Though spring is here, the pandemic is still here as well. Fortunately, the cohort system put into place by Jermaine Thomas has been a success so far, and more and more people are getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Guilford’s new system continues to yield excellent results, as only three people tested positive for COVID-19 this week out of the 276 people tested. This is an increase in cases from the past couple weeks, which had yielded zero cases, but is a significant improvement from high rates in January.
Whether or not the pandemic will last until next semester’s classes is still up in the air. According to Thomas, COVID-19 will most likely still be around in the fall.
“With the different COVID-19 variants out there and surges in other parts of the world, I do not think that the pandemic will be declared over anytime soon,” Thomas stated.
However, Thomas is optimistic that with the number of vaccines the magnitude of the virus will be significantly smaller in degree than it is now.
“I think being off campus where guidelines are less strict will not encourage people to stay safe over the summer before the fall semester,” said Early College junior Angelina Guerrero.
As stated by Guerrero, the situation at Guilford College may worsen after summer. Students will be less likely to take precautions, as the cohort system cannot be enforced if the students are off campus. The students may then bring COVID-19 onto campus in the fall. However, if the requirement of negative rates of new COVID-19 case detection to return to campus is met, then cases will likely not increase as much in the fall.
“I also think that a more efficient testing structure raises the risk perception of our community,” said Thomas.
As emphasized by Thomas, the testing structure currently in place makes the Guilford College community more aware of the risks of actions taken on campus such as being with friends or going to sports events.
“I think from the perspective of cases, it’s less a matter of opinion and more factual that things are improving,” said Guilford student Noah Dabney.
“Our recent testing data and our threshold matrix shows that we have really stabilized the early surge of cases that we had in January,” said Thomas.
While it is easy to become optimistic for the future, Guilford is not through with the virus yet. Precautions should still be taken for however long is needed, but the decreasing number of cases is promising for Guilford’s campus.