By Victoria Gladstone
To some, the Covid-19 pandemic feels like a fever dream they never want to re-live again. While it may not be on the forefront of most people’s minds, it still very much exists and continues to infect students on campus.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated Covid-19 is no longer a public health emergency. However, the organization still emphasizes that “it does not mean the disease is no longer a global threat.”
According to the Covid-19 data dashboard monitored by the state of New Jersey, there are 93 positive cases of the illness in Mercer county where the College is located. Over two months ago during the week of July 7, Mercer county had 17 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Senior history and secondary education major Melissa McClymont said she has noticed a rise in Covid-19 cases at school, at home in Bridgewater, NJ and on social media accounts of people she is connected with.
“With the new variant that’s been coming up in the news, I have noticed an uptick of cases not even just around campus but in my own community as well also,” McClymont said.
McClymont has personally not contracted Covid-19 this semester but knows of a fellow student falling ill within the past week. As far as her preventative measures, McClymont’s approach is to social distance, which she notes she used to do much more frequently during the pandemic. In addition, she’s fully vaccinated and has received the booster shot.
Student health services monitor all positive Covid-19 cases at the College and report that the current level of cases on campus is “expected.”
“The amount of positive cases is no more than expected as we repopulate the campus for the semester,” said Holly Heller, Interim Director of Student Health Services and Family Practitioner. “Even though most of us have some immunity from vaccination, infection, or both, we can still get [Covid-19]. The infection is mild to moderate in most people but continues to be contagious and disruptive.”
Student health services currently do not have a Covid-19 vaccination requirement, although it is strongly recommended.
If a student tests positive for Covid-19, they should upload a picture and date of their test results to student health services to the online wellness link found on tcnj.medicatconnect.com. Faculty should report a positive test by emailing human resources (email@example.com).
When a member of the campus community tests positive for Covid-19, student health services urges students and faculty to stay safe and follow the guidelines.
“Isolate yourself for five days,” Heller said. “Day zero is the day you test positive. Return to normal activities but wear a mask on day [six through] day 10. During your illness, stay well hydrated, use over-the-counter medications to manage your symptoms, and contact your primary healthcare provider if you are at risk for severe illness.”
Senior marketing major Shantal Romero has not heard of anyone in her circle testing positive for Covid-19 but still maintains her preventative measures to avoid falling ill. Aside from using hand santitizer, washing her hands and masking up in larger groups, Romero said she feels like she does not take too many steps to prevent catching the coronavirus.
“I really don’t do anything,” Romero said. “If I do hear that like somebody is a little sick like coughing or sneezing, I’ll honestly subconsciously but more consciously keep my distance and be aware of that.”
Romero said she has almost “forgotten” about Covid-19 this semester.
Remember: wear a mask when feeling ill, even if the symptoms align with allergies or a common cold. Staying home and using a home self-test kit can stop the spread and keep the campus community safe.