  1. Eat, Drink, Breathe, Vitamin C. (Et. Al)

Vitamin C may have less effectiveness in curing simple to complex illnesses. But Stabler emphasizes the importance of ensuring your immune system is as sufficient as possible with such levels. Consider citrus foods and other produce such as oranges, lemons, and bell peppers.

Students, Faculty, and Staff have the option to visit many health care resources present throughout most of the Northeast Vermont area, including the Morrisville District Office, Lamoille Health Pediatrics, and Morrisville Family Health Care. For more information on protecting yourself, and your campus community, refer to Vermont State University’s COVID-19 policy at vermontstate.edu/student-life/university-handbook.

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About the Contributor
Heike Chaney, Staff Writer, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Transfer Student, Interdisciplinary Studies (Theatre & Communications) Based in Hartford, VT Fall 2023-Present SLAP Coordinator & DANCELAND Club Member I can do a shockingly good Judy Garland impression, and I have been in over 22 Theatre productions since the sixth grade! ;) Favorite Roles: Adela Van Norman (THE IT GIRL); Martha Cratchitt (A CHRISTMAS CAROL); Chutney Wyndham (LEGALLY BLONDE).

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