As the end of the semester grows nearer, Valpo’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise. As of Nov. 4 there are 24 active student COVID-19 cases on campus, the highest number of cases recorded on Valpo’s campus so far this semester.
On Nov. 4 Interim President-Elect Collette Irwin-Knott sent an email to students, faculty and staff with updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these updates was the announcement that the 2020 commencements will no longer be held on campus in Nov. but will take place virtually sometime in Dec.
According to the email, all athletic activities were suspended until administration reevaluated the safety of athletic events on Nov. 6.
The email stated the amount of active cases on campus, which can also be found on the Looking Forward website on the COVID-19 dashboard. However, it also stated that as of Nov. 4, 251 Valpo community members are in quarantine or isolation.
The amount of people in quarantine or isolation is not a number that is readily available to the Valpo community. Earlier this month, Student Senate passed a resolution in an effort to change this.
The resolution asked for administration to update the COVID-19 dashboard to include data on students in quarantine and isolation, the percentage of isolation beds available, new and total tests reported and the total and new cases of students, faculty and staff.
“So what we are asking for is updated information on total active cases but also total students quarantining...but really it's just a response to a lot of complaints that we’ve gotten,” Senior Senator and resolution sponsor, Gwenyth Hoeksema said. “We are also asking for total and new faculty, staff and student cases...total and new tests reported to campus and the percentage of isolation beds available. So that has been something that's been a little concern[ing] to a lot of students that we all heard on Student Senate.”
Irwin-Knott’s email also included the information that there are seven active staff COVID-19 cases and 10 reports of staff in isolation. However, the dashboard has not been updated with this data.
The senate resolution was created as a response to the petition that was created by Senior Justin McClain to change the dashboard.
“That [the petition] was one of the major reasons why we wanted to address this situation because 500 signatures, above 500 signature is a really significant number of students that have this concern and so I knew that the administration wanted an official statement from student senate more than just a petition so that was also another reason why we did this,” Hoeksema said.
After the resolution was passed by the student senate, it was presented to the administration. According to Hoeksema, Senate President Kaitlyn Steinhiser and Vice President Ben Jacobs are currently working with the administration to create an updated dashboard.
Despite the rise in cases, finals should proceed as planned according to Irwin-Knott’s email.
“Our continued success for this semester and next is contingent on all of us. As we near the end of the semester, please remember the Valpo Vow and our mutual commitment to hold ourselves to a higher standard to keep Valpo’s campus safe and healthy,’ the email read.